Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Shiatsu vs. accounting

I enjoyed studying for my accounting qualification (AAT) & would definitely recommend it to any one wanting to get into accounting. It came along for me at the right time; I needed some thing else in my life, study exercised the ol' grey matter & it's certainly helped my job prospects. It seems to be pretty popular with employers & I managed to get a temping job very quickly when I moved to a new area. Therefore, I think it was the right course for me at that time. It would be very easy to think 'why couldn't I have studied shiatsu then', but I know I wasn't ready for it.

I guess I'm just finding studying AAT & shiatsu very different! I think I could study accounting in the same way I studied at school & college. OK, you have to learn how to 'do' stuff in accounting, but I could memorise things fairly easily for the exams.
In shiatsu, the first time we were tested on the 5 elements, I learnt the information in the same way, & could 'regurgitate' it to pass. However, some time later I found I really couldn't remember much at all, to my horror.
To be honest, I don't think I really understood the theory, & that's the problem, I guess. I don't think I have a proper grasp of some of the theory we have covered. I just feel I need more time (& practice) for it to sink in. The question is how to do this in your final year? My current answer is to postpone the final exams, but to be honest, the perfectionist inside doesn't like that, unsurprisingly.

I get stressed. I always have done... It's some thing I'm working on changing, & I know much of it has to do with the high standards I set myself. I care very much about shiatsu, that's why I've been stressed. I want to do well with my studies, & help people as my experience grows. I don't want to be a mediocre shiatsu practitioner. And I don't mean that in a big headed way, I just want to be good at what I do.
I care about aikido, that's why I get frustrated in class & then get emotional because I don't know what to do with that feeling. Anger/tears = what do I do with this??

Before I started practising aikido, I did Goju Ryu karate for about 2 1/2 years. I think it was much easier as some how I didn't care about it as much. I came to the conclusion it wasn't the right art for me, after trying Wing Chun kung fu & then found aikido. Some times I wonder how I'd find a karate class now. Would I fall back into it, or start shihonage without thinking?

Bottom line, I care more about studying shiatsu than I did accounting. Studying shiatsu is much more challenging for me, & there's all the practical side too. I know aikido will help, but I have so little patience with myself still.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Aikido changes

I'm very sad to say that my aikido Sensei has resigned. As of next week I will be joining another class locally. I completely understand & agree with his reasons for resigning.

I wanted to say some words of thanks at your last class, but when the time came I was just too choked up, I guess.
Thank you Sensei for every thing you have taught me. I will miss having you as a teacher. I didn't plan to become one of your students, but there was some thing that kept drawing me back! I may not have found classes always easy, but I've enjoyed being taught by you very much.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Hooray for hara (diagnosis)

Even though our shiatsu school has decided to drop Zen from our syllabus, we still seem to be doing back & hara diagnosis. We did some Saturday & I was extremely surprised & pleased with one of my hara diagnosis. I've never previously felt like I've 'got it', which is maybe unsurprising as one teacher said it can take years to truly work out.

I also asked our teacher how I'm meant to be thinking about this. I liked her explanation, which was 'opening the window & putting your hand out to see what the weather's like'.

As we started practising this week end, I tried (as usual) not to think too much about it & it obviously worked some how this time. You find the most jitsu (full area where you're not really wanted) & the most kyo (kinda empty or where you're most wanted) areas, & then hold both & see if there's a reaction. I did this & kinda felt a pulse in both hands! When I moved one hand, I lost this feeling & when I went back it returned. I then did the same thing with the other hand, exactly the same happened. It's great, 'cos it's progress forward & I never knew what to expect when there's a connection between 2 areas.
Hooray for hara, I say :)

I apologise to any Zen experts out there if my description is lacking in any way, I still have much to learn.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Completely off topic

I've registered with
It's a great way to find some weird & wonderful websites, but you also give preferences so you don't just get completely random stuff.
Not quite sure why I got this YouTube link, but I find it fascinating to watch as I'm still a beginner with make up!

Enjoying study & practice

I've recently felt quite 'stuck' with my practice & study. I know I get bogged down & worry about things, even though I'm soo much better than I used to be.
As part of my course I have to do 100 treatments, & I admit I'm not getting on with them as well as I hoped I would be. I guess with all the registering as self-employed & getting into more diagnosis, it feels a bit much currently.
I just feel that I should know more at this stage in my course! I'm always too hard on myself, so I guess I know more than I give myself credit for.

I did half an hour of shiatsu at the week end. No real thoughts about diagnosis, & I didn't write any notes. The idea was just to do some shiatsu. After the time was up, I wasn't that satisfied with how it went, but he enjoyed it.
I guess I'm wondering now how important is it that the client enjoys my shiatsu? They're paying their money & giving up their time to be there, so surely they'd want to enjoy it. Some one reminded me recently that he didn't enjoy really any of his acupuncture sessions, but he kept going as he thought it was worth doing.
As shiatsu is generally more hands on, is it unlikely that the client will not enjoy at least some of it? I think I'd like my practice to be enjoyable for people, but should I be focusing more on balancing any disharmony??

