Shiatsu (a Japanese word meaning finger pressure) is a touch based therapy which offers support to those who have received a life-threatening illness, are dying, or are grieving. Ideal for those who are struggling to find the words to express what they are going through, it also helps to make connections between the feelings and the body.
Being faced with death involves all of ourselves: we have complicated emotions; very real physical symptoms; worrying thoughts; and deeper, more spiritual questions about life and what happens afterwards. Going to Shiatsu is one of the very few places we can go where someone is qualified to support us with all of this.
In addition to being regularly used by thousands of people all over the world, a variety of charities, health foundations, NHS trusts, hospitals and hospices in the United Kingdom provide Shiatsu to patients whilst receiving treatment for a range of chronic and serious health issues. Also there for friends and relatives, Shiatsu is flexible and can vary from the gentle touch which is often needed for someone at the end of life, to a reassuring firmness for those who are grieving and feel as if the ground has gone from under them.
Being in a soothing environment very different from a medical treatment centre, sitting quietly with an expert who listens to whatever we need to say, and receiving bodywork which recognises the healthy parts as well as those which are hurting, is something ultimately valuable when our lives are turned upside down.
When it is hard to make decisions, to know what comes next, or what will help, having someone to offer recommendations, natural and effective ones, can be such a help. Offering calming acknowledgement of what you are going through and appropriate touch to help you integrate the sometimes confusing experiences, Shiatsu can be really useful.
You can find a Shiatsu practitioner by looking through the Shiatsu Society website. the Federation of Holistic Therapists or the Complementary Therapists Association. Alternatively you can put Shiatsu and the geographical area you live in into your search engine (google or safari, for example). Look for someone with plenty of experience and the letters MrSS or FwSS after their name or an other indication that they are a member of a professional organisation.