By Neil del Strother

The proof of the massage is in the kneading. At least it certainly seems that way with shiatsu, as my massage commenced with the lengthy kneading of my belly and chest by what felt like a large-pawed and oh-so-gentle cat. Apparently this was all about activating my meridians. 

“Shiatsu acts at a deeper level than other massages as it works with universal energy,” Stephanie Ball, my practitioner, assured me in mid-knead. “I do yoga every day and qigong exercises before each client to help me channel and direct this energy – it keys into your body’s natural energy flow and unblocks it where it’s become stuck. It’s like a shower on the inside.”

If I’m honest I had my doubts. I’d turned up with a neck as stiff as a chronically inhibited poker, a back aching for Britain and a heavy dose of family stress. Surely I was beyond help? Or at the very minimum I needed a vigorous deep tissue massage? My doubts were further compounded by Stephanie asking me to keep my thick jumper – and the rest of my clothes – on as I was pulling it over my head in readiness for the massage table. This was not going to work!

I’m delighted to report I was wrong. My much-ignored meridians lapped up all the attention and once I was thoroughly kneaded, Stephanie headed off to numerous neglected corners of my body, loosening them up it seemed through some sort of subtle hocus pocus. This was so inexplicably pleasurable that I found myself drifting away into gorgeous oblivion, so much so that by the end of the massage I was well and truly out of it. Moreover, and best of all, my neck was much softer, my back less achy and my stress had dissolved into the ether. 

Fingers crossed they will all stay that way…

To book an appointment with Stephanie in St Leonards or Bexhill call 078164 86603. Other shiatsu practitioners are available!

Neil del Strother is a Journey Practitioner and author:

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