Shiatsu is a powerful head-to-toe massage from Japan using thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows, feet and knees to manipulate, stretch and apply pressure to the body.
Touch can be light and gentle so it is ideal for pregnant women or people with injuries or chronic pain. I work regularly with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Osteoporosis, Lupus and Crohn’s Disease.
Full body weight can also be used in treatment which makes it popular for marathon runners, rugby players and those needing strong pressure to relieve aching muscles in the legs, buttocks and back.
Shiatsu is similar to acupuncture because it works with the acupressure points, meridian channels, the principles of yin and yang and the five elements from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
As with Chinese medicine, Shiatsu looks at the whole person noting all the physical, emotional and psychological symptoms.
Talking, listening and questioning play an important part too, particularly at the beginning of a session.
Research shows Shiatsu and acupressure can soothe physical pain, relieve stress and improve sleep.
Clients regularly report that it boosts their mood and wellbeing. For this reason Shiatsu is increasingly used in mainstream health services. London and South Maudsley NHS Trust says a Shiatsu project set up in 2010, is one of its most “valued” interventions. Sarah Cook, head of occupational therapy at the Trust, said: “Service users, carers and staff alike have spoken highly of the impact this has made on their sense of well being. Particular reference has been made to renewed energy, improved motivation, reduction of side effects as well as reduced tension, improved healing and increased hope.”
Treatments last one hour and are performed through clothes on a futon – or a chair, bed or wheelchair if required. As a trained yoga teacher, Heidi can also advise on practices that that will improve health.
Heidi works at the Brighton Shiatsu Centre and in treatment rooms in Poet’s Corner, Hove.