How I benefit from Shiatsu – A Practitioner’s viewpoint, Part 1

How I benefit from Shiatsu – A Practitioner’s viewpoint, Part 1

An interview with a Shiatsu Practitioner, Part 1

We sit down with Anna Rutkowska, a Shiatsu Practitioner from Galway to learn more about why she chose Shiatsu, and the benefits it gives her as a client, as well as a Practitioner.  You can read more about Anna or book her services HERE.

What attracted you to Shiatsu initially?

My own health issues. Complementary medicine helped me get back my balance during and after the recovery.

I loved how gentle yet powerful Shiatsu is. I signed for a foundation course and after the weekend I loved it even more to the point I’ve decided to become a practitioner.

What is the main benefit of a Shiatsu treatment, in your opinion?

Reconnection with self. It’s easy to lose the connection between the body and mind, and we are both- physical and spiritual beings, we need that connection. 

Shiatsu gives this space to process what’s going on in our lives and just let go of what doesn’t suit us. It helps us understand feelings and the relationship between our emotions and how the physical body responds.

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

All the holistic therapies can be useful to meet the wide spectrum of our client’s needs. I am also a Health and Wellness coach and holistic facialist.

My field of interest is Women’s Health, and because of that I chose to add natural skincare to my offer.

H&W coaching is very useful if the client feels stuck and has difficulty making long lasting lifestyle changes. Combined with Shiatsu they make a perfect combination.

Has becoming a Shiatsu practitioner helped you (mentally/physically or both) in your daily life?  Describe how Shiatsu has been of benefit to your wellbeing.

Definitely yes! I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I can spot the early symptoms of imbalance and prevent it from getting serious.

Before I became a shiatsu practitioner I didn’t know my limits. Now I know when my body and mind are trying to tell me to slow down, take care of myself, and I am listening to them 😉

How do YOU as a practitioner feel when receiving a Shiatsu treatment?

Deeply relaxed, reconnected and very calm. There is no tension, no worries. I feel Zen.



There are many benefits from becoming a Shiatsu Practitioner, both as a practitioner and as a client of Shiatsu.

If you are interested in becoming a Shiatsu practitioner, or if you are already, why not join the Shiatsu Society of Ireland to receive regular newsletters and update, tips from other Shiatsu Practitioners, and join us for regular meet ups and online talks to benefit your practice.



Click on the link below to find a Shiatsu Practitioner in your area

Subscribe to the Shiatsu Society Ireland Newsletter


Working in partnership
with Tsubook,
the new Shiatsu App
A Shiatsu Practitioner’s experience of Shiatsu in the workplace since Covid 19 began

A Shiatsu Practitioner’s experience of Shiatsu in the workplace since Covid 19 began

A Shiatsu Practitioner’s experience of Shiatsu in the workplace since Covid 19 began

– by Patricia O’Hanlon, Shiatsu Practitioner

“The most common health challenges that I come across while working with individuals or groups are anxiety and stress. The anxiety is mainly related to the uncertainty about how the future will unfold since the pandemic began. How clients react to their anxiety can either increase it or decrease it. Some find themselves straying away from their usual healthy foods while others are drinking more alcohol as a way to cope with the extra stress.

How Shiatsu can help anxiety

For everyday anxiety, I find that gentle Shiatsu work on the head, along the Governing Vessel clears and relaxes the mind. We then do some focused breathing techniques and some movement exercises which can be used between sessions or classes. I also have a ‘to-do’ list for the month. There is a specific task for each day of the month and these repeat every month.

I have found that the stress that presents most often with my clients is with relationships. During Covid lockdowns, work, home and childcare arrangements have been disrupted and it can be very difficult to retain harmony or optimism within the family.

Where possible, individual Shiatsu bodywork treatments take the pressure off clients and relieves this built-up anxiety. Some clients are not open to bodywork, but love energising and relaxation exercises as well as guided visualisation and meditations.

In a group setting, it is possible to demonstrate how stress tightens the body and the joints, and I always like to include five element information, stretches, foods etc. I have a resource table with appropriate books and objects related to the topic of the day and participants love to browse and ask questions.

As Shiatsu practitioners, we have been forced to change our practices due to Covid, and many of these changes have been positive.”

About the Author


Patricia O’Hanlon is a qualified practitioner of Shiatsu, Rejuvenating Face & Head Massage and Health & Life Coaching.

She trained as a practitioner and teacher of Metamorphic Technique with Gaston Saint Pierre, the founder of the technique, and is an IIHS qualified Instructor of The Vimala Alphabet (International Institute of handwriting Studies).

