News from Shiatsu Ireland

by Emma Fitzpatrick  Shiatsu practitioner 

‘Relax. You already have everything that you need. Your nature is already whole. Your nature is already pure. There is nothing to obtain. You just have to give up and let go of what is covering it’. Chamtrul Rinpoche.

There is nothing more exhilarating for me than a dip in the ocean. All year round. The shock of the water hitting my body makes me feel alive, free and embodied.  The water element cools the fire of emotions and I feel more capable of going with the flow. My Kidney qi feels nourished, grasps my Lung qi, my inner space increases and my breