In “lean on” pressure I simply lean in towards the center of the client’s body, letting the pressure be the result of gravity acting on my weight. In this way, I am using my whole body rather than just my arms/ hands / fingers / elbows in isolation, and I am letting my weight and gravity do much of the work. This lean-on pressure allows for greater sensitivity, ease, and sustainability.
For the client, this kind of pressure – in contrast to a pressure that comes from muscular effort – is registered by the body/nervous system as comfortable, pleasurable and safe. This supports the body in releasing to gravity, letting go of holding patterns, and deeply relaxing.
That shiatsu is most often and traditionally done on a futon/mat on the floor creates further safety for the body. At an unconscious level, the brain recognizes firmness and ground as ‘safe’. And, again, when the body feels safe, it is better able to release its holding patterns.
I hold pressure according to what is needed by the body – how long it takes for body to trust me, for energy to flow, or for fascia to release.