Contact Patricia

Mobile: 087 632 4154     Email:


Click on the link below to find a Shiatsu Practitioner in your area

Subscribe to the Shiatsu Society Ireland Newsletter


Working in partnership
with Tsubook,
the new Shiatsu App
SELF-SHIATSU: GB-21 (Jianjing), Shoulder Well Point

SELF-SHIATSU: GB-21 (Jianjing), Shoulder Well Point

The Shoulder Well Point

What’s it good for?

This pressure point is great for releasing stress and tension held in the upper body, and, can help alleviate anger, migraines, and high blood pressure.

NOTE: This point can also induce labour, so do not use this point if you’re pregnant!


How to Find this Point:

The shoulder well point is in your shoulder muscle. To find it, pinch your shoulder muscle with your middle finger and thumb.


How to use this point:

  • Find the point on your shoulder muscle.
  • Pinch the muscle with your thumb and middle finger.
  • Apply gentle, firm pressure with your index finger and massage the point for four to five seconds.
  • Release the pinch as you massage the point.
  • As you press on this point, be sure you maintain steady breaths into your abdomen to help with relieving stress, muscle tension and headaches.


Click on the link below to find a Shiatsu Practitioner in your area

Subscribe to the Shiatsu Society Ireland Newsletter


Working in partnership
with Tsubook,
the new Shiatsu App
SELF-SHIATSU: LV-3, (Tai Chong) Great Surge Point

SELF-SHIATSU: LV-3, (Tai Chong) Great Surge Point

Great Surge (Liver 3)

Another great self-shiatsu point that you can practice yourself.

The Great Surge pressure point is on your foot, about two or three finger widths below the intersection of your big toe and second toe. The point lies in the hollow just above the bone.

What it’s good for?

This pressure point may help to reduce anxiety and stress. You can also use it for pain, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.

To use this point:

      • Find the point by moving your finger down straight down from between your first two toes.
      • Apply firm, deep pressure to the point.
      • Massage for four to five seconds.




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Round the world with Shiatsu by Frances Hassett

Frances Hassett details her Shiatsu journey along with other practices from training onwards.  You can visit Frances’ website to read more about the therapies she offers.

Round the world with Shiatsu

Learning Shiatsu has been an exciting journey for me that started in France.  I embarked on my training in 2007 to qualify in 2011. My examination day arrived, and I remember feeling so stressed.  I had to go to Paris to do my theoretical, practical and oral exams and despite having a sleepless night and being virtually speechless the next day, I passed.

My experience with shiatsu began in St Ives, Cambridgeshire c. 2000. I was a rookie tai chi instructor and one of my students was a burley retired detective from the Cambridgeshire constabulary. He was extoling the virtues of shiatsu having just qualified as a practitioner. He was so enthusiastic, and he gave me a blow-by-blow account of what to expect from a treatment and how it worked. Around that time a horrific murder had been committed. Two small children from the Soham primary school had been abducted by the caretaker of the school. The crime was so emotionally draining that the constabulary had employed therapeutic councillors as well as my detective friend to provide shiatsu to work alongside the officers. He was telling me how he worked to overcome the trauma being experienced by the team of detectives running the case, and just using his thumbs! Not long after, I moved to France in 2003, and for a good few years I forgot about shiatsu until one Saturday morning, having coffee in Sanmatan market, and reading our local paper, La Depeche, there was an advert for a certificated course in shiatsu offered by the French Federation of classic shiatsu about to start in Toulouse, my interest was at once re-kindled and I enrolled, I remember feeling thrilled. Clearly, I was meant to be doing shiatsu.

By the time I qualified I had accomplished training in 4 shiatsu schools, which also included studying at the Tokyo therapeutic school. I began learning the Tokada school, which is a very gentle form of shiatsu and had been brought to France by Isabella Laading an experienced practitioner and author. The Tokado style was very simple, flowing and gentle, the therapeutic touch seemingly imperceptible, but profoundly effective. This was good practice as you had to really connect with your client energetically and we devoted much time in meditation and practicing Qi Gong.

Later, I went on to join Daniel Menini also in Toulouse who was one of the gentlest and most committed teachers I think I’ve ever met and so supportive of his students and a devoted exponent of shiatsu. I was with him for three years. The style was Namikoshi and totally different from Tokado. Namikoshi relied on strict adherence to protocols, in other words, our proximity to the client, the position of the thumb and hands and how we moved around the body. The protocols determined the exact dosage of touch, so you had to always pay strict attention to your position. The location of the hands was of paramount importance to ensure the quality of touch and without harming the metacarpals in our hands through incorrectly applied pressure. They also ensured that we maintained our personal somatic energy levels. We always had to have our hara and heart facing our clients to make and keep strong the energetic connection with our client’s own energetic pathways and fields. For some, the Namikoshi style appeared ‘brutal’ particularly for anyone spectating. I recall one examiner watching me in Paris who said my therapeutic touch was too strong. However, the receiver said it was perfect and not overly intense. I remember feeling she had problems in her spine, the lower back. At the end she told me she had badly miscarried her first infant and this had led to spinal complications. The brief session with me, she told me, had liberated that blocked energy and she felt freer. She was also crying as she said I had released emotions that had lain dormant since the incident. It was lovely to receive a heartfelt hug from my examiner. I celebrated afterwards in a Parisian café before catching the TGV back to Toulouse and a long grateful sleep on the train.

During 2010 I returned to the UK for a brief sojourn and undertook a shiatsu course there. The style was essentially Masunaga but had been modified as the teacher wanted to develop her own school by introducing yoga asanas into her shiatsu style. It was an interesting experiment. I continued to learn Masunaga with my Tai Chi teacher in Toulouse Regine Gastou and again this was a completely different school to what I had learnt before.

In doing Tai Chi, which I had practiced since 1998, I had been taught to follow the ‘master’. I was a student of Master Tung studying with Anya Meot in France and went to courses in various other places such as Sicilia and Spain. My studies took me to exotic locations, practicing on beaches with the Mediterranean lapping at our feet. I was assiduous in this belief of maintaining the purity of the lineage. There were good reasons why you keep the tradition alive, which had been handed down for thousands of years and my philosophy extended to learning and practicing Shiatsu, as well as Yoga and other healing arts; for example, Do In and Qi Gong.

In 2013 I was part of a French group that went to Japan to attend the Tokyo therapeutic school to learn Kuretake Shiatsu with Masanori Okomoto, as well as An-ma massage, and Japanese acupuncture. Since that time, I have stayed faithful to this style, and I have attended many courses in France and with Master Okomoto to maintain my skill levels and to learn different protocols for treating different aspects of health. I cannot say that Kuretake is particularly different from other forms of Shiatsu, but it has its own style and philosophy and follows an ancestry through Masanori Okomoto who I was privileged to work with. Daniel retired from Toulouse University where he taught Japanese and joined his Japanese family full time in Tokyo. He was a sad loss to us in France but gratefully he kept returning for the purpose of keeping Kuretake Shiatsu alive where it now has a great following and many different training centres. I hope to return soon to do some more courses.

(Image: Masoni Okamoto (with a friend) teaching at a Shiatsu course in Bretagne, France, 2012)

In working across different countries, France, Japan, the UK, and now Ireland, and learning different styles of Shiatsu I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to my practice. The last two years have been frustrating for me as it has not been possible to practice Shiatsu. Studying and working in France is a very different experience from Ireland and it’s great to see the same commitment to maintaining good standards of practice and excellence with the enthusiasm promulgated by the Irish Shiatsu Association’s teachers. It is a great shame that the western medical profession won’t recognise the health benefits of Shiatsu and I think if it did there would be fewer patients clogging up the hospitals. In Tokyo, for example you will see Shiatsu cabinets along the main thoroughfares where in Ireland you see pharmacists. In Japan people will visit a shiatsu practitioner to stay well. As Masunaga states, when symptoms take hold of a body it is almost too late to overcome the pathology. We have along way to go in the west before we wholeheartedly practice preventative medicine.


Healing through the Mind-Body Continuum

Nenagh Tipperary

087 339 8377

SELF-SHIATSU: LI-4 (Hegu) ‘Joining Valley’

SELF-SHIATSU: LI-4 (Hegu) ‘Joining Valley’

SELF-SHIATSU: LI-4 (Hegu) ‘Joining Valley’

This point is located between the base of your thumb and index finger (see diagram). This point is good for almost any kind of pain or issues around the head and face area, such as headache, migraines, sinus pain, toothache, bell’s palsy, sore throat, etc.


Since Hegu connects to our face, besides for pain relief, it is also a very good cosmetic and beauty point! Massaging it 30 to 50 times each day on both hands can help improve skin allergies, dark circles, and other facial skin problems.

Hegu Point is also a first-aid point for awakening the mind and brain. It can be pressed when dizziness, vertigo, syncope, or seizures occur and you need to wake up. So if there is an emergency, you can apply strong pressure on this point for your friend or family member while waiting for the EMT to show up.

Important note: This point is a very powerful energy moving point, therefore, it should be used carefully when used for pregnant women. It is always better to check with a licensed practitioner if you are pregnant before doing any kind of self-acupressure.


1. Place your thumb in the space between the base of your other thumb and index finger (see illustration).

2. Press down on this point for up to 5 minutes. Move your thumb in a circle while applying pressure. Be firm, but don’t press so hard that it hurts!

3. Repeat the process on your other hand.

You can do acupressure several times a day, or as often as need for your symptoms to go away.


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