Massahhhge Therapy - As Lilya Means firmly presses her hand on Emily Martinez’s back while rocking her back and forth, she is channeling her energy through her fingertips and attempting to balance her emotional and physical state.
“The goal is to try and bring everything back into balance, because our bodies are constantly changing and realigning with the food we eat and the things we do in life,” Means said.
For the past four years, Means has been a massage practitioner, and she strongly believes in the healing involved in touch. Whether someone has gone through a traumatic, stressful situation, sustained a physical injury or just feels unbalanced, techniques used in massage therapy can reduce inflation, flush toxins from the body and stimulate circulation, causing tension relief and an overall feeling of well being, Means said.
There are several different types of massage, but technique and style is based on the training of the practitioner, Means said. When she is working at the Beauty Lounge in Gilroy, she gives four types which are fairly common:
Based on the premise of a Swedish massage, the Esalen technique uses long stroking methods to link all the different body parts. Means often uses a subtle rocking movement with her clients because it’s a natural movement that comforts humans, she said.
“Think about it: We rock babies to sleep and sometimes people rock themselves when they’re upset,” she said.
Derived from Japanese techniques, the Shiatsu massage uses accupressure on hundreds of different points on the body. Shiatsu is very powerful for muscle tension, Means said.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot and cold stones are strategically placed on different parts of the body, and the heat can alleviate pain from strained muscles.
“Aside from the fact that the stones feel amazing, it can really help with inflammation,” Means said.
Means uses lavender, thyme and citrus scents to help her clients feel energized or allow them to relax.
“I put the scent in the lotion I use, and I scent the cloth over their face so it’s close to their nose,” she said.
Some massage clients choose to be active after they leave Mean’s hands, while others prefer to go home and remain in their relaxed state. The balanced state the body gets from the massage can be felt immediately, but Means said it’s usually the next morning that the person feels most renewed.
“I’ve heard from people that after their massage they’ve gotten headaches later in the evening, which probably has something to do with the flushing of the toxins in the body,” she said. “But I think it’s that night after the massage while you’re sleeping, that’s when you’re body is rejuvenating itself.”
The benefits of massage therapy can be great, but they also come with a price. Although rates vary, an hour-long massage usually costs somewhere around $90. But for many people, it’s worth it.
Martinez, who has had several massages during the past few years, said the healing power of touch gives her serenity.
“I really think it’s important the person giving the massage is putting their energy into their hands on you,” she said.
While some people get massages just for the euphoric, relaxing state it can provide, many are trying to get rid of aches and pains they’ve carried around for decades. Jeree Smitham, owner of the Biofeedback Center in Gilroy, said along with providing massage therapy, she tries to send her clients home with tips on how to prevent the pain from coming back.
“We give them positive ways to check in on their bodies,” she said. “What most people get is a passive massage, and nobody talks to them about how to control the aches and pain that will come back to their bodies two or three days after the massage. Relaxation and a pain-free way of living isn’t something you can create by getting a massage once a year
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
By Kristine Keezer
October 12th, 2005
Rachael Hannan interviews Katharine Hall (mrss(t), a London based Shiatsu practitioner, to mark European Shiatsu week running from September 17th- 25th.
You can contact Katharine Hall mrss(t) via her website at www.shiatsuplus.co.uk.
To find an event taking place in your area for European Shiatsu Week, or to contact your nearest qualified practitioner and for training information, contact the Shiatsu Society 0845 130 4560
What Is Shiatsu ?: Shiatsu is a traditional hands-on Japanese healing therapy.
Yoga Helps Cancer Patients: Tibetan yoga improves sleep in cancer patients.
How long have you been a shiatsu practitioner?
I qualified in 1990.
What was it that sparked your interest in this side of alternative medicine?
I went to China after being incredibly taken by a picture lying in mould under my desk, left by my predessesor who was designing a book on China. I became interested in Chinese philosophy and painting, and medicine. The themes of balance are a common thread in all of those, and not a million miles from my previous graphic design work. I have always liked language and literature and some of the names of the acu-points are very beautiful and lyrical, for example, Lake of Energy on the Corner, and Gate of Hope.
Then I studied Thai Chi, yoga, meditation, and Thai Massage in temples in Thailand. I was in my early- mid 20’s when I travelled. An age of dramatic change and development for many people.
My mother had recently died very suddenly, which though I didn’t realize at the time was a great catalyst.
Returning to UK, I went through a very traumatic time emotionally. I found alternative medicine incredibly helpful and hope inspiring. It helped me understand and appreciate myself at a very low time and offered a perspective that made real sense to me, and that was very empowering.
