The Essence of Shiatsu and my Shiatsu Journey

Written by Rosewell Centre
20 July 2022
Shiatsu at the Rosewell Centre in Grantham

The Essence of Shiatsu and my Shiatsu Journey

by Sue Hix

Sue Hix, Shiatsu Practitioner and Director of the Rosewell Centre in Grantham, South Lincolnshire shares her background in Shiatsu and the journey Shiatsu has taken her on.

How did your Shiatsu Journey Start?

I have been practising Shiatsu since 1983 and my shiatsu knowledge is now, perhaps understandably after so many years(!), extensive on both theoretical and practical levels. My first shiatsu experiences were in the North East of England with Paul Lambeth, who still practices as a macrobiotic counsellor and shiatsu practitioner today. Shiatsu training led me to Switzerland where I worked with Saul Goodman from the USA and Ray Ridolfi from London. The Switzerland school is famous as a centre of macrobiotic learning, which fueled my particular interest in the wider aspects of health and wellbeing and my holistic belief to recommending an approach on individuals’ needs.

How has your Shiatsu journey developed?

In the late 1990s I began equine shiatsu, working with Pamela Hannay, and have successfully worked with horses, as well as dogs, using shiatsu massage. I developed a teaching manual for equines (14 Classical Meridians for Equine Energy) which is still in print and available from my online shop.

Since then, there have been many influences on my work. More recently I worked closely with Michael Cullingworth who trained directly with Ryokyu Endo of Tao Shiatsu. Alongside my shiatsu journey, I have studied, practiced and taught yoga, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, macrobiotic nutrition and associated pathways for over 25 years. I would say that my shiatsu journey has developed in teaching the practical side of energy perception and I like to focus on bringing inspiration, healing and connection to my community.

In practical terms, I use a broad range of techniques, incorporating many varied styles which I adapt to each clients’ current needs. I bring my knowledge of shiatsu and classical points into my other practices and classes, for example, I have recently found a focus on knee points which helps many people I see, or on the points benefitting a particular issue, such as arthritis. In essence, I aim to offer a holistic approach based on an individual’s current needs, drawn from my whole life knowledge and experience.

Describe the essence of Shiatsu in your own words

Shiatsu (Shi A Tsu) comes from traditional Japanese culture which developed from a perception of vibration as energy. In their culture all manifestation first exists as vibration. Vibration becomes sound and then manifests within various energetic and physical dimensions.

On the most dense level shi means thumb and tsu means pressure. On energetic levels Shi also means fire, plasma, heart, astral and consciousness.

In human development when the thumb appeared it made our hand into a basic tool alongside the beginning of an erect spine which activated consciousness due to a higher frequency moving through the spine. Man also became sentient or emotional being – the astral part of our connection to spirit. The heart is a condensation of fire in the body. Plasma is a manifestation of fire at the cellular level and contains the quality of the energy body (bio-plasm). All these appearances and connections are from the vibration of shi, stepping down from the One Infinite into different planes of reality.

Tsu means pressure but also the cycling of electromagnetic energy which flows into channels and forms the meridian system of the body. This energy is found throughout nature – in the earth herself, through our bodies and those of all other life on the planet. Different degrees of pressure contain life force or Ki which gives the thumb-manifested-hand the possibility to become a multitude of organic and inorganic things.

All of this was apparent to the Eastern people who named the practice of shiatsu according to its deep nature of connection from vibration to sound to words.

The two parts of the word are joined by “A” or “ah” which just like our light bulb moments of inspiration describes the uniqueness in which vibration unfolds in the moment.

These deep roots of association through words and language are lost in the modern evaluation and analysis of science. Traditionally students trained in an mindful surrender to the process. Often, training took the student into areas which would challenge growth of character, insights into life force and awareness of life cycles. A traditional teacher was actually a catalyst honouring the students’ request to become a practitioner. Contrast modern training methods which demand the completion of aims and objectives from a fixed list of criteria.

The craft of the healer is a journey into the depths of one’s own awareness and truth and this is something common across all of my work today.

What other holistic or wellness practices do you think complement Shiatsu, and do you offer these yourself?

In 1996, I founded the Rosewell Centre in Grantham, South Lincolnshire as a place to celebrate health and wellbeing from a holistic perspective. The centre offers a host of teaching, healing and health services, including shiatsu, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, aromatherapy, wellbeing counselling and coaching, Pilates and yoga, as well as wellbeing retreats and healthy food, including macrobiotic, workshops. The Rosewell Centre brings together a team of dedicated people, all with the aim of promoting health, wellbeing and personal development.

What are you focusing on now?

Nowadays I focus on bringing inspiration, healing and connection to my community and I am interested in solutions to wellbeing that are low cost and user friendly and which can be shared widely to democratise transcendence into new consciousness. Key elements of focus for me are regulating respiration to shift physical and psychological states, teaching how the nervous system regulates the body, presenting learning about hormone drivers and the effect of foods or substances which change our feelings, bringing transformative music into the arena to soothe the soul and opens us to the capacity for awe.

I no longer teach shiatsu but assist the community with my book; Fourteen Classical Meridian Charts for Shiatsu, Energy Healing & Martial Arts, which is also available from my online shop. However, I still enjoy practicing shiatsu massage and offer sessions from the Rosewell Centre in south Lincolnshire.

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