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What a Shiatsu Treatment Involves

A session generally lasts an hour although the first session is an hour and a quarter as the practitioner has to collect background details for the purposes of assessment. Follow-up treatments include some additional data collection and up-dates but most details will already have been collected. A course of treatments usually consists of 4 to 8 sessions but depends on various criteria such as, how long-standing the problem has been and how severe the symptoms are.

The client is asked to wear loose clothing such as a track-suit, as Shiatsu massage is done through clothing rather than on bare skin. It is advisable not to eat for an hour before the treatment and not to drink alcohol either.

After collecting information regarding the presenting problems the client is usually asked to lie on a futon style mat on the floor and close his/her eyes, although Shiatsu can be given on a massage table, if required. (This is sometimes more limiting because of the width of the table.) The actual massage part of the treatment usually lasts about 45 to 50 minutes with a few minutes at the end to refocus and for feedback. As the body learns to receive the Shiatsu it begins to open and relax more and more allowing the deeper energies to move and re-harmonise. A sense of well-being starts to permeate the bodymind as the connections are made in a safe, supportive environment and the client can feel physically heavy like a sleeping cat, or light and energised with perhaps a slight feeling of euphoria. When the client is ready to leave he/she needs to be feeling centred and able to face the world with a clear head, so a few minutes are allocated at the end for this. It is also advisable to drink water after a treatment as various toxins in the body will have been released and it is also a good idea not to have to rush off and do too many things. It is important for the body to be in a relaxed, integrated state in order to become whole/healed and if one is scattered by having to do many things at once many of the benefits of the session will be lost.

The client is encouraged to participate in the treatment by bringing his/her awareness to the areas being treated and during the session the client can be asked to learn some simple exercises to support the process. Although the treatment is specifically angled at the presenting problem the whole body is acknowledged as the overall desired result is a fully integrated bodymind.

By using different energetic approaches the practitioner can treat dis-harmonies of a physical, mental or emotional nature and this also has a positive uplift on the spirit. The practitioner will ask the client to be actively involved in the healing process. This could mean that the client will be asked to perform some exercises during the treatment session either for the purpose of assessment or to demonstrate techniques to be continued at home to support the sequence of treatments. Other forms of self-involvement that are sometimes required are dietary considerations, breathing exercises, postural awareness exercises, stretch and release exercises, oriental herbs or the recommendations might even be working in conjunction with another practitioner such as a counsellor while continuing with treatments.

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