I wanted to be able to offer people the care that I had received, and went on to study at the Shiatsu College in London for 2 years, and then had another year before becoming a Registered Shiatsu Society Practitioner.
What exactly is shiatsu?
Shi is finger in Japanese, atsu is pressure. Shiatsu is a hands on therapy, involving some stretches, and acupressure along the meridians (energy lines) and acu-points. It has a clear diagnostic framework and is compatible with western medicine. Energy - ‘ki’ in Japanese- like electricity - cannot be seen by the eye, but has literally, a very powerful effect. Shiatsu works on the energy of the body. It is a deeply calming treatment and helps circulation and joint mobility.
What is the philosophy behind it?
Shiatsu originates from Japan and like many things Japanese, the origins are Chinese. It was originally practised by blind people, who have highly developed sensitivity in their hands.
The philosophy is that health depends on energetic balance in the body. The body and mind are intimately connected. Shiatsu Practitioners diagnose what is out of kilter, and the work helps bring body back into balance. Some areas of the body may be low in energy and some may have stagnation or excess energy. Shiatsu helps redistribute this appropriately.
Preventative care, the ‘stitch in time’ principle, is encouraged by alternative practitioners as a very sound investment. In ancient Chinese times your doctor was paid to keep you well. If you fell ill he was not paid - as he wasn’t doing his job! It is a lot easier resolving issues when they are small - by noticing and working on the energetic level - before problems get set into the body and start manifesting physically.
Shiatsu is a very humane, and holistic approach. It takes into account factors such as climate, a client’s activities and environment, heredity, emotions and diet. A Shiatsu treatment is designed according to each person’s unique circumstances. Thus 2 people who might, in Western medicine, be prescribed the same medication for depression for example, will not receive exactly the same Shiatsu session. The causes of, and the way that depression is manifesting is likely to be slightly different in each person, and this is carefully considered and Shiatsu treatment is tailored for each individual.
Worth noting here is that there have been no reports of any detrimental side effects. Touch and compassionate human connection are very healing in themselves, and are the cornerstone of Shiatsu.
How is it different from Acupressure?
They have many similarities. Shiatsu has an Oriental background, drawing on the thousands of years observation of how humans both work and don’t work (healthwise) and how to remedy imbalances.
What happens when someone comes to you for a session? How long does it last?
When someone comes for a session I will take a medical history, ask about their current health and reasons for having a treatment. A first session is one hour fifteen minutes, thereafter sessions are 1 hour. Shiatsu can be done in any position really- but normally we work on a futon (supportive mattress) on the floor. The client remains clothed throughout. I will do a touch diagnosis on the hara (the abdominal and energetic centre of the body), and ascertain what is going to be most helpful to work, and then get on with the treatment. Afterwards I will explain to the client what I have been doing and why, and may offer recommendations to help them support their well being for example, on food, breathing, activity, visualization. The client is always free to give feedback if they wish.
I encourage people to come for a set of 4 sessions, though people in my experience have always felt real benefits from just one treatment. Often people come with one issue, for example, migraines, and then find that Shiatsu benefits them in other, unexpected ways- for instance sleeping soundly, and greater sense of clarity and ability to manage things. So though initial problem may be resolved many people like to come for a ‘tune up,’ perhaps on a monthly basis. In an age when doctors’ time is often limited and there are locums working , I think clients really appreciate having a practitioner who is interested in the fabric of their life, and follows their particular progress through it. This is a valuable aspect of Shiatsu.
Modern medicine has made many advances in mechanistic, chemical realms, but it can be very alienating and people still need heart in healthcare (now more than ever perhaps in busy, complicated, and sometimes lonely lives). Shiatsu provides a supportive environment where people feel listened to, and can really relax. I find that clients very often sense on a deep level what is or is not working in their life. The quiet, safe space that Shiatsu offers allows people to reconnect with who they are and what they need.
What conditions can it treat / help with?
Shiatsu Practitioners treat a range of problems: specific physical ailments like backache, digestive trouble, or emotional ones such as anxiety, panic attacks, and when people are going through major life transitions - perhaps, job and relationship changes, menopause, bereavement.
Chronic and very serious health disorders do of course exist. Sometimes people are not looking for or expecting a cure, but looking for ways of living with their particular circumstances with more energy and positivity. Clients may come for Shiatsu in this instance.
People also come when they are well for a general MOT, to maintain good health.
Practitioners sometimes have a speciality eg pregnancy, sports injuries. I work a lot with people experiencing emotional distress.
