Stop! Don't go away. Just hear me out please.
You may have always dismissed such 'airy-fairy' concepts as 'universal life energy' but Granny assures you that such a thing exists and we should all tap into it as it's freely available!
Granny knows what she's talking about as she is a retired MRSS. That is a qualified member of the Shiatsu Society and for those of you who don't know, Shiatsu is an Eastern healing practice that combines Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese massage. It is carried out on the floor on a futon and the client is fully clothed. Indeed, practitioners refrain from touching distracting bare flesh as much as possible and work over clothing or use a cloth where appropriate.
Before starting a treatment and while the client lies quietly on his or her back, I 'gather' myself, (I still regularly treat a couple of long-standing clients). In kneeling position I connect to that special earth/sky energy that surrounds us, whilst visualising a set of healing symbols before setting to work in silence. My first task is to 'palpate the hara' - a gentle feel around the diaphragm area - which gives me clues as to which opposing channels of energy (such as Stomach, Lungs, Liver, Bladder), to work with. I will then access lines of energy threading systematically round the body and work both physically and mentally to bring them into balance.
The Japanese massage aspect is very different to Western massage and no oils are used. Instead of working muscles back and forth, I lean in, using my body-weight, rhythmically working down my client's body and limbs before using thumb and finger pressure to retrace my movements along the channels. Making an energetic connection I 'sense' problem areas and may choose to use acupuncture points to help with their release. These Traditional Chinese medical 'trigger' points have been recognised and used for thousands of years in the East. I don't use needles however, only finger pressure.
I do not call myself a healer, I merely act as a conduit for my patient's own life energy forces to do the work of mending or energising since like other complementary therapies, Shiatsu is an engagement with the receiver's own self-healing ability. Certain point-combinations give a strong sense of 'bridging' or 'linking' and occasionally I am aware of actual change taking place beneath my hands.
I end each session with a calming head massage followed by the feet before finishing much the same as I started, composing myself, before once again checking the energetic connection between my chosen points. I can almost guarantee they will be in balance and that the general feel of the hara will be of deeper, stronger movement.
Shiatsu can work alone or complement orthodox treatment and it is both humbling and satisfying to hear a client say 'that was amazing. I had a pain and now it has gone.' Between us we have tapped into that universal life energy that drives everything forward, making use of our own natural attributes before hastily reaching into the medicine cabinet...