Shiatsu News Pelvic Floor

We have to talk about pelvic floor health the ultimate taboo? Lately, I noticed more articles in the papers about it. More education is needed. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, particular the perineum, in the floor of your pelvis. They support the bladder, uterus or prostate and rectum. A weakness in these muscles can give problems to hold the organs in place. A very common issue is urinary incontinence, prolepses, piles and bowel incontinence.

The female pelvic floor is more vulnerable than the male because of the hip shape and anatomy. Simply the fact that human beings walk on two legs put more pressure on the pelvic floor of all sexes.

Contributing factors:

Aging, 20-40% of muscle mass loss

Bad posture

Heavy lifting


Pregnancy, childbirth, long labour

Chronic sneezing, coughing

Straining on the toilet, constipation

Weight training – haemorrhoids

Pelvic surgery: hysterectomy or prostate removal

The good new is we can do something. The pelvic floor muscles are like all other muscles, you can strengthen them with exercise, reverse the problems and have better quality of life.

Some disciplines address pelvic muscle health e.g. Yoga, Pilates and physio therapy. Often it is taught in sitting or standing position. I strongly disagree with that because, as I said already, walking puts already strain on our pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exercise should only be practise lying down.

From a Shiatsu point of view the spleen has the energetic role to hold organs in place. If the spleen is weak organs can collapse e.g. slipped discs, prolepses. It is a very common condition in western societies. I can help with regular Shiatsu treatments and specific exercises.

Prevention is the key. Ideally it would be best to start strengthening the pelvic floor before it weakens. So if you plan a pregnancy work on your pelvic floor, great preparation to give birth.  

Diet & Nutrition

We are moving towards the end of February and can see some light inside lockdown channel, hurrah! The weather is improving, spring is in the air and Zephyrus is playing a tune!

I am continuing to give Shiatsu treatment at Violet Hill Studios for the community in the safest way possible.

Those of you how follow me on FB might have noticed that I am a foodie. I love cooking, food shopping, trying out new recipes and of course eating with a trained eye on the properties and healing power of food. I subscribe to Hippocrates (400 BC), “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. It emphasizes the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease. I believe our diet plays a huge part in the root of disease.

The good news is: ‘you can change your diet’ and the way we eat, but this is easier said than done. Our food habits are rooted in our childhood. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food represents the Earth Element. In order to change the earth we often need an earthquake, pretty heavy stuff. And Shiatsu treatments are fantastic in supporting the digestive system and combined with dietary advice, they are dynamite.


Some Advice for Healthy Eating


I believe in the 80/20 rule. A little bit of bad can be good for you. There is nothing wrong with an occasional fry up or pizza, etc., as long as they are supported by a healthy diet most of the time. Here are some tips that if followed will serve you well and are not too difficult to follow…in no particular order.

If it is man made avoid it. Butter is always better than margarine, sugar is better than Aspartame.

Avoid wheat where possible. It is everywhere, even if you try to avoid it, you’ll still end up eating it.

Most bread is rubbish. If you are going to eat bread, treat it the same way you would wine or chocolate and buy the best stuff you can. If the ingredient list contains any E numbers or a Flour Treatment agent, don’t touch it. It may look like bread but it isn’t. Purchase the small bakery ones, about 3 or 4 quid a loaf and freeze it in order to make it last.

Drink water, choice number one at all times, ideally still. If sparkling, make sure it’s the naturally sparking kind. Aim for one litre per day, two if you are feeling up for it.

Coffee is allowed, once a day, prior to noon. Give yourself a break from it occasionally.

Avoid Soya, fermented soya is fine (miso, tempeh) but most are poor quality and an estrogens mimicker with is fine if you want to have awful PMS.

Eat vegetables, try and make it 60% of your diet. Raw or lightly steamed is best.

Chew your food. Teeth and saliva are the start of the digestion process. Give your food a head start – literally.

Avoid sugar it is evil, the true cause of all chronic illness.

Unsaturated fats are good for you. Sugar kills, fats do not.

Do not drink with your meals. A small amount of water or a glass of wine with dinner is fine.

Take supplements, unfortunately our food, lifestyle and diets are not enough. Always buy good quality supplements, except the fact that you’ll be taking something once a day for life.

Don’t eat “low fat foods”, they usually contain more sugar instead of fats.

