Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he new enough to write them well.
Well, he would not have to fail in trying to write them either.
Maybe you would not have to fail at trying to write them either.
Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting.
‘One tip from me - just call it Acupressure, no one knows what Shiatsu is. That will get you more clients. Unless you want to make it your life’s work to get Shiatsu known. ‘
That is what a business owner at my local networking event said to me with very good intensions at the end of the event.
To be honest I was baffled and didn’t really know what to say. I stumbled something about Shiatsu being a way longer course than Acupressure. And then he said ‘My friend calls his Shiatsu Acupressure and he gets a lot more clients.’
When he said ‘just call it acupressure’ I could feel my body going into defence mode and building up walls. Which was a clear sign for me to make the decision there and then to definitely not call my Shiatsu Acupressure. But his statement still made me think and I discussed it with a dear friend and Shiatsu colleague. I especially wanted to be able to give an answer to his statement that I can stand behind with words not just my strong feeling of protecting Shiatsu.
So, here is my response to ‘Just call it Acupressure’:
I am not comfortable calling my Shiatsu Acupressure because it is a lot more and different to Acupressure. My friend and Shiatsu colleague used a great analogy to why it needs to be called Shiatsu:
It’s like saying Ben & Jerry should have just called their tubs Ice cream. Well because before people knew what Ben & Jerry was, they wouldn’t have known it was bloody good ice cream.
If you get Ben & Jerry you don’t just buy ice cream you buy Ben & Jerry. Therefore if you get Shiatsu you don’t get Acupressure you get Shiatsu which is equal to bloody good Acupressure.
Jokes aside, Acupressure is a great therapy stimulating Acupuncture points through applying finger pressure to balance the body’s energy flow and therefore can promote the healing of specific conditions. It basically is Acupuncture without needles.
To be fair I use the phrase ‘It is like Acupuncture without needles’ for Shiatsu as well – and maybe that is where I am doing Shiatsu injustice. I will change that habit now.
One big difference between Acupressure and Shiatsu is the lineage of origin. Acupressure is a child of Acupuncture directly. Shiatsu has been developed based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and therefore the Acupuncture Meridian System however has been largely expanded and enriched with theory and practice in Japan.
Shiatsu is a holistic whole body therapy. We work the whole Meridian or Meridian pair that is accessible throughout the body in different positions. Acupressure uses a few chosen points that are being touched which can often only be found on one part of the body.
The techniques in which the meridians and acupressure points are worked with are different too. Acupressure uses stimulation of the Acupressure points through circulation or by repeatedly putting pressure on the point and releasing quickly. The strength for the pressure comes from the hand or arm. In Shiatsu perpendicular pressure is used on the receivers body. The practitioner uses their body weight through palm and thumb to lean on the receiver.
These are only three, but in my opinion major differences that clearly distinguish Shiatsu and Acupressure. More can be found in the stated sources at the bottom of the blog.
This was not the first time I came across somebody telling me to give Shiatsu a different name.
When I was in my third year of training I thought about working in a clinic to start my practice. I met with the owner a few times. I realised after swapping treatments that in order to work for them I should initially advertise Shiatsu as ‘Wellness Massage’. Back then in my email telling him that I can’t work for them I wrote:
I am passionate about raising awareness about Shiatsu, what it is, how it works and how it helps to self-heal. I see myself promoting Shiatsu in its truth and with words that I have learned and loved to describe Shiatsu with.
I absolutely stand behind this comment. Shiatsu needs to be spoken about in its truth. It is Shiatsu not acupressure or a wellness massage.
In the ethos of freedom of speech and advertising I am thinking it is totally up to Shiatsu practitioners what to call their practice. But equally I feel my stomach twisting and wanting to argument against it every time I hear a practitioner say – I call my Shiatsu ‘insert whatever they call it’. It is an injustice to the practice, the schools, your teachers and the Shiatsu lineage to call it by a different name.
And if it is my life's work to make sure Shiatsu is known for what it is in its truth and core, so may it be. I would be absolutely satisfied to look back onto my life and be able to say ‘I have done everything in my power to make Shiatsu known’.
