Posted on July 29, 2020 by Doris BlockShiatsu helps your Mental Health We are slowly coming out of knockdown and experiencing several changes. You may be still working from home, back at work or on vacation. In these current times, it’s especially important to attend to our physical and mental health. Shiatsu can play a vital roll in this. Research shows that stress and anger can cause heart disease. It reminds us of why mental health should be taken seriously. Stress is a risk and is equated to high blood pressure or smoking. Emotional agitation causes inflammation of the arteries that can set off a stroke or heart attack. A study by Harvard Medical School released in The Lancet highlights this sense of the phase, ‘anger makes my blood boil’. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31714-7/fulltext The study lines up Western Science based Medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the latter of which is the underlying theory of Shiatsu. In Eastern therapies unexpressed emotions like anger or worry are major causes of physical dis-ease. They look at body and mind as one and see a direct link between the condition of blood and arteries with the quietness and clarity of the mind. The mind in Chinese medicine is identified as “Shen” and resides in the blood. Shiatsu is gradually more valued in mainstream mental health services because of its benefit on reducing stress and difficult emotions. London and South Maudsley NHS Trust have said of a Shiatsu project set up in 2010, it is one of its most “valued” in the campaign. The head of occupational therapy at the Trust, said: “Service users, carers and staff alike have spoken highly of the impact this has made on their sense of well being. Particular reference has been made to renewed energy, improved motivation, reduction of side effects, as well as reduced tension, improved healing and increased hope.” Tools Shiatsu uses to enhance mental health: Acupuncture Points located in the head, neck, chest, arm and leg alleviate pressure away from the chest, cool the blood and calm the mind. These points lift physical and mental signs simultaneously. Touch is the essence of Shiatsu. Human touch is the tool of Shiatsu working with thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows and knees to exploit, stretch the body from head to toe. The connection through touch with another person is a powerful tool for treating mental health problems. It assists in reconnecting body and mind to the outside environment. Muscle release is used in Shiatsu to deepen and lengthen the breath which stimulates the function of the parasympathetic nervous system. One example is the psoas muscle, linking the back to the legs, which can get chronically tightened by stress as it prepares the body to run from danger. Stretching the psoas muscle allows a deep release which can be extremely satisfying for body and mind. Shiatsu gives a therapeutic, nurturing space where a person can take time out and take comfort with oneself. Receiving Shiatsu is an immensely enjoyable opportunity to be pampered while on a journey to self awareness. Sessions are a chance for self-discovery because they are a mirror to ourselves. They give receivers insight into habitual and often unintentional habits that add to an unpleasant mental outlook. Hunched shoulders, clenched teeth, arms and fists braced for action and a shallow breath will extend feelings of stress, even after the stressful situation has passed.