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’.