How do you feel when you look in the mirror?

This was title of a powerful and moving Woman’s Hour broadcast on Monday (12 January). The subject was negative body image, timed to coincide with

National Obesity Awareness Week and of course our post-Christmas New Year Resolutions. What  better time of year to strive yet again for a fitter, more beautiful me – but at what cost?

Society is increasingly pressurising us to emphasise external physical appearance at the expense of an internal sense of wellbeing. Once doubt is sown about our self-worth (now often from an early age) we are placed at the mercy of beauty and food industries; subliminally brainwashed to consume to make ourselves acceptable,  we find that we are the ones who are consumed.  We lose touch with our sense of food as nourishment and regard it as an enemy; as we reject the bad feelings triggered by thoughts of not being ‘good enough’ we in turn reject ourselves.

So why is a shiatsu practitioner concerned with an issue that seems to be more the domain of the psychotherapist, nutritionist or medical expert?

In Chinese medicine our qi or life energy is seen as being a combination of yin (more physical) and yang (more energetic) operating in the context of the 5 elements and organ systems.  As a shiatsu practitioner my primary aim is to work with the congested or weak areas, free up the stuck qi, and allow it to flow and permeate.  The resulting more coherent energetic state promotes, strangely enough,  a combined sense of both relaxation and energy.

In Shiatsu there is something about having areas of the body pressed, depth being achieved through weight rather than probing fingers, that is intensely relaxing.  In addition clients feel safe and warm lying under a blanket, their legs and lower back supported by cushions. As the qi connects (you can sense it running down an arm or a leg) and the holding released, hitherto locked in energy can spread through the body. There is no longer a sense of separation between head/mind and body/soma; this coming together is accompanied by a greater sense of internal wellbeing and presence. Our inner core – which is always healthy, can begin to reveal itself naturally.

Over concern with body image and a fruitless search for perfection is paralleled by a loss of feeling and connection our health and the core self. We all hold emotional pain in the body. For some of us it can be too deep for words - perhaps the result of physical or emotional shock, trauma, or negative ideas about ourselves. Here Shiatsu comes into its own with its capacity to gently reconnect the client through touch to their emotional and mental being with sensitivity and respect at a level that requires no spoken language. It is a different way of experiencing the world. It is also a reminder that our true selves are never lost, only obscured.

Above all else, we need to nourish our true self—what we can call our Buddha nature—for so often we make the fatal mistake of identifying with our confusion, and then using it to judge and condemn ourselves, which feeds the lack of self-love that so many of us suffer from today. (Soghyal Rinpoche)


For any further information on Shiatsu and Craniosacral Therapy contact

01666 824 625 or 07952 923 245

Or you can email me on:

Clinics are in Malmesbury and Bristol.
For further details see Appointments.

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