Recently, I was very happy to witness a client rapidly making changes to her life by adding counseling and yoga to her bi-monthly shiatsu sessions. She decided to commit to herself despite having a busy schedule. Health is nowadays more and more dependent on many components of one’s history: social, familial, cultural, physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual. When something is missing in our lives, we intuitively know it and it can make us miserable or even ill.
Japanese Shiatsu Master Kazunori S. Sensei used to say, “When touching the Body, you are also touching the Mind” of the person. If that is the case, any kind of touch, is already a “treatment.” For example, think of a mother or a friend rubbing your tummy when you have a stomachache. Touch moves something within. It has the ability to influence the autonomic nervous system regulation.
For the client in this case, Shiatsu may have helped her get in touch with her multidimensional self, gathered her energy to take charge and or address more of her needs. This is not uncommon and happens with other disciplines such as IMT, Yuen Method, Body-Mind Movement, or Somatic Experiencing, to name a few. For instance, with Somatic Experiencing people have reported that once they have moved out of physical shock trauma (the memory of a fall for instance), they then have more energy for social engagement and see colours as being brighter. Others who have moved out of emotional stuckness, their body becomes more flexible and pain free. Or more simply put, the “refreshed” feeling after a good deep tissue massage.
What my peers and I find really exciting, and are inspired to share with you, is that, out of this modern stream of therapies, where Western meets Eastern Philosophy, we are now focusing more on health, rather than disease. Without disregarding the wonders of modern surgery, our society seems to be heading more and more towards prevention and holism. What can I do to live a better, happier, more harmonious and hence healthier life? After an era of dissection and expansion, we are moving back more toward inclusion and communication. We do not separate Mind and Body anymore. We see these changes in big cities where people invest more in themselves and a healthier lifestyle.
As Suzanne Snijder van Wissenkerke, owner at Integrative Bodywork, Claremont, southern CA (a” hopeful Somatic Experiencing practitioner, mom, wife, gardener, cook”) writes, “All bodywork can be seen as integrative. Just as is listening to music, taking a walk with a friend, or swimming in refreshing waters, many of our daily life experiences can open us up to making the internal connections that enhance health. What characterizes an integrative experience is the interweaving of relationship.
Whether that’s a relationship between humans, between the environment and us, between the body’s structural support and its organs, or among metabolic components — the key to fostering relationship is gauging not-too-much-and-not-too-little.
You can’t force it. You can’t just vaguely hope it happens. You’ve got to listen, get involved, engaged, committed, where and when and at the level appropriate.”
That opens a playful open self- inquiry for this month:
in what ways your relationship to your body, through pleasurable activities improves your state of mind? And can you notice when your mind, through pleasurable relationships with your environment can support a sense of peace, rest and lightness in your body?
We all at Balance Health and The Moving Touch, wish you a mindful and body-full month of June!
Anne, communicating with her Shiatsu recipient, through eye contact and touch, last winter, in Nepal. Grateful for the experience.