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  • What happens in a Shiatsu session?
    A session usually begins with a discussion about your health. Normally this would include any specific problems you have, and a discussion of your work, family, eating and exercise patterns. On your first visit this may take up a substantial part of the time. On subsequent visits the discussion is usually much shorter and focused on any changes that have taken place. This is followed by the Shiatsu treatment which usually lasts about 45 minutes. At the end there will be a little time to let the effects begin to settle in and to talk about the treatment.
  • What does it feel like?
    The touch, or pressure used is usually pleasurable and comforting. Sometimes it is necessary to work more deeply and this can be uncomfortable, but this is usually only a small part of the overall treatment.
  • What conditions are Shiatsu good for?
    Shiatsu is a safe and gentle therapy which can help with most conditions. Sometimes it works directly, but other times it offers support and space for people to begin to come to terms with problems they face.
  • Can Shiatsu help with ongoing or incurable conditions?
    Shiatsu can offer support and can often help to moderate or manage symptoms even if the problem will never really go away. An increased sense of well being due to Shiatsu may boost tolerance levels in the receiver, helping them to deal with the symptoms more easily.
  • Do I have to be ill to receive Shiatsu?
    People can receive Shiatsu purely for relaxation and enjoyment. Regular treatments may help to keep the body in harmony and ward off ill-health.
  • I’m pregnant – can I still receive Shiatsu?
    Shiatsu is safe and supportive during and after pregnancy.
  • Are there any times when Shiatsu should be avoided?
    Shiatsu is a very safe therapy, but it should be avoided if you: - have an infectious disease - are suffering from any acute, feverish illness - have internal bleeding or blood clots - have had a major operation during the last 3 months You should inform your practitioner of any condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor.
  • How many sessions will be needed?
    Shiatsu helps the body’s energy to rebalance itself. If the “dis-ease” is long-standing, then the body’s energy patterns will have become accustomed to being out of balance. Usually, the longer a condition has been present, the longer it will take to heal. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes change is very rapid. Everyone is different!
  • What should I wear?
    You remain fully clothed. You should wear loose fitting clothing, preferably with long sleeves. It is good to have a sweat-shirt or similar, for warmth, and not to rely on a tee-shirt (body-temperature often drops a little during the treatment). Avoid wearing a skirt or jeans, and wear, or bring a clean pair of socks. Leave some time between eating and having a Shiatsu treatment.
  • I cannot lie on the floor. Can I still have Shiatsu?
    Yes. It is possible to receive Shiatsu in a chair, in a wheelchair or even in a hospital bed.
  • How will I feel after a treatment?
    Many people find it leaves them feeling deeply relaxed, with a feeling of well-being and calmness. It can also leave you feeling intensely alive and energised. Sometimes emotional feelings surface, either during or after a treatment. This is perfectly normal and you should try to give yourself the time and space to let them wash-through you rather than suppressing them.
  • Can I receive Shiatsu whilst on medication?
    Yes you can. Your practitioner will ask whether you are currently taking medication and take details of any medical conditions you are suffering from. Shiatsu will not interfere with your medication. It will often complement conventional medical treatment by giving an overall strengthening effect and improving the circulation of blood and lymph and reducing stress. If you are receiving medical treatment for a particular condition, then it may be advisable to inform or consult your doctor prior to having a Shiatsu treatment.
  • Is Shiatsu complementary or alternative?
    Shiatsu is complementary to mainstream Western medicine, not an alternative to it. Treatment will be given according to Oriental diagnosis, though it is always important that the modern Western diagnosis is confirmed and considered as well. Both Shiatsu and Western medicine have important roles to play and sometimes you may be advise to go and see your GP.
  • Can I have Shiatsu if I am having other complementary or alternative therapy?
    Yes, although it is generally best to leave at least a few days between different treatments to let the effects settle-in. If you have any concerns about mixing treatments, please discuss them with your practitioner.
  • What is Qi?
    Qi (sometimes spelled 'Chi' or 'Ki') is our life-force. It flows throughout the body like a system of rivers and canals and provides the energy for our life processes. It gives our organs their transformative abilities, holds everything in place and supplies our vitality. It is also the organising force which enables our innumerable component parts to act harmoniously. Things may happen to upset the smooth flow of Qi, causing blockages in some areas and weaknesses in others. These blockages or weaknesses in turn may lead to physical symptoms, to psychological or emotional disturbances, or simply to a feeling that things are just not quite right. Working with the Qi (to release blockages, stimulate or balance it) can help with mental and emotional problems as well as physical conditions.
  • What are Meridians?
