In an eminently pragmatic context like the one we live in our society, knowing the usefulness of things is fundamental for someone to decide to invest energy in any activity.
When people first come to a session, most of them ask me what shiatsu is for. Normally, the answer tends to focus on the benefits of shiatsu, even though that puts me back in the reality of the therapy. In a way, all of us who dedicate ourselves to it want people to renew their confidence and to continue betting on Shiatsu as a workbench for their daily psycho-corporal work. We return to the question by doing a few investigations first:
First questions and benefits of shiatsu
Why do you come to make yourself a shiatsu?
What do you know of the shiatsu that you think can help you?
What is your demand?
What kind of treatments have you received in the past?
From here, I’ll explain that shiatsu is good for a lot:
- You’re aware of how your body is. Not only at the level of musculoskeletal tension, but also at the systemic level (nervous, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, reproductive, excretory, emotional…).
- Helps to relax physical, mental and emotional tensions.
- It allows you to have a self-care space and an exclusive time for yourself.
- It offers you bodywork tools to loosen tensions and better manage your daily life in its different physical (sleep, hunger, vital tone); psychological (well-being, self-awareness, self-knowledge); somatic (link between the physical part that expresses tensions, for example, derived from stress); and/or mental (cognitive patterns related to one’s own body such as, for example, “I don’t know how to relax”) facets.
- It provides you with a very effective transition from the sympathetic system (stress response and activation) to the parasympathetic system (relaxation, nutrition and rest) of our nervous system.
- It connects you with living your body from pleasure and well-being.
In short, we would say, at a general level, that Shiatsu serves to make you more aware of yourself, it helps you to relax your tensions, it offers you a space to take care of yourself, it gives you tricks and exercises to self-regulate and it allows you to find a better way to relax your stress and find greater well-being.
Specifically, in the shiatsu sessions I have been able to treat and improve muscle aches and pains, people who were carrying a very heavy load of stress and others who had a lot of anxiety and difficulty falling asleep. Also in cases of injuries and lack of sensitivity in different parts of the body. At the same time, I have given support to transformation processes such as duels, job changes, couple ruptures or similar that were expressed in the body. I have offered help in menstrual disorders, digestive, circulatory, respiratory … From time to time, I have complemented a psychological work of the person through body tools that have allowed to find a link between emotion and / or thought and its somatic manifestation. And, all this is also applied to the workplace by offering shiatsu and massage sessions for companies.
It may seem that I am a vendemotos and that shiatsu is good for everything and everyone. And that, of course, is a fallacy. Firstly, because I believe in the honesty of my limits and I know that miracles or special healings are part of a terrain that I do not know. Secondly, because the tool is very valuable but it may not be universally so; that is, today it can help me, not another day. And what will that depend on? Many times it will depend on the person’s attitude, receptivity and proactivity or the fit between client and therapist. Mysteries outside science. This does not mean that shiatsu is a pseudoscience or an unfounded therapy. In my experience, the philosophical, medical and practical background that I have learned and developed for more than 15 years is valid.
We stimulate acupuncture points, sensitize and mobilize the body and its systems through hands, contact, stretching, facilitating re-education techniques and body awareness; in short, we try to accompany the person to take responsibility for their health.
Finally, shiatsu has its limits or rather, I, Ignasi Seró, as a shiatsu therapist have my limits. Namely, there are spaces of shiatsu accompaniment that can be specific to their virtues and others that are better resolved and managed from other disciplines. Either with a relaxing chiromassage, or with a physiotherapeutic and/or osteopathic rehabilitation session, or through a process that attends more to the psychological and emotional part (psychotherapy and other treatments in the health field).
In the end, we return to the beginning: is what we work on in the shiatsu sessions useful to me or, more specifically, is shiatsu useful to me? If the answer is yes, we will be consistent with our context and its demands to meet some goals. We will try to keep expectations to a minimum in order to avoid frustration and discredit the sector and to ensure that the work is honest and of high quality. With that we will be able to give many answers and confirm or deny (hopefully first) that shiatsu can help me.