Nuts are your friends. Five to ten enough for a serving unsalted/ unroasted of course.

Learn how to make Lentil Dahl. It is easy, fast nutritious and inexpensive.

Never learn to bake. My grandfather was a baker. It is in my blood!

Flax seeds or oil, take one teaspoon per day. It’s good for you.

Don’t eat at your desk. Walk away, breathe then eat and chew.

Try the following: Chia Seeds, Hemp seeds and Flax seeds.

Never ever drink Diet drinks, ever.

Your Immune System

Autumn is almost over. We seen beautiful coloured leaves, lots of rain and temperatures have dropped. Now we have to look after and focus on our immune system more then ever. Shiatsu therapy helps strengthen the immune system and its ability to fight back pathogen. It enables a weak immune system to be strengthened and an overactive one to be calmed.

The immune system works extraordinarily to protect us against illness caused by bacteria, viruses and any other organism known to spread infection. When we are confronted with a new pathogen our body relies on its protective mechanism as the skin, mucus and microbiome to defend these unruly intruders.

The first defence of the body is the skin. Recent research found that skin is not only a barrier against pathogens but a living system, containing many different cells that work together synergistically. Unfortunately, the rate at which these cells renew themselves and thus their potential to fight pathogens reduces with age. Therefore it is important to give our bodies the nutrients needed to keep our barrier complete and well functional.

Over 70% of our immune cells live in the gut, deciding the fate of germs they encounter. The lymphoid tissue in the gut forms most of our gut immune system. Also we have billions of good bacteria that live and work in our gut. They assist to break down our food and keep us regular but they also have a crucial function in protecting us from hostile pathogens we ingest.

The immune system isn’t a single structure, it’s a system. It depends on interconnectivity; it needs balance and harmony. It isn’t perfect; its strength declines with age. Sometimes it can stall; a pathogen will invade and make you unwell.

To keep your immunity in good condition, you need a 360-degree, holistic attitude, focusing on exercise, diet, sleep, emotional wellbeing, rest and restore and much more. Leading a healthy life will protect your biological defences as strong and robust as they can be.

But further in washing your hands and eating right are yet another mandarin. What else can you do to help your immune system? It turns out that there are plenty of munitions in your armoury.


What does it mean to be touch deprived?

Humans are wired to be touched from the day we are born until the time we die. We all have a need for physical contact. Touch deprivation or skin hunger occurs when a person undergoes little to no touch from another living things.

Is this a real thing?

The condition is more common in countries that are less touchy. Throw a global pandemic into the picture and we are more or less all affected. France is one of the most touchy-feely places in the world, while the United States is one of the least touchy nations. Maybe this is due to a rise in technology use, a worry of touching seen as inappropriate, or plain cultural factors, no one is certain. Studies found that cutting out regular human touch can have some significant and long-lasting effects.

Does it only relate to sensual touch?

Certainly not! Any and all positive touch is regarded to be valuable. Missing out on workplace handshakes, friendly hugs or pats on the back can produce feelings of touch starvation. Naturally it does link to sensual touching too such as holding hands, stroking backs and rubbing foot. Scientists found that nerve endings called C-tactile afferents, live to recognize any formation of gentle touch.

As a matter of fact, according to a 2017 study, the ideal touching speed is between 3 and 5 centimetres per second then the body releases oxytocin the “love hormone”.

Why is touch crucial? 

Skin contact is necessary for our mental, emotional and physical health. When you feel under pressure, the body sets free the stress hormone cortisol. One major effect touch can do is reduce such stress, allowing the immune system to function the way it should. Touch can also reduce the heart rate and blood pressure. It stimulates pressure receptors that carry signals to the vagus nerve. This nerve ties the brain to the rest of the body. It utilizes the signals to slow the speed of the nervous system.                                                                   

In childhood and infancy, touch is crucial for bonding and building good relationships by stimulating passageways for oxytocin, the natural antidepressant serotonin and the joy chemical dopamine. Last but not least it tackles loneliness. Even the tender touch from a complete stranger has shown to lower feelings of social isolation.

How do you know if you are touch deprived?

There is no absolute way to know, but you may feel profoundly lonely or needy of affection.

