We caught up with Marie Lamont, a Shiatsu practitioner based in Cupar, Fife, Scotland to hear the story of her Shiatsu journey, from discovery to successful business as she approaches her 65th birthday.
I began my Shiatsu Journey back in 1992, initially by travelling 180 miles round trip after work from Fife to Aberdeen to attend an 8-week evening class, 'An Introduction to Shiatsu' with Keith Stewart. I was training in Martial Arts with my brother at the time and we went to a ‘Complementary Health Exhibition’ in Aberdeen to find out about meditation and massage to help us as we worked towards our Black Belts.
In March 1993, both my brother and I started the Diploma Couse in Aberdeen with Laura Davison and Keith Stewart, and it changed many pathways of our lives. I completed the training in December 1995 and sat my MRSS exam in Newcastle December 1996. Back then you had to wait until a date was available to sit the exam and in-person practical as Teacher Assessors had to come together collectively to carry out the assessment.
By 1996, I had a busy practice as well as a full-time job, but the time had come to reduce my hours to part-time and by the end of 1997 I shifted to Shiatsu practice only. My academic background was in Training and Development in the Public Sector, and I used my training skills to set up weekends and 8 week classes around Fife, Dundee and Perth.
I was very fortunate to be asked by Laura Davison, the Principal of Aberdeen School of Shiatsu, to assist at the school back in 1997 and in time became a teacher. I still teach there today and am grateful for all the opportunities I was given, and all I’ve learned from the students that have crossed my pathway.
Over the years I introduced Qigong and Tai Chi into Mindfulness courses taught by the NHS in Fife and it is still used in their Mindfulness Programmes today. I have run many Qi Gong Classes in the NHS over the years and introduced some hands-on Shiatsu points and their benefits in association with the movements, meridian pathways and the elements linked to the system. This curiosity about Qi and meridian pathways from the class attendees was one of the ways my Shiatsu practice grew.
Other work came my way from the NHS and over the years my practice grew, resulting in regular clients coming for Shiatsu referred from Psychological Services. When appropriate the Psychological Service team suggest hands-on bodywork to their patients. Shiatsu is seen as a safe option as it is carried out fully clothed and the recommendation helps make it feel safe. Many who have found their way to me have continued for their own self-care, well-being, and self-growth. I am very grateful for all the work that has come my way from these services in the NHS. They have been prepared to look and think outside the boundaries and guidelines in which they work. Mindfulness Training introduced new ways for many within the NHS here in Fife.
I have worked also over the years with various charities: Dundee Woman Aid, Rokpa Dundee, Woman in Crisis, Rape Crisis Scotland and Homelands, assisting children and families affected with life limiting conditions. Over the last few years, I have been working with a Charity called Equal Voice, an advocacy for Vulnerable Adults. I have been running Mindfulness Classes, introducing them to Qi Gong and all that’s been mentioned above to help with their confidence, their anxiety, and all that they gain from the programme of events that is offered.
My Shiatsu practice is run from home. I live in the countryside and I’m not on a bus route, but it does not affect people coming. I have always had a full diary of clients. My diary is booked 6 weeks ahead and I limit myself to seeing only 15-18 client a week for a full body Shiatsu. I currently do not take on anyone new, but happily to direct them to another Shiatsu Practitioner in Fife.
Shiatsu has enriched me in so many ways. After 30 years, I can only estimate 25,000 plus sessions I've run (not to mention the classes and health fairs with family and friends). I feel truly blessed that through Shiatsu, I’ve touched so many people, and witnessed the immense rippling effect. We know that Shiatsu is not just about the meridians and points - but the human connection that we, as practitioners, have with others through compassionate touch; Touch, tenderness, openness, breathing, alignment, a place of presence for another to be heard, not only with words but in their bodies, a connection to themselves and so many other strands of being whole. Shiatsu is a phenomenal ART! The invitation for the receiver to explore the connection with self and as practitioners we simply facilitate their exploration. How amazing is this?
I’ve been fortunate to have trained with amazing teachers and I give thanks to them all. Their experiences and wisdom have made me the Shiatsu Practitioner I am. We are all different and weave threads of all our teachings into our practice, but we are all part of that same beautiful tapestry of Shiatsu.
I'm 65 in a few months and still healthy and happy to wake up knowing I have a wonderful day of practice ahead of me, thanks to Shiatsu and all that it is…… this has been my journey.