I have been asking myself this question quite a few times in the last weeks. Having spent most of my time on producing marketing material for my brand and concentrating on how to get the general public to know What Shiatsu is, I one day realised I lost sight of why Shiatsu was my chosen go to therapy and especially why I felt like it was my passion.
Shortly after that realisation, and the upcoming urge to give a lot of Shiatsu to find its magic again, I gave a treatment to a new receiver. He had never had Shiatsu before and had only read about it because he saw me posting about it on social media. My post has caught his interest.
I hadn’t given a full hour treatment in a while and I felt the pressure of wanting to win a regular client. However, as soon as I set down next to him and focused on my alignment I was calm.
The treatment was a great experience for me and as it turns out for him too. I could feel a lot of Ki movement in both his legs, there were acupressure points I could fall into. I felt blockages release under my mother hand whilst I was working down his meridians.
I was amazed by what I felt and the hour past by very quickly. I was very pleased with the treatment. Even more so when he confirmed that he felt great. He could feel energy flow as well and was astound by it having never felt anything like it before.
On my way home I knew I had reconnected to the answer to Why Shiatsu? by giving this treatment.
I wrote about my story and how Shiatsu saved me in last months blog. So I can say that my passion for and confidence in Shiatsu really started as a 16 year old teenager. Receiving Shiatsu for almost 3 years every 2 weeks changed my life and helped me transform into a more confident life loving young woman. If that isn’t a valuable answer to Why Shiatsu I don’t know what is but of course there is more to it.
To be honest I can’t really recall how or what I felt during a Shiatsu treatment back then. I only know that I enjoyed it immensely and I felt a lot better after every treatment. I also didn’t know any of the theoretical background of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Masunaga Theory. I didn’t seem to feel the need to look it up either. I knew it made me feel great and that was all that I needed.
Now, of course after having studied Shiatsu for 3 years in college and continuing to be more and more interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Masunaga Theory, I know the background. However for me the theoretical background gives a map or a more ‘scientific’ explanation of what happens when you get touched or touch someone with Ki rather than a real explanation of what Shiatsu is in its core.
Alice Whieldon – Chair of the Shiatsu Society – said ‘The key to what makes Shiatsu different from most science-based as well as complementary medical systems is that it is soul medicine’
I love that –Shiatsu is soul medicine. For me that is the truth of Shiatsu.
As soon as you feel that mindful touch filled with Ki and the intension to help you heal yourself you can let go of everything. That is how I can describe how I feel when I receive a Shiatsu. Being free of all my thoughts, feelings, aches and pains. Falling into me and just being my truth. Even if it is just for an hour – most of the time the effect of the treatment carries on beyond that hour.
Over time the body and mind remember its healing abilities and who they are. The beauty is that Shiatsu is a holistic therapy – body, mind and soul are all one and are all integrated in the treatment. If your mind is in pain your body might manifest the pain and your soul might fight the pain because the pain is not its truth. Shiatsu is balancing this disrupted energy flow.
That is pretty much why Shiatsu is my chosen therapy to receive.
It is also my passion because of the above said but there is more to giving Shiatsu.
A lot of gratitude goes out to my first Shiatsu Therapist. She not only opened my universe to Shiatsu she also once said to me ‘you would be really good in giving Shiatsu’. That stuck with me for years but I was too scared to embark on Shiatsu training.
After University and realising that what I had studied for 6 years wasn’t my passion I started the adventure of my 3 year Shiatsu training. I loved it from the first day on. All the theory seemed so logical to me and I welcomed that it seemed to be away from the western medicine doctrines.
When giving a treatment I love the exploration of the Ki relationship between me as a Shiatsu practitioner and the receiver. Feeling the flow of Ki and releases of energy in their body is a great experience. I only focus on the receiver and their flow of Ki that I feel. It is a mindfulness practice as I am there in the moment my full attention lies on one thing and I watch the changes with excitement and acceptance. Judgement free. Giving Shiatsu is a treat in itself.
So in short – Why Shiatsu?
Because Shiatsu is a healing art connecting mind, body and soul to bring the life force in balance and flow and remind the individual of their own healing capabilities. Shiatsu makes you go back to your soul and be your truth.