These signs may be blend with:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low relationship satisfaction
  • Insomnia
  • Avoiding secure attachments

Subconsciously you may do activities to simulate touch, e.g. taking long, hot showers or baths, cuddling up in blankets or stroking a pet.

What if you don’t like being touched? Can you still be touch starved? Some people connect touch with trust. If they don’t trust an individual, they dislike that person to touch them despite the fact that they long for the benefits of a hug or handshake. People disliking touch are often traumatised, have neurodiversity and those who identify as asexual.

Childhood experiences can also play a big factor. In 2012, a study found that people whose parents were regular huggers were more probable to hug people in adulthood. The luck of frequent positive touch as a youngster may affect the development of the vagus nerve and oxytocin system, harming intimacy and social abilities. Although this may not be correct for everyone.

What can you do?

Some ideas to welcome more affection into your life:

  • Try out a shiatsu or massage. Whether you ask a loved one or visit a professional, body therapies are a way to relax and enjoy the comfort of another person’s touch.
  • Spend quality time with animals. Pets are the ideal soothing mechanism and often all too happy to cuddle.
  • Learn to dance. Dances like tango have skin-to-skin contact. It will give you touch and you’ll pick up a new skill.

For the people who are close to you

  • Allow them plenty of positive touch. A range from gentle strokes to full-on cuddling a few times a day.
  • Stay away from associating touch with negativity. Don’t push or pinch or do anything that takes away the positive vibes of physical contact.
  • As often as possible allow your children to be close to you. Let your child sit on your lap or gently massaging your baby may prompt them to give similar later in life.

The bottom line

If you’re feeling you don’t receive enough touch, you haven’t sealed your fate. There are many ways to overcome the condition and encourage positive, affectionate touch in those around you.

Particularly now in our current situation it seems to be a challenge. Use touch whenever appropriate and safe. Make sure other people are pleased before going ahead. Don’t forget the essence of Shiatsu is touch and Shiatsu is the art of touch.

Shiatsu 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’.
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.

Easy Ways to Boost your Immune System

We are going though uncharted waters at the present time. I think that the best we can do is to follow the guidelines of public health messages and on our own we need to strengthen our immune systems. Shiatsu is a great way to support your immunity coupled with the following recommendations.

The importance of washing our hands has been reported from all corners of the world. Use plenty of warm water over your hands whilst rubbing them together. More water than usual is more important than the amount of soap used. If you use gels, look for 60% alcohol, as this will have antibacterial and antivirucidal activity. By the way they don’t work if your hands are greasy or heavily dirty.


Eat a colourful low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet, rich in various coloured vegetables and fruits. This will give you the best option for receiving antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients needed to fight infections. The more and the deeper colours you include, the more nutrients you receive. Eat the vegetables and fruits whole and with the skins as they contain fibre that feeds healthy bugs in your gut, essential to combat infection.

If you get ill, increase intake on vitamin C

It does not prevent infection but once a cold has hit, vitamin C can shorten the duration of symptoms. The immune cells need lots of vitamin C when they are working to fight infection. Take in more vitamin C at that time. A good source of vitamin C is in kiwi, orange, red peppers, spinach, grapefruit, cauliflower and Brussels’ sprouts, or take a good quality supplement.


Good quality sleep is the foundation of your whole immune system. During sleep the hormone melatonin stimulates new immune cells. Not sleeping well compromises our immune system.


Regular exercise is the key for a healthy immune system. Movement is essential for the lymphatic system which counts on movement for stimulation.

Drink plenty of Water

Hydration is really important. Many metabolic functions rely on it. If you get dehydrated, it can change the mucus layer in your respiratory tract and digestive tract that has antibodies traps and stop germs getting into your cells. By the way, coffee and tea are diuretic, they don’t count.

Echinacea, Grapefruit seed extract, Goldenseal, etc…

Natural remedies and herbs have been used throughout history by native people to overcome infections. Recently we see more scientific research and evidence that they work in particular studies.

Vitamin D and Zinc

Not enough vitamin D weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to disease. Called the sunshine vitamin because your body makes all it needs with enough sunlight. Most of us need to supplement particular during the winter months. Fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms are rich in this vitamin.

Zinc is another important mineral we have to get in from our diet. One of its many roles is to fight infection. Food sources include red meat, shellfish, seeds, legumes and dark chocolate.