I'm aware that I haven't mentioned aikido in a long, long time.
I couldn't imagine giving up, but I find class very challenging at times. I guess that when I joined the dojo, big changes were afoot for me in my personal life. Some times getting on the mat = big emotion, be it tears or anger. I think they both stem from frustration most of the time.
Sensei is currently revising the syllabus, which means definitely raising the standard by a long way. I admit I found it hard looking at the draft syllabus, as it makes me feel I don't know any thing. (Which I do, I am after all a green belt)
I am pleased with last week's class, as I still managed to be positive even though I didn't exactly feel like it.
Karate didn't seem to affect me this way. I went to class, practised at home etc. but I didn't think about it. The longer I practise aikido, the more I can't seem to get away from it! Which I suppose is the way to be. Practise on the mat affects off the mat, & vice versa.

I definitely do get frustrated with both shiatsu & aikido, but I couldn't imagine giving up either.
Maybe it's all like knitting; it works better when you relax? I've started to learn how to knit, as I don't feel I have any skills to create some thing. I now have a piece of pink wool 7x7 cms, which I'm very proud of :)
Funny how the little things bring happiness.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Scary Stage 4

Well, I started Stage 4 of my course last week end. I thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from being ill with some kind of cold, achey bug. The nice thing was that the practical side was aimed at me, & I found some work on Lung & Spleen seemed to help a lot.

One surprise is that our branch is dropping the Zen shiatsu from our course. I'm not sure it's a good thing, but we'll have more time to spend on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) theory. We're already learning 14 meridians, but you have to know a further 12 for Zen! Hara diagnosis is Zen, but I think I will still spend some time practicing it, as I think your centre is a pretty important part of you. I think some of us were disappointed that there wasn't any consultation about changing our syllabus. One of the other students said she wouldn't have signed up initially without the Zen component. I'm not sure I know enough about it to give an opinion.

I've been getting a bit worried that I don't know my channels particularly well, let alone point location & function. I spoke to my teacher about the possible option of postponing this stage to learn them, & his answer was a resounding 'no'. I've just found them some thing hard to learn previously. However, I've now sat down with the list of points I need & started putting together my own notebook. I feel much better about it now.
I realise that my current shiatsu is more about going to where I'm needed on some one. I don't think I just 'do' & normally afterwards people have said I was in the right place. More confidence about channels & points will only strengthen my technique. Steady on, that sounds a bit positive there...

When the Shiatsu Society (eventually) gets back to me, I'll be setting up my own website, which is pretty exciting. I need to decide on designs for business cards & leaflets too.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Facial aculift massage rocks!

Well, I finished the course yesterday & thoroughly enjoyed it.
To begin with, it involves holding certain acupuncture points on the face, head & neck. Then there are muscle release techniques to relax every thing, along with some stretches.
Then either we used oil or massage wax to concentrate on any wrinkles, & I enjoyed sweeping up the face with the added lubrication of wax or oil.
The last 3 times I received FAM, I fell asleep as it was sooo relaxing.
It could be called cosmetic acupressure for marketing purposes. However, I think it's face shiatsu with extra knobs on for working with wrinkles.

Then there was an added bonus at the end. Some people were invited into the class (not fellow students) for us to practice on. I had a very nice lady, who I could tell found it relaxing from the outset. She gave me very positive feedback & trotted off to look in the mirror at my handiwork. It had made quite a big difference to some lines on her forehead, which was great for my confidence.
My teacher thanked me at the end, as due to my work she wanted to book a session with him. She did talk to me, but realised I am no where close to where she lives.

I can now charge for Shiatsu (1/2 price as I'm still studying), FAM & also Sotai (postural re-alignment using the muscles) . It's a bit scary, but exciting too & I'm going to look about registering as self-employed.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Harry Potter

I didn't think I was that excited about the new book coming out, & had decided to wait until my birthday. However, Saturday came & I just had to buy it. I finally finished it Monday 1 a.m.! That wasn't non-stop reading, other normal life interrupted me.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it, & am considering reading it a 2nd time at a slightly more leisurely pace.
I think the main reason for buying it now, was that I couldn't bear the thought of hearing the ending from some one else.

Thursday, 19 July 2007


I got what looks like a promising book out of the library today. It's called The Spiritual Teachings of the Tao by Mark Forstater. I've dabbled with other books about Taoism, such as the Tao of Pooh & the Te of Piglet. For some reason today, the opening chapter of this book made a lot of sense.
Studying shiatsu & aikido seem to me to come under the umbrella of Taoism really. I guess I haven't previously thought that. How can I get a day job that fits in with that? Or is that the hard part?? In aikido, we try to bring the positivity we practice on the mat off into every day life.
Hmm, this is not a clear thought process at the moment, so I think I'll write more when I've done more thinking!

