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Part 3: Treatment Of Psychological Problems With Shiatsu

Updated: Apr 28

Originally published in December 19, 2021.

Energetic patterns always are plain and simple.

There is one thing all energetic patterns have in common: in principle, increased tension, as well as a lack of tension principally, do not represent a failure of the system; they rather demonstrate that the system is working very well. Energetic patterns have a task to fulfill, and usually, they do that quite effectively. Basically, their job is to prevent something from happening, something, which the human subconscious believes to be a threat to their balance if it were allowed to happen.

Almost all kinds of pain (except pain occurring with acute injuries or in the acute healing phase of an injury, as well as pain due to acute inflammation, or some other acute illness), regardless of whether they manifest physically or emotio­nally, is an expression of wanting to avoid something.

Please note: this is true for any pain, both physical and emotional. As the forces that have to be kept under control have a tendency to be quite vivid and strong, the blockages that are set up against them have to be equally strong. Their energetic and physical manifestations are often easily perceptible for the trained ‘eye’ and the Shiatsu therapist can work with them directly.

It actually does not make any difference whether the energetic blockage manifests primarily in the physical body or in the emotional experience of a person. In both cases, Shiatsu can work effectively with the underlying energetic pattern and their physical expression, and the changes that occur can be perceived by the practitioner as well as by the client.

When working with areas of high tension (Jitsu) or areas of the opposite quality (a lack of tension, Kyo) directly, we can either connect the opposites with each other or connect either of them with other conspicuous areas located further away, allowing them to communicate with each other more freely. The evolving change can be perceived right away: the extreme opposites – tension and a lack of tone – fade, uncompromising hardness softens, emptiness begins to fill. Such changes usually take place first on the energetic level before they also manifest in a physical way. By the same token, the Inner Awareness will register the energetic reaction before the physical one.

When the extreme opposites become softer, the affected areas become less separated from each other can communicate in a better way. As emotional and physical suffering is an expression of avoidance, limitation, and restricted communi­cation the person, at this moment, is given the freedom to allow connections to be made that may not have been possible before. Consequently, a person may develop new ideas, feel differently in their body or toward their life. A person may gain a better understanding of themselves and this may give them the freedom to do things differently and to pursue new paths in their life.

However, the occurring changes are not only perceived locally (in the problem area itself), rather the total expression and the ‘energetic field’ of the whole person changes – even the atmosphere in the room changes. The change of the general feeling towards life that a person experiences during a Shiatsu treatment also manifests externally and is clearly perceptible from the outside. Perceiving such transformations and developments is of particular impor­tance when working with psychological issues.

I was quite surprised when I discovered that the underlying energetic patterns of emotional and physical pain are always quite simple in their nature. Even with severe suffering and helpless­ness and the most complex problems that seem impossible to resolve, the energetic pattern itself is never com­plicated. It may be complex but it is always simple. This is very re­assuring indeed because it means for us that we do not have to solve any complicated problems; and for the client it means there always is a solution to be found (even in cases when the client doesn’t actually find it). It allows the practitioner a healthy optimism which, as far as we have realised it ourselves, we should not hesitate to pass on to our clients.

Talking to the client can become very important when working in this way - not in the sense of a verbal intervention as in psychotherapy, but as a dialogue which reflects the experience of the client during the treatment and beyond. The practitioner can thus tap into all of their personal and professional experience in order to give the client more space and more freedom to develop the opportunities offered to them during the treatment.

The aim is to offer the person new possi­bilities by improving the communication between areas of the body that were separated before, and to offer more freedom to deal with new solutions to life’s chal­lenges. It is this freedom that is the aim of every holistic therapy. Shiatsu chooses to work with the physical and energetic body in order to support the client’s body and psyche.


This is a transcription from a presentation that Wilfried made during his Global Shiatsu Virtual Gathering on November 13, 2021.

By Wilfried Rappenecker

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