Your gut bacteria are essential to immunity. They break down your food in the digestive tract and produce post biotics that are beneficial for our immune system. It means eating more fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir, sources of good bacteria. Equally important is eating fibre foods that feed those healthy bugs and help them grow. Eating sourdough is one of the healthiest foods you can take for your microbiome and an excellent source of fermented fibre. Try to find slow-fermented breads from artisan bakers preferably made with more ancient grains such as spelt, or einkorn. Also fruit and vegetables, whole grain and legumes have gut-friendly fibres.


For thousands of years garlic has been valued for its therapeutic power. Those delicious, white bulbs contain allicin a compound well studied for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial result. It is only released when the garlic has been broken and left to sit for a while and eaten uncooked. 


Happy 2020, New Decade, New Year…..

In eastern philosophy winter is the Yin time of the year. Certain animals hibernate and plants withdraw to replenish and regenerate their potential during winter, preparing for growth in spring. It is a time for deep rest and healing.

In the past when humans lived closely to nature they followed this natural rhythm. In modern society most of us miss this chance to replenish our inner reserves. The festive season can be demanding and then in January we’re bombarded with messages to make goals, be more and do more ect. It is no surprise that we can feel we’re running on empty, overwhelmed and depressed.

In traditional Chinese medicine winter is associated with Kidney and Bladder organ and the Water element. The Kidneys hold our reserves of energy and potential, a bit like our internal batteries and need careful nurturing.

Often Kidney imbalance symptoms show up this time of the year – lower back pain, anxiety and fear, fatigue, joint problems, chest congestion, kidney problems, hormonal and reproductive issues and hearing difficulties.

Pay attention to your body, it knows what it needs and will communicate to you through sensations. Tune in to how you feel! Move your body gently in ways that feel supportive. Stretch, move and twist into the back and spine to nourish and activate stagnant energy in the Kidney and Bladder meridian. Meridian stretches; moving meditation, yoga and Chi Kung are beneficial for this.

Dress up warm and go for walks in nature and take in the rays of natural daylight. Select what feels good for your body and soul.

Avoid rushing, get rest, go to bed earlier and get more sleep whenever possible.

The anatomical location of the kidneys is in your lower back, just below the back ribs on the right and left side. Rubbing this area to generate warmth moves stagnant blood and energy. Traditionally kidney warmer was worn to protect the organs. Wearing a vest is great and does the job. Hot water bottle can help to keep the kidneys warm. Ginger Compress is a traditional remedy to harness the warming, energising nature of ginger and nourish the Kidneys.

Eat more warming stews and soups. Use Kidney nourishing root vegetables like carrots, butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potato. Add in some ginger and seaweed for an extra boost. Use dark vegetables and pulses like kidney beans. Nuts, seeds and sea food is also beneficial. Drink warm fluids such as herbal teas and ginger tea.

Sugar in foods and drinks, caffeine and alcohol deplete our vital energy and give rise to fatigue, unstable emotions and weakens our immune system.

It is a good time of the year to receive shiatsu to strengthen and balance your energy. If you experiencing symptoms or need support to see you through the winter as a preventative measure.

Taking care of yourself?

Most of you already know that if you take care of your body – like you would with your car – the healthier you will feel physically and emotionally. So here are some easy key points to help your motor run more smoothly.

Of course, no bias, regular Shiatsu treatment for balance, reduction of stress and relaxation to ensure you continue in good health. After a period of time, as your car requires a regular MOT, you should do the same for your body. See your GP and dentist for a regular health check. Even if you do not have any issues or pain it is best to be preventive and not wait until problems arrive. Take care of your health.

Eat a well balanced nourishing diet. Just as fuel matters for your car, so does the food you put into your body. It is important to eat a good, quality variety of fruit and vegetables and healthy fats, which you can find in nuts, seeds and oils such as flaxseed and virgin coconut oil.

Get moving: Cars that aren’t driven regularly have an increased chance of breaking down. Also, if your body stays sedentary for long periods, it can lose its function and can become creaky, tied up and slow like an unused engine. Make sure you spin the wheels for at least 30-60 minutes a day. Be motivated by the big city – there’s no lack of choices with people walking, running or cycling, use an exercise app and lots of exercise studios on every high street!

