Every Shiatsu practitioner has first-hand experience of the wonders of Shiatsu and how people who have received Shiatsu have benefited from it. Sometimes a Shiatsu client may simply report they slept better after receiving Shiatsu or really enjoy just having some time “just for me”. However, Shiatsu is a holistic therapy and sometimes it can bring about dramatic change. This is when the body’s healing processes can be witnessed and what follows is a small selection of practitioner and receiver experiences.
Shiatsu for Musculo-skeletal problems, tension and relaxation
"I find Shiatsu treatments very helpful; a session with a good therapist completely relaxes one, and I have found it particularly helpful for musculo-skeletal problems. It is a gentle way of addressing tensions. "
Dr Katrina Erskine
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Shiatsu - tranquil, stress-free, positive and fun
When a tiny piece of one of my front teeth fell out I finally knew that the game was up. After years of serious neglect of my teeth when only severe pain ever drove me reluctantly to a dentist, I realised I was going to have to face down this particular demon. Taking a long hard look at my teeth I realised I wasn’t that far from losing some of them and I contemplated the once unthinkable. I had to see dentistry as a long-term investment and not a short-term desperate fix. So I decided that I would take my time looking for someone who would understand my phobia and hope that dentistry had moved on in the intervening years since I had last seen someone. Although I took great care in my search, it began to dawn on me that finding a dentist wasn’t going to be enough. I started looking for others things that might help at the same time. A couple of friends had faced life threatening illnesses recently and although I fully accept that going to the dentist isn’t in the same league as cancer or heart failure, I decided to apply the same principles of holistic care. One of these friends employs a cognitive behaviour therapist and a nutritionist, the other a hypnotherapist and a physiotherapist. Although I consider some of these options and others besides, none of them presented me with what I was looking for.
I found the dentist I was looking for in mid-June and because I was still looking for something to supplement my treatment, I booked an appointment with her for mid-August to buy me time. Almost immediately I started to feel real tension in my shoulder blades and the start of the nagging doubt about whether the dental treatment was strictly necessary (which is was, as it turned out). Worryingly, the thought of going to the dentist had started to preoccupy most of my waking day and indeed night when I started dreaming about drills and needles, in an all too graphic way.
And then I remembered something from years ago. The company I work for used to have a beauty therapist on site (in those days the office was miles away from anything approaching civilisation and there were many on-site services offered to the staff) She worked for a particular beauty company which offered as part of its facial a ten-minute back massage based on the principles of shiatsu. I remember feeling really relaxed after the facial and at the time thinking it was part of the overall experience. But I decided to look further into the principles of shiatsu and read many testimonials from both grateful patients as well as established health professionals. I was clear that I wasn’t looking for an extension of a beauty treatment. I needed help in three distinct areas. I needed to get positive feelings about my dental treatment, I needed to unknot the tension in my shoulders and as a side issue I had been carrying a stiff muscle in my lower back for more years than I care to remember and wanted to improve my mobility so that I could walk more and get a bit fitter and healthier. Even I thought that having nightmares about going to a dentist was possibly at the extreme end of the phobia I wanted to give myself the best chance I could in every aspect of my life to improve my physical and well as mental health. So my shiatsu therapist had to be a serious professional, who wasn’t going to judge my phobia and who understood that I wanted an all-round experience and not just someone that treated things in isolation.
As with the search for the dentist, I am suspicious of testimonials and endorsements. The key for me is to find the person that is right for me and I don’t think I am alone. Many people are suspicious and easily sceptical of things that are perceived as alternative and I would say I was one of those. But by mid-July I was prepared to try anything that reduced my anxiety and fear of the dentist in the time before my first dental appointment. And that is when I found Ettaline. I find it is a truism that it is often the small things that can make a difference in any sort of relationship. Ettaline was very flexible with her time, I was working in London and although she doesn’t normally work on the weekends, she agreed to help me out on Saturdays in August. She was also prepared to talk to me over the phone beforehand, which I thought was a sign of someone who was confident in their chosen discipline. When we first met, she spent a lot of time finding out about me, probably more than any GP I have ever visited. She has also taken the trouble to find a Bach Remedy for fear, something which I wasn’t expecting, but which has proved extremely beneficial – I have up until this time been very scathing of such things and note that there are many naysayers on internet forums regarding this sort of thing – I am no longer one of them.