I'm curious if any other shiatsu practioners or students feel this way. Just makes sense to me at the moment...

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Final stage of my course

I've just received the dates for the final part of my course! In just under a year's time I could be qualified... That includes doing 100 treatments & some case histories. It occurred to me recently that rather than knowing every thing about shiatsu, I think it'll be equivalent to being a Dan grade. You know the basics & principles, & are ready to really learn. Makes me also think about when I learnt to ride a motorbike too. I started to properly relax & learn more once I passed my test.
I feel that thinking that way takes some pressure off, as previously I thought I needed to be an expert once qualified.

I've got 2 exams on Saturday, & I'm pretty chilled about that which is unusual for me. I think at the moment I'd prefer to fail them, but be chilled, rather than stress like I normally do. I did manage to be relaxed about my last physiology exam, so that's my plan from now on. The next stage is more important & I need to be chilled now, rather than end up flapping around all stressed from September to June next year.

I think I need to sit down & consider what shiatsu means to me. What is there that will keep me going if things are tough? I know the study is changing the way I view people & things. The Shiatsu Society have mentioned that a growing number of students qualify & then disappear a year or so afterwards. I know this is probably partly due to the pressures of setting up your own business, but I don't intend on joining them!

Oh, some silly kinda relevant YouTube thingies:

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Looking the part

When I practise shiatsu I normally wear a long sleeved 100% cotton top & my old karate trousers, as recommended by my shiatsu school. The practitioner who does shiatsu on me wears the same kind of thing, so I haven't given it much thought.

It occurred to me recently, what do I wear to do the facial aculift massage? I think that where it's straying into the beauty market, customers will expect me to look a certain way. Should I conform to that expectation? I know we judge each other (especially first impressions) by the way we look. Personal & professional image are different. On one level, I do & don't want to conform to other people's expectations of me, depending on who they are... However, professionally, I think I need to 'look the part', but only if I'm comfortable. I was going to buy a cheap tunic, like those worn at salons, but the more I looked I wasn't convinced. Too much polyester for my liking. Not that I'm snobby about it, but natural fibres are better for the flow of ki.

And then I didn't know what colour to buy. I definitely didn't want all white, considered black but thought it was too severe. I've always had Goth friends, but never gone over to the dark side. I decided on what they call chocolate. Not too in your face either. I think I made the right choice. Well, I'll definitely know when I try it on.

I used to be a tomboy & didn't feel that feminine. I never really wore skirts, lots of jeans & boots mostly. I know I've changed quite a bit in these past few years, & I'm finally starting to enjoy being a girl! My most recent acquisition is a bright pink bag for 99p. I'm not totally convinced, but using it hasn't brought about any apocalypse yet. I guess what I'm getting to is that I'm not sure if how I look reflects what's on the inside? If these don't match, am I some how being dishonest? I certainly don't want to be high maintenance & need a separate cupboard for shoes.

I thought I'd be a qualified accountant by now, & I know what most of them look like. Smart shoes & a decent suit, bingo. At work I have a uniform. I don't know what a shiatsu/facial aculift massage/sotai practitioner looks like. Maye it'll be fun finding out.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Shiatsu as a business

I'm going to do a Facial Aculift massage course with my shiatsu school. Basically it's a natural face lift, & as I understand it, works by stimulating certain pressure points & muscles on the face. As soon as I heard about it, I thought it made sound financial/business sense to do. Shiatsu is still a fairly unknown therapy, so it's going to be harder to make a profession from it than from say, acupuncture or thai massage.

It just seems to make sense to cross over into the more mainstream beauty market. I guess it's made me start thinking more about the business side, & wondering if shiatsu is going to be able to support me as a main career. I know it will take time to grow, but it makes sense to diversify & offer other things to cater to different customers.
Once again, I realise I've been prejudiced against certain professions!! I'd like to apologise to all nail technicians out there... Previously I assumed this was some thing you did if you had no brains. However, there's definitely a market out there & it makes people happy. There are definite good points to all that!

Another weird thing, I think I want to try making soap... For some reason, the idea appeals to me along the lines of creating some thing out of raw ingredients. I'm definitely a person who smells every thing, so I'd want to make stuff that looked & smelt good. I'm wondering if it could be some thing to complement the facial massage too. I think if I went into this professionally I'd want to try adding unusual ingredients (like spirulina, which I saw in a soap recipe!) & essential oils etc.
I remember going into Lush (handmade cosmetics company) ages ago, & finding it very stinky! Just that a lot of it smelt too artificial & perfumed for my liking. I don't know if it's too labour & cost intensive to be worth it.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

From scary to engaging

I haven't posted for a while as I haven't been in the best place with my studies.
If some one asked me fairly recently, "Are you enjoying studying shiatsu?" The answer would have been, "Not at the moment."
I've just been finding the theory overwhelming & not being happy with practice. I know the practical side is due partly to my own high expectations & being in my head too much. I have had consistently good feedback from all my willing bodies, but I just feel I haven't been doing 'good' shiatsu recently.

