The following services in Shiatsu Therapy are available:

  • "Let's Relax" parent/child shiatsu-based classes aimed at the elementary school aged child with one parent/caregiver
  • shiatsu self-care workshops
  • shiatsu couples retreat workshops
  • lectures and lunch and learn talks
  • spa day services
  • onsite shiatsu treatments (with portable chair optional)

Shiatsu Therapy helps:

  • increase energy
  • induce deep relaxation
  • correct digestive and circulatory conditions
  • back and neck pain
  • new and expectant mothers
  • stress related conditions
  • PMS and menstrual disorders
  • muscle stiffness
  • headaches and migraines
  • insomnia
  • plus many chronic conditions

As a Shiatsu therapist, I seek to use techniques and principles, most of which are based on thousands of years of Chinese medicine, in order to assist clients to get in touch with their own healing potential. This is done through first encouraging them to become comfortable, or a least "at home" within their own bodies. For some, this may require very little more than employing the positive effects of the "hands- on" nature of Shiatsu in order to induce relaxation. I work through the client’s own loose clothing, without the use of any oils, on a thick futon mattress on the floor, and generally for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

The practice of Shiatsu is the Japanese word for "finger pressure" and describes the technique of using primarily the thumbs, to balance or to regulate flow in the channels or meridians along which our energy circulates throughout the body. These pathways are best understood in Western terms by drawing a comparison with the nervous system, which has a key role in maintaining balance within the body.

It is not difficult to see how modern life and its variety of stresses can upset the delicate balance among the internal organs responsible for providing us with the energy or "Life Force" (called Ki) we need in order to function.. This imbalance leads to blockages in flow, which are recognized by Western MD’s on many levels, manifesting as nervous disorders, circulatory problems, muscular and skeletal (joint) dysfunction, as well as diseases affecting the vital internal organs, the digestive tract, and the skin.

Shiatsu views the nervous system as being primary in treating the body, as it is responsible for the functioning of each of the other systems. If a stress factor of any kind, whether physical (temperature, pain, pressure ) or mental (job, relationships, environment), comes into play, it first affects the Autonomic Nervous System (A.N.S.). Once activated, its sympathetic division, which controls breathing, heartbeat, and emergency responses, often overwhelms or disables the parasympathetic division’s role in digestion and internal housekeeping, thus leading to real problems, especially if the cause of stress is frequent or constant. The very fact that a majority of medicines we see advertised - or hear about costing our medical system astronomical sums of money - are for digestive problems or pain control, is testimony to the importance of addressing the nervous system in treating a variety of disease processes.

Treatment with Shiatsu places great emphasis on the back, through which runs the spinal column, the exit point of all nerves from the central to the peripheral nervous system. It also focuses on the abdomen where nerves from various levels of the spine collect to form the solar plexus ( upper abdomen) and the pelvic plexus ( lower abdomen), supplying the internal organs and the lower body. By holding specific pressure on the targeted back or abdomen reflex zones - or any other area of energy blockage or muscle contraction - Shiatsu both stimulates a state of relaxation within the body and encourages the break down and removal of lactic acid , a recognized by-product of metabolism.

For more and more of us, there is rarely a time when we feel as if our bodies are perfectly efficient and co-operating with our perception of how they should ideally be functioning. We are always striving for balance, and often when we get discouraged by lack of improvement, it affects our body image, our self esteem, and leads to further pressure to be "better". We get into a vicious cycle which cannot be helped unless we discard the concept of our bodies being separate from our minds. Shiatsu believes we can assume responsibility for our own health, through becoming aware of the effects of our diet, activities, thoughts, emotions and the relationship we have with ourselves, each other and the world around us.

For those with chronic complaints such as fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, migraines, repetitive strain injuries, arthritis, reproductive or menstrual disorders, or loss of function due to injury, paralysis, or even Multiple Sclerosis, treatment may include mild to moderate, focused or diffuse pressure and even gentle stretching, shaking and energy field work.. For more acute injuries - such as a trauma to the body, flare up from fractures, disc problems or post operative pain - other gentle modalities or techniques, also within the scope of Shiatsu practice, may be used with impressive results. For example, Moxabustion, the indirect burning of refined mugwort over the problem area, can prove to be quite effective in pain control, improving general circulation as well as resistance to infection .

In the actual practice of Shiatsu, I have found that it is often not so much the actual method used, but the suggestion that the client’s own body is activating the feedback system sending the message to the brain to release the hormone which in turn triggers pain controlling such as endorphins or cortisol, which gives the client the power needed to take control and put the "dis-ease" in perspective. Often, we are more scared by the problem once it has been named. This then feeds a sense of despondence - especially if there is no known "cure" in Western medicine.

Shiatsu therapists do not work by treating each symptom in order to treat the cause, but instead look at the overall picture of imbalance, created by the various signs and symptoms, that may point to a recognized pattern/syndrome. This gives us a sense of the "root problem, and which organ networks should first be addressed. We can also work well in conjunction with a Western medical diagnosis. The results of x-rays, lab tests and a prognosis from a doctor are helpful to have before we take our own thorough history, recording the subjective and objective data we need to form a clinical impression.

Shiatsu should certainly be considered in the case of chronic care, where the patient faces the prospect of continued medication throughout life, especially if he/she has become frustrated, depressed or angry about their situation. One cannot say that it will replace subscribed drugs but in certain conditions, many patients have been able to reduce their dosage or frequency - with a doctor’s consent - and continued therapy. Of course, as with many health care modalities regular treatment before a complaint becomes chronic is the most effective way to appreciate this therapy. Perhaps we can eventually learn to give ourselves the same consideration that we give to our cars, and take ourselves for a regular "tune-up".

Growing public demand, and increasing numbers of referrals from a variety of health care professionals, are an excellent indication that Shiatsu therapy is a viable and excellent complement to any preventative or rehabilitative health care regime. To be certain that the professional you seek is fully qualified, and fulfils the 2200 hour diploma program prerequisite for membership in the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario (S.T.A.O.), look for the trademark Certified Shiatsu Therapist (CST).