Shiatsu is balancing body mind and soul to live your life in a more harmonious way. Therefore Shiatsu is a lifestyle choice of mindfulness and balance.
What a dramatic title that is. But I deeply believe that Shiatsu saved my life – multiple times.
I never like to tell my story because it doesn’t feel ‘dramatic’ enough to be one worth telling.
BUT my story has made me into who I am now – and is why I am passionate about Shiatsu, meditation, yoga and the spiritual world. And it is my story to tell.
Very early on as a child, I already knew what a deep-rooted fear of death felt like. I was afraid that my friends and family or I would die of cancer, I was so afraid of a fire in the house that I got up in the middle of the night and walked around the house to make sure there was no fire. As I grew up, it turned into an irrational but very deep-seated fear of the oft-predicted apocalypse. This went so far that I was obsessively watching the news more than 4 times a day before the famous 21. December 2012 so I could see the signs of an actual apocalypse coming.
When my neighbour and childhood friend really did die of skin cancer at the age of 17 I was in a deep cycle of self-hate, self-harming, and I had a complete lack of self-confidence. In hours of deep despair I would cut myself with the sharp end of a ruler, scissors, a razor blade or a paper clip all the while crying and shouting on the inside. I sat in my room crying almost every day, I had temper tantrums full of anger because I just didn’t know what to do and I did not want to live anymore. I walked around with a massive deep hole of pain in my chest not knowing how to get rid of it and what to do with it. For a long time I thought it was just part of crowing up, then depression, even though I never received a clinical diagnosis, and now I want to believe it was my soul growing.
All of this did not come from my childhood friend dying. It came because I am a sensitive person and I was bullied from the age of 6 onwards in school. At about 10 years old one of my class mates cut holes in my socks and tights when we had physical education so I had to wear tights with holes for the rest of the day – this experience seems significant because I can still recall it. There were a lot of other incidences – class mates making fun of my new clothes, telling me I am fat multiple times, so-called friends not telling me about parties, and as the digital age arrived people literally leaving a conversation on my social media wall about how ugly, fat and what a whore and slut I was. They even threatened to kill me on that page. One girl sent me a text from a number I didn’t know telling me that ‘I am so fat and ugly I will not get a boyfriend.
Because of all of this bullying I was very self-conscious, I felt I didn’t have any real friends and it lead to my self-hatred, self-harm and my compulsive need for studying and getting good grades in school because that was the only thing I could shine at and be better at than my class mates.
As I am writing all of this my heart fills with pain and I am tearing up because I want to hug that young woman, tell her that she is loved and that she will turn out to be a great beautiful individual.
My parents and my sister were a great support through this very hard part of my growing. They sat with me when I was crying, equally knew when to just let me lie on the floor – my favourite thing to do – and cry until I stopped, provided me with herbal calming drops, helped me study by helping to revise everything that I had learned by heart. They were just always there for me and loved me unconditionally.
And the most important part – they accepted my wish not to go into therapy or swallow antidepressants. I have always had a very strong belief that antidepressants are not for me. I needed help though, so my mother was on the lookout for alternative medicine therapists and took me to several different ones.
It wasn’t until Shiatsu that we found a therapy that I loved and I enjoyed so much that I was happy to have a treatment every 2 weeks for about 3 years initially.
My neighbour – the mum of my dead childhood friend – got help from a Shiatsu practitioner to cope with her grief. She knew that I was suffering and recommended Shiatsu to my mum. They had a ‘secret’ meeting with the Shiatsu practitioner discussing Shiatsu and if it would be a therapy for me before my mother presented it to me. I was willing to give it a go.
I can’t remember exactly, but I must have liked my first Shiatsu session because I kept on having them. Over time I started to trust the Shiatsu Practitioner and I grew stronger, I was happier, my confidence grew. She and Shiatsu helped me to get out of my deepest hole of pain. Shiatsu helped me live more and see that there is a life.
This is my story and I am still living it and healing old wounds with Shiatsu, intuitive healing and my spiritual path. The main fact though, is that continuous Shiatsu saved me – or it helped my body and mind to heal itself. Without any antidepressants.
And it is a continuous friend and healer in my life. More so now than it has ever been.