It’s weird how relaxing it can be to lie there while someone waves your leg in the air. Some years ago I started having Shiatsu sessions to compensate myself for the particularly awful job I was in, it was the usual kind of thing, too much responsibility and not enough money. I’d shuffle in to my session on a Friday afternoon, with a brain full of bitchiness and bickering and an hour later I’d float out, completely empty headed. Fabulous!
Yoga is relaxing, so is Tai Chi but they both require active participation, you actually have to move your body and concentrate on what is going on so you don’t fall over. Shiatsu, however requires you to do nothing, your job is to flop your limbs and let someone else do the work. The word Shiatsu means pressure with fingers, though in a session a practitioner can use their feet, palms, elbows, thumbs, fingers or arms to release trapped vital energy or Ki. It’s the same sort of principal as acupuncture without the spiky things. You lie fully clothed, on a futon in a dimly lit room, to be prodded, stretched and freed from tension.
Shiatsu was great throughout my pregnancy, it kept me supple and suppressed my morning sickness. A month before the birth my lovely Shiatsu lady trained my bloke to use key pressure points to help me in labour. When he said casually ‘this is supposed to open your cervix’ all my cynicism and scepticism vanished, it worked, and it worked fast. I had a relatively quick, drug free birth and instead of feeling in the way, my bloke played an active part in the great occasion. I still have regular Shiatsu sessions, now to mend a back that aches from hefting a seven month old limpet boy around, to straighten shoulders slumped from breastfeeding him and to alleviate the stress of sleep deprivation.
After Shiatsu I feel more comfortable in my body. I feel as if all my bones are in the right place and my mind is no longer a trap for useless niggles. I drift dreamily home and I am a nice person for at least 24 hours afterwards.
copyright Lisa Cole www.lactivist.co.uk 2005