When clients come in with pain in their body, they often believe that the best approach is to work directly on the area of complaint as soon as possible. This belief comes from an understanding that sees the body as made up of separate parts. However, I understand the body as one whole, woven together, through the nervous system, the meridian system, the chakras, the fascia system, and the skeletal system. Working on the toes for example addresses issues along the back, neck/ throat, the head, jaws and face. Also, often underlying a primary focus on the problem area is a ‘fix it” approach. This belief system comes from Western medicine which understands and therefore treats the body as a machine. The body however has consciousness and the ability to know. It is intelligent and is not different from our conscious selves. It responds to compassion, empathy, curiosity, listening, and safety. All of Nature responds to these.
Through my experience of practicing shiatsu I have come to believe that the body doesn’t want to be approached with an attitude of fixing because this implies that something is wrong. I have found instead that the body releases, opens and heals much more readily and beautifully when it is seen, greeted and communed with. As a practitioner I do this energetically.
My overall approach also tends to be indirect because I have come to learn that the body prefers to be approached in this way. I like to begin by addressing the root imbalance (which may be in a specific meridian, in an area of armoring) and to focus on areas distal from the main complaint that would encourage overall release before working directly on the most painful area that my client wants resolved. This approach allows the body to gently settle into a more relaxed, trusting, nourished and open state, encouraging its receptivity to pressure in its vulnerable places. I also believe that this approach facilitates release at a deeper level. This allows the body to sustain its reorganized state for a longer time. Having said all this, I also listen intuitively for when someone would benefit from gentle pressure or touch on the area of complaint from the very start. I listen for when this is necessary.