One week end with an enthusiastic teacher & my fellow students, & I'm back on track! (yay)
I've been getting a bit stressed about learning all the points & channels. Tonight, all of a sudden I've made a breakthrough... All the channels are paired together (into what's called Six Divisions) which has to also do with where they lie on the limbs. A light bulb has been flickering on & off for quite a few hours today.
I'm so excited (call me sad, if you wish) that I've realised that the pairings for the 5 elements are also linked into where the channels lie. For example, for the Water element, they kinda run down opposite sides of the leg (Kidney & Bladder). I didn't realise this, or didn't understand it previously.

There are nice touches to the way my textbooks are laid out too, which I didn't 'see' before. 5 elements are in their order, e.g. Water, Wood, Fire etc. And even the channels are listed by the Six Divisions.
It's seeing patterns in all the information, which I'll need to process all the info properly.
When I was doing accounting, I could look for patterns in the numbers a lot of the time. I guess this is the first time I've done it with shiatsu!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Scary shiatsu

I think I'm getting some where with my feelings about shiatsu at the moment. To be honest, studying this is fascinating, confusing, frustrating, some times wonderful & scary too. It's such a deep subject and I think I can actually help people with this.
In comparison, working in audit/accountancy was a safe choice, & I'm glad I didn't stay there.
Realising this doesn't make it any easier. I believe in how shiatsu enables your body to be balanced. Your body knows how it should be. The ki knows where it should be, if that doesn't sound too odd. I'm not going to be 'healing' any body, I don't figure it works that way.

Last night my hands were so buzzy I had problems getting to sleep. Irritating thing is I felt I was on the brink of some revelation, but fell asleep instead! Always the way, huh?

I had some hypnotherapy in 2005. Strange stuff, man. Really. Powerful though & I don't really understand what he did. That said, he came highly recommended by family so I trusted him. My overall opinion is that he helped put things in motion, kinda like sending the ki forward.

It is strange to be writing about things like this. Things used to be simpler, but certainly not better. Simpler because I was just existing, coping with each day, but not challenging myself personally.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Barefoot & catching sticks

At shiatsu last week end, we looked at:
  • Practice & ethics
  • Small Intestine
  • Yu points
  • Bladder
  • Barefoot shiatsu.
I enjoyed it all, but especially the barefoot part. No actual bare feet as we kept our socks on, but using feet instead of hands etc. There was some thing so nice about giving & receiving this. I can't wait to try it out! Our teacher says it's very grounding for both parties, & is a good way to rest your hands too.

I discovered at aikido tonight that I can catch a stick easier with my eyes closed.
One of our exercises shows the comparison between trying to catch a stick using your sight & then touch. It seems to take time for me to get into this, but tonight it definitely took less time as I tried with my eyes closed sooner.
Maybe I can relate this to shiatsu in a slightly different way. I think I am getting feedback during my hara diagnosis, but just not believing in it to be able to listen. Pesky brain getting in the way again.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Complementary therapies prejudice

Some one was recently telling me about crystals, & it made me realise there's possibly quite a few complementary therapies I am prejudiced about! It seems to be a bit weird, considering I'm training to be a therapist. Years ago, I would never have considered some thing like acupuncture or shiatsu. I thought that perhaps it was mostly the placebo effect & kinda 'hippy crap'!
Having acupuncture changed my mind as it was such a positive experience. And some how I made the journey to considering treating people myself. Well, it might be time to educate myself...

Friday, 19 January 2007

Entertaining shihonage & green belt

During class last Wednesday, we did a shihonage I haven't done before. The attack is ryokatatori - both hands on the front of your kit. Then you turn slightly back & dip your head under their arms, doing the movement without your hands.
To begin with it was fine. Then my partner did the movement & my hand slipped down the back of his gi, twisted up & he lost his balance & fell on top of me!
We laughed at the bizarreness of it, & then got slightly hysterical when it kept happening.
Turns out I being too obstinate with my following & hanging on far too long.

I did my presentation for my green belt today. It went OK, I guess. I suppose I wanted to show how I'm letting a bit more out in my practice & moving more, but don't think it showed that well. That said, I didn't hesitate & wasn't at all nervous. I'll just have to show it for brown belt! And I did the above shihonage as an afterthought.
I guess I haven't been that impressed with myself for my orange or green belt presentations. Again, I'll just have to make brown a good one. (Note to self... enjoy it too)