Change your car: I am not suggesting changing your body, although it would be a great thought! What I am saying is change your mindset. Change can be simple and occur in many forms: those I’ve suggested already, introduce a supplement to your diet, start a new exercise or sport, listening to inspiring music, or even just take ten minutes out of your day to be still and meditate. 

Don’t start to do everything at once, start small, step by step and over time those small ‘tune-ups’ became your normal, everyday life. Make a small change today that’ll kick-start your machine for the journey to come!

Why should I have Shiatsu?

Shiatsu News

This is one of the frequently asked questions I receive. I have been practising Shiatsu for 16 years and I have observed the impact and change in a person over time.

Shiatsu is a form of massage/bodywork, applied through the clothes and incorporates simple release points, stretching techniques and holding positions. Its essence is simple and effective and oftentimes promotes self-realisation and wellness. Shiatsu gives an awareness of body posture, breathing and exercise. Shiatsu moves the body’s vital and necessary energy (known as Qi or Ki) and is relaxing, yet remarkable in its results. The body starts to re-adjust itself and healing occurs. The receiver in Shiatsu is assisted by me to become more sensitive to one’s own body and mind as a complete whole, on both conscious and subconscious levels. One notices areas of tension or fragility on a physical or emotional basis and through this process ease and release takes place.

In Shiatsu we focus on the whole person, rather than conditions. Most people, healthy or ill, and of all ages from babies to the elderly can benefit from it. Shiatsu helps to enhance health and zest and clients use it as a preventative health care programme, self care or part of stress management. Further, Shiatsu is brilliant if you are feeling unwell without a known medical condition. Nevertheless, if you do have an illness or injury which you may or may not need orthodox medical treatment, Shiatsu can still support you. It may well be relaxation or stress reduction, or creating a space where you are being listened to.
People come to Shiatsu for all kinds of reasons. Some come with specific conditions varying from the acute to chronic from physical to the more emotional. They might present structural problems such as stiff necks, bad backs or poor posture, as well as menstrual problems, digestive difficulties, headaches and migraines or psychological issues such as stress and depression. Often I see people during major changes in their lives, such as, loss of someone, a move, divorce, trauma, puberty, infertility, pregnancy and menopause.
Shiatsu is complementary health care and seen as an addition to western medicine. Shiatsu works with the energy of the body: so there are limitations. This is also the reason why it is “safe”.

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See you soon.

Best wishes,


Headache & Migraine

Welcome to the latest Shiatsu London Newsletter. It is a time where Zephyrus has blown with the renewal of spring time. We’ve had a cold spell, though and we are all looking forward to warmer weather.

Almost all of us endure headaches at some time. It is a common symptom associated with many illnesses, for example, flu, the common cold, toothache, allergies, hay fever, sinus problem, nose and eye diseases and menstrual irregularities. It comes without specific causes, as well. Headaches alter the circulation of blood in the head due to physical, emotional and dietary causes. About 90% of headaches are caused by tension. A migraine is an extreme, throbbing pain that usually begins on one side of the head but may strike the whole head. The pain can last for hours or days and often doesn’t respond to common painkillers such as aspirin.

From a Shiatsu point of view (which is based on Oriental medicine), digestive imbalances are the cause of headaches and imbalances in the liver and gall bladder channels are the source of migraines. The role of Shiatsu therapy for these conditions is to disperse stagnant Ki (i.e. blocked energy) in the neck and head, particularly on the gall bladder channel to the side of the head, which would be the initial treatment to ease symptoms. Specifically, concentrating on a point at the back of the skull (Gall Bladder 20) would have a strong movement in clearing stagnant Ki from the head.

Gentle fingertip pressure applied to the space between the eyebrows (Yin Tan point) also transfers stagnant Ki and will raise a cloudy mind accompanying a headache.

Overall if headaches are very severe I would recommend to see your GP.

Shiatsu clients can expect to receive relief from headaches and migraines. Shiatsu given at a deeper rooted level provides long term improvements.

What you can do:

Identify and eliminate your headache or migraine triggers.

Try relaxation training to cope with stress.

Make sure you are well hydrated.

Practice deep breathing, which increases oxygen supply to the brain.

Eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Did you know?

Treating headaches with painkillers can, in time, interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight pain.

Wishing you good health this spring!

Doris                      mob: 07941 171725