    Qi moves throughout the body but in certain defined pathways it flows in a more concentrated manner. These pathways are known as meridians. The meridians form a continuous circuit of channels that allow the flow of Qi all over the body.
  • How does Shiatsu diagnosis work?
    Shiatsu diagnosis is holistic rather than analytical, taking into account a wide range of clues based on what the client says, observation of behaviour patterns and physical appearance, and touch. Diagnosis plays a central role in Shiatsu, but it is framed in terms of oriental medicine (Ki, elements, meridians, etc.) rather than Western physiology and pathology. A Shiatsu practitioner may be able to tell you that you have, say, a Water energy imbalance or an Earth energy imbalance, but not that you have diabetes or high cholesterol. Many practitioners begin a session with gentle palpation (i.e. diagnostic touch) of the abdominal region. This region, called the Hara in Japanese, is especially important in Shiatsu diagnosis because it is central, soft and relatively unprotected, so that subtle imbalances often reveal themselves more easily here.
  • How does Shiatsu treatment work?
    Based on the initial diagnosis and on physical and visual feedback gained during the session, the practitioner will seek to even out the perceived energy imbalances through pressure on the meridians, probably in conjunction with other techniques such as rocking, stretches and joint rotations. As with diagnosis, Shiatsu treatment is holistic, with the practitioner working on the whole body rather than focusing on the area where symptoms are most obvious. Shiatsu works best if the client is as relaxed and comfortable as possible, so you should close your eyes, relax your muscles (the practitioner will do all the work if movement is required) and refrain from speaking unless it's really necessary. But let the practitioner know the moment you feel any discomfort or your body will start to tense up and the benefit of the session will be lost.
  • Is Shiatsu massage?
    Shiatsu has some features in common with European-style massage and other forms of bodywork in that the use of physical pressure and stretches serves to reduce muscular tension and loosen stiff joints. However, unlike massage, the receiver remains clothed during the treatment and the principal aim of Shiatsu is not to work on localised muscles and joints, but on the overall energy system of the client. This is the big difference between Shiatsu and other physical therapies. A Shiatsu practitioner working on a shoulder joint, for example, will not just be focusing on the joint but on the pattern of energy throughout the client's body.
  • Is Shiatsu healing?
    It is more accurate to say that Shiatsu aids healing than that Shiatsu heals. The aim is to assist the body's natural healing process by encouraging the client's energy to move into a more balanced state. A practitioner's touch can enable each of us to contact our own abilities for self-healing. Shiatsu is different from the ‘laying on of hands’, spiritual healing or Reiki, where healing energy is believed to be ‘channelled’ through the practitioner to the client.
  • Can Shiatsu do any harm?
    By the nature of Shiatsu, it is almost impossible for it to have harmful effects. The aim is to shift energy around the body in such a way as to relieve areas of tension and enliven weak areas. This is effectively a collaboration between the practitioner and the client's body, which will instinctively want to do the same thing, but may need a little help to get started. Occasionally a new patient may have healing reactions after the first few sessions. These occur when toxins have been released during the treatment, and as these work out through the body there may be symptoms such as headache, stiffness, stomach upsets or diarrhoea, desire to urinate frequently, or lethargy. Such symptoms are transitory and soon pass, usually in 12 hours at most. Drinking plenty of spring water and resting will help, as well as asking the practitioner for advice and reassurance. Emotional releases may take longer to work through, and indeed, over the course of a number of treatments, deep-seated emotional patterns or memories involving past emotions may be uncovered. These can have profound effects on the patient's life. In such cases, extra contact between sessions may be necessary to talk through the reactions to treatment.
  • Will I have to change my lifestyle?
    First and foremost, your Shiatsu practitioner will respect your chosen lifestyle, however 'un-oriental' it is. Indeed, Shiatsu is particularly beneficial for people in the high-stress occupations associated with the mainstream of modern life. Your Shiatsu practitioner may discuss ways in which you could 'fine-tune' your life in order to get more out of it - for example a change in diet or more exercise.
  • How can I integrate Shiatsu with self-development?
    A unique feature of Shiatsu is that it can be viewed as self-development as well as therapy. Either as a client or a practitioner you learn more about the way your body works, and how intimately your physical health is linked to thoughts and feelings. With time, you will find you become more sensitive to subtle changes in yourself, and instinctively learn to compensate for imbalances as soon as they show themselves. Many people find that Shiatsu combines well with other forms of self-development such as yoga or meditation, and particularly those like Aikido, Qigong and Tai Chi which are aimed at developing awareness of Ki energy.
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