Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

And Relax ...

MAY 2012, THE JOURNAL MAGAZINE BY SONIA MANNING

At the very least, if you have an hour of Shiatsu, you are likely to leave feeling intensely relaxed in both mind and body and with your energy levels renewed.

Important though relaxation is, however, there is much more to it than that. Our clients find Shiatsu an ideal therapy for anything from stress, anxiety and depression to headaches, injuries and digestive problems.

The way Shiatsu works very much reflects the way Anam Cara operates – by treating the person, not just the symptom. This means that two people may come in with the same symptoms but be treated in completely different ways. At Anam Cara, Shiatsu is available as either a standalone treatment or as part of a bespoke programme; we strongly believe in providing our clients with exactly the tailored package of treatment they need, and Shiatsu has become a valuable part of our wide range of therapies.

What is Shiatsu?

Often mistaken for a massage therapy, Shiatsu (Japanese for ‘finger pressure’) is much more about shifting energy around the body by pressing on or stretching points on your body that lie along lines of energy – also called meridian channels. These actions can stimulate blood circulation, release toxins and tensions from the body and stimulate the hormonal system. Shiatsu prepares the body so it can heal itself.

You would usually undergo a Shiatsu treatment lying down and it is done through loose-fitting clothing. However, Shiatsu can also be performed – highly successfully - by an experienced therapist on people who may have restricted movements, disabilities or serious illness. It is also safe to perform in pregnancy as long as you have an experienced therapist who is aware of the condition. Treatments like Shiatsu are rigorously overseen by professional bodies such as the Shiatsu Society and Anam Cara’s practitioner is a registered member.

When you first attend a Shiatsu session with your Anam Cara practitioner, she will discuss your symptoms but more importantly will also talk about your lifestyle, any medication you are taking, family background, what your job is and so on. She will look at your posture and the way you hold yourself, along with any obvious tensions in the body. She may also gently touch the abdominal area (‘hara’) to assess your energy levels and any imbalances. These imbalances can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional disturbances in our daily lives.

All of this will present vital information for our experienced Shiatsu practitioner to learn about your condition and how she can help alleviate your problems.

Why Shiatsu?

At Anam Cara, some people come to simply enjoy the relaxation and sense of wellbeing it brings, while others find it plays a key role in their recovery from injury or illness. Others find it helps them to have restful sleep or helps to dissipate anger and frustration. It is useful in pain management and alongside conventional treatment for serious illness too.

Anam Cara’s founder, Sonia Manning, adds, ‘Receiving the treatment is deeply relaxing and very soothing. As the practitioner moves around your body, she uses a light, intelligent touch. She is interacting with your body - and you can feel your body responding positively to the treatment. The body holds your history – expressed in held tension, aches, pains or tenderness. Your practitioner will feel the body’s feedback, and will be able to home in on what needs attention. After the session, you may be asked to continue with some simple stretches at home to reinforce the positive work that has already been done.’

‘It’s a unique experience where even the lightest of touches can feel powerful. It’s great as part of a programme of maintenance but also for specific treatments and especially in a programme alongside other therapies. Our practitioner is also trained and qualified in Reflexology, Aromatherapy Massage, Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Indian Head Massage and can, if appropriate, integrate these into a bespoke treatment to really address your wellbeing at a physical, spiritual and emotional level, leaving you relaxed and energised.’


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If you're reading this, you've already taken an important step. You already know that you have questions that need answering, a curiosity to satisfy, difficulties to confront, maybe even a crisis to deal with.

With over 20 years' experience as a psychotherapist, executive business coach and counsellor, Sonia Manning leads a team of holistic therapists who can help you to overcome your difficulties and turn a crisis point into a turning point.