The word for ‘crisis’ is made up of 2 symbols in Chinese: one represents ‘danger’, one represents ‘opportunity’. Illness is often a gateway to better health, and/or wisdom!
Can you tell us a personal success story you have had treating someone with shiatsu?
One woman in her fifties came to me feeling a tremendous loss of energy, waking early and having a sense of vertigo and problems with her ears. She was divorced, and her father - with whom she had a difficult history- had recently died. Her daughter was expecting a baby. So there was a real mix of emotional and physical issues there, all interwoven. She was scared of ending up in hospital on medication.
From a Shiatsu point of view her basic core energy was very depleted. Building this up took some time (though she reported feeling much better after our first session). She has followed recommendations I have given, and has spent time doing personal, psychological work, and seen me weekly for 1 year. A small investment in, possibly another 50 years of life on this planet. Her confidence and general energy level, and ability to tackle problems in a way she never was able to before are markedly different. Much improved!
She is a real success story: she was in a major transitionary time and recognised she wanted to make some changes and improve her health. This lady has actively worked to do that, and been rewarded.
You can contact Katharine Hall mrss(t) via her website at www.shiatsuplus.co.uk.
September 27th, 2005
Learn more about shiatsu
European Shiatsu Week kicks off in Galway on Saturday with several events taking place throughout the city aimed at heightening awareness about this Japanese “finger pressure” therapy.
Local practitioners will be on hand to welcome all age groups to their drop-in centre at the Bridge Mills, O’Brien’s Bridge. They will be offering a range of treatments from 10am until 5pm. No booking is necessary.
The local group will have a stall at the Holistic Health Fair at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Sunday from 10am to 6pm. There will be a short talk and demonstration in the afternoon and mini treatments will be available throughout the day.
There will be a two hour introductory workshop on Thursday from 7 to 9pm at Arus na Gael, Dominick Street. This will feature exercises and stretches used to improve energy, breathing and circulation. To book a place, call Jasmine at (087) 7126599.
An open day will take place at the Bridge Mills drop-in centre on Friday 23 from 12 to 7pm. Free 15 minute treatments will be available to enable people to sample the benefits of the therapy.
September 27th, 2005
London Shiatsu School Presents Shiatsu Open Evening and Video Showing Fri., Sept. 30
Shiatsu Therapist training is crossing the line from esoteric oriental healing art to a complementary therapy recognized as one of the most powerful forms of relaxation and stress relief in the world of alternative medicine.
(PRWEB) September 22, 2005 — People looking for a career in helping others as a licensed Shiatsu Practitioner can find guidance on shiatsu courses, classes, training and schools on the Zen Shiatsu Society website which presents the various shiatsu schools’ information in a standard form enabling quick and easy comparison.
In a more personal, hands on approach, the London based Zen School of Shiatsu is offering an Open Evening and Video show, well in time for potential shiatsu students thinking of starting their shiatsu training at the beginning of the academic year.
“Students can join our courses at any time of the year” says Kris Deva North, Master of the Zen School. “We run a continuous enrolment system which fits in with our ongoing training cycles. Because most people think of starting shiatsu classes at the start of the academic study year, we are offering an evening of shiatsu information, demonstration and practice on Friday 30th September. We have an Intensive Shiatsu Course starting Monday 3rd October which people can still join even if they miss the Open Evening, as well as our ongoing shiatsu training evenings, afternoons and weekends.”
The Shiatsu Open Evening and Video gives an experience of what is Zen Shiatsu, some secrets of energy-flow, and how it might work for specific conditions, along with general information on length and cost of training. Participants get a taste of Shiatsu and see the video Zen Shiatsu the Art of Gentle Healing made with students and teachers of the Zen School.
There is also a 5% discount worth from £20 to £239 for signing up that evening, but without pressure and no obligation.
“It’s more important for us to have the right people rather than the most people” says Kris.
Open Evening and Video Show Friday 30th September 6.30 to 9 pm, cost £9. No need to book, just turn up at the Zen School of Shiatsu 19 Phipp Street London EC2A 4NP (between Old Street and Liverpool Street Tubes/BR).
The next 5-day Shiatsu Intensive starts Monday 3rd October and runs every day 10am to 5 pm with Kris Deva North teaching.
Ongoing Shiatsu classes run every Tuesday evening 6.30 to 9.30, Thursday afternoon 2.30 to 5.30, and double-sessions at monthly weekends (based on the 3rd Saturday of the month) 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
Zen Shiatsu Society http://www.zen-shiatsu-society.co.uk/
Zen School of Shiatsu http://www.learn-shiatsu.co.uk/
September 27th, 2005