She recommended we do three sessions, close together and then see how it went. This is completely in contrast to so many practitioners who want you to book 10 sessions regardless of whether you need them or not or gyms that tie you into neverending increasingly expensive contracts. The treatments were gentle, nothing was rushed – Ettaline is very generous with her time – I did not feel anxious and by the end of the first session, I was left with only one slight niggle in my shoulder. Ettaline gave me exercises to do in my spare time, which were very useful and gave me an excuse to get up from my desk at work, something which I often forget to do.
When I woke up on the Sunday morning after my first session, something rather remarkable had happened. My shoulders were completely loose and pain free and more importantly going to the dentist wasn’t my first waking thought. I just thought how much better I felt. In four weeks Ettaline worked on my lower back with astonishing results. I felt fitter, less stiff in all my joints and walking better. Before my first appointment with my dentist after two sessions of shiatsu, I walked the length of Oxford Street from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, something I hadn’t wanted to do for a long time. But the fresh air and the exercise were bonuses. Much more importantly I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and well-being that I had carried forward from the first session that has got deeper and more profound.
And above all I have amazed myself. Amazed that I would ever contemplate shiatsu in the first place, amazed that the results were so real and so overpowering, amazed that I had a whole hour’s worth of dental treatment that by anybody's standards would be considered gruelling while feeling in complete control and totally relaxed.
Ettaline is delightful to work with; the sessions were exactly what I was looking for, tranquil, stress-free, positive and fun. I sought help for one specific problem that had been concerning me for years and I am pleased to report I have come away from the sessions with Ettaline with so many more benefits.
S Comerford 2014
If you would like to book a shiatsu with Ettaline, you can contact her through her website www.shiatsuoxford.com
Shiatsu – relaxing, long lasting and caring
"No matter what I come to Annie with - whether it is spiritual, physical or emotional, her Shiatsu always gets to the heart of the matter. I leave feeling released and relieved. Every time - without fail!" ZM
“Shiatsu, my neck is 10 times better. Thank you very much for your time and effort, I really appreciate it. You really put in a lot of care which I believe goes a long way in enhancing my confidence in the treatment”. Alex Green
“Post chemotherapy I had a lot of pain in legs hips and ankles. Shiatsu sessions are very relaxing and helped a lot. It is very healing and clearing too, I feel all the anxieties, stress and tension disappear after each session. I think Shiatsu is very supportive. Just can’t wait to lie down and close my eyes!” Deirdre
"The outcome is that I feel so relaxed and great after a session and as a result and I manage to be less stressed. For the first time in my life I didn't suffer from massive hay fever last year" Philippe
What athletes say about Shiatsu
"Clears up niggles and tightness after long bike rides; also gives me a chance to unwind and re-balance mentally and emotionally as well as physically."
"I recently tore ligaments in my left ankle playing football. My ankles have always been a problem and since the treatment, not only have I not suffered any recurrences, but I also believe the treated area to have strengthened."
“As a Karate instructor I coach and train over 20 sessions a week. By the end of the week my body and mind are very tired. I found that my Shiatsu sessions removed the pain from strained muscles and help to reposition my skeleton so I can move with more fluidity. It revives my energy levels and leaves me in a very happy and relaxed state of mind. I tell everyone if they are not feeling themselves to get a treatment, everyone is surprised at how great they feel after a treatment." Callum Dick
Highly relaxing, I've found Shiatsu beneficial for both injury rehabilitation and prevention. Since Shiatsu focuses on the whole body, I often find my practitioner has discovered and worked on several niggles before they can develop into full blown injuries. Regular treatments have enabled me to keep pushing my body whilst both training and climbing. Karin, rock climber
"I have taken up long distance triathlons. A forthcoming Ironman race meant increased training - weekly mileages swim- 4miles, bike 150-210 miles and run 40 miles. I arranged a Shiatsu consultation as swimming in a wetsuit created extra pressure on my joints making it painful to swim more than 30-45 minutes. Treatment was deep, although never uncomfortable. After the session, the pain certainly reduced and the mobility in my right arm improved considerably with a distinct improvement in swim performance. I now use some of the stretches my practitioner showed me as part of my pre-swim warm up."
"I dislocated my shoulder on an E3. Less than 12 months later I climbed my hardest route ever, my first 8b. The treatment is very relaxing and revitalising. I thoroughly recommend Shiatsu treatments." Steve, rock climber
Shiatsu as a last resort!
"Prior to receiving Shiatsu I felt as though my life was drifting away from me and things were spiralling out of control. I believe that Shiatsu has given me back my life and control. After a year off sick with back pain I receive regular Shiatsu treatments and am immediately feeling the benefits. My circulation has improved and Shiatsu gives me a calm balanced feeling as stress is reduced. Back pain is a debilitating condition that affects many people and having an impact on everyday life. Reduced pain level has enabled me to return to work, manage my social life and actually begin to enjoy life again." Claire Mcloughlin, Nurse
"I was told my condition was something I had to live with, then I tried Shiatsu; 3 weeks later I could walk again! I fell from quite a height straight on to the corner of a concrete slab. Within hours my leg was 3 times its normal size and a very hard lump appeared below my knee. I rang a Shiatsu Practitioner. As the injury was serious, she insisted that I had an X-ray and saw my GP before she would give me a Shiatsu treatment. I was rushed to casualty with a suspected blood clot. I had massive internal bleeding; my foot was black and too painful to put to the floor. I was told the lump was unlikely to go and if it did, could take years and probably would never be able to kneel or walk normally again. I would have to live with it. Still in pain, leg very swollen and unable to put it to the floor, I received Shiatsu treatments. The first treatment eased the pressure and I walked back to my car. After the second treatment the swelling was greatly reduced and by the third treatment the ‘bone like lump’ below my knee had gone. I was aware that Shiatsu is amazing, but I am glad that I suffered the injury so that I could experience the transformation for myself."
Alzheimer’s - Success Story
"My husband has suffered with Alzheimer’s for some years now. I would like the Shiatsu Society to have this story as it could help other Alzheimer’s sufferers to have the chance to improve, just as my husband has. Shiatsu has given me my husband back, not cured of course, but more like his old self, more than I could ever have imagined was possible."
When the practitioner first met Morris he could not speak, his wife answered all questions for him. He could not move his limbs, especially lower limbs, which descended in painfully slow, jerky movements. He was depressed, withdrawn and his eyes looked "dead". After a year of Shiatsu treatments, his doctors could not understand why he was improving as this condition never improves. He was able to speak directly, speak to total strangers, started laughing and cracking jokes, his eyes looked alive. His specialist, whom he’d been seeing regularly, signed him off for a year.
Alzheimer’s is a terrible condition, not only for the person concerned but also for their families, who watch them steadily go downhill. It is devastating. "Now he is able to move his limbs with far more control, he even got up and danced with me. Not only that, because he was so much better we went on holiday for the first time in ages. We are doing lots of gardening and home improvements together and Morris went on an 8 mile walk. Before Shiatsu treatments, he just sat in a chair."
"At first I was told not to get my hopes up, as it may be that he was just having a good spell, but after a year the improvement cannot be considered anything short of a real success story for this amazing therapy. I have no idea if Shiatsu would work on everyone, but I understand that Shiatsu practitioners in the UK are also having good results with Alzheimer's sufferers so I really do urge people to try it." Mrs Robinson, Heanor, Derbyshire
Shiatsu in Psychiatry
Both psychiatric staff and patients in major psychiatric hospitals find rewards in Shiatsu treatments.
- ‘the practical approach fits well with recovery principles in enabling service users to take responsibility for their care and be more proactive in seeking their own wellness rather than having professionals ‘making’ them well. This is an ongoing difficulty within a hospital environment where most responsibilities of everyday living are removed. This is a great aid to the OT’s who at times struggle with the over dominance of the medical model of care.’ Sarah Wilson. OT Manager, Berrywood Hospital
- "I have received positive feedback from service users and staff who value the service. It is beneficial to service users and contributes to improving their mood within the ward." Karren Dickson, Ward Manager Women’s’ Acute Ward, Maudsley
- "this valuable intervention enhanced patient well being and gave them calm time to reflect on their journey" Activities Co-Ordinator, Maudsley
Maudsley, London Inpatient/Outpatient/Carer comments included:
- ‘I find the Shiatsu very useful both physically and mentally. It has helped in giving me confidence and direction, and with organizational skills’
- ‘I feel very calm and peaceful’
- ‘Excellent relaxation’
- ‘Informative, relaxing, friendly and encouraging atmosphere. Professional attitude and empathetic style’
- ‘It felt lovely to have so much attention paid and I am intrigued to learn more about Shiatsu’
- ‘I came to the session feeling stressed. Had a lot of thoughts on my mind. But I feel very calm and like I’ve been on calm waters’
- ‘I felt much calmer, more hopeful and accepting. Struggling less’
Maudsley Staff receiving Shiatsu treatments commented:
- ‘Very relaxing. Didn’t want the session to end! Great to be allowed to lie down, the advice on body care and feeling of a weight being lifted. Nice for staff to be allowed time out and then to be able to encourage clients to have the Shiatsu experience.’
- ‘Very beneficial both physically and emotionally. Helped me focus and feel more in touch.’
- ‘Allowed me to relax and let go of stressors. I felt I was able to pause and reflect. It is useful for me to be able to hold the moment during busy ward work and make better use of my break.’
What our professionals say:
- I just wanted to beat this more or less permanent state of stress I was living inand take a bit more care of myself.
- After a session I’m magically transformed, energised and calm
- I work as a Thought Field Therapist and my work is intense at times. I specialise in the consequences of Stress and Anxiety in my clinic in London and as an Aide Worker both abroad and recently in Oxford during the summer flooding in 2007. In 2006 I was in New Orleans with a delegation of TFT practitioners after Hurricane Katrina and remember thinking how very good it would be to have Shiatsu to support the team. Ann Schneider-Cullen
- I wasn’t sure what to expect from my Shiatsu sessions, but I am delighted with the results
- I work as a Business Development Manager. My job means I travel extensively and this combination of travelling / jetlag can at times make for sleeping difficulties and lack of energy. Each Shiatsu session has been different: One worked on ‘sleep’ and indeed I slept much more soundly. The second, on my lack of energy and again I felt invigorated following my session. I have also noticed that in the background, the results do continue and I would have no hesitation in recommending this therapy. At the very least, it is an hour of blissful relaxation, away from a very busy world and I think we all need that sometimes.
- I prefer a treatment where I have to do nothing, just be there and I often arrive at the door exhausted, just plain fatigued; I go because I can relax in a safe space. Even when I’m ok in myself and feeling great, I feel even better after a session. Call and make an appointment - give yourself or someone this beautiful gift.
- As a wheelchair user, my practitioner was able to adapt the treatment for me, treating me from the bed.
- I am a writer/poet and am less able to get about due to an accident. From the very first session I knew I had found the right therapy and the right healing hands. I soon found a reduction in pain and stiffness and with many symptoms easing, I was able to reduce some of my medication. Sometimes my energy levels improved and other times not, but I was aware my body was processing changes. Ken is a very calm, caring practitioner and his sessions are profoundly nurturing and that was very special. Claire Knight
- I am very grateful for the kindness and special Shiatsu skills used to allow me to reach my retirement in a less stressful phase.
- As a head of Internal Audit and advisor for Integrated Quality management at the European Health Organisation, I faced a very stressful final year of my professional career. Shiatsu sessions felt like an hour of oxygen, fresh air, allowing me to work hard again in between sessions. I am very grateful for the kindness and special skills used to allow me to reach my retirement in a less stressful phase. I hope you will continue to give people in similar situations the support they need to overcome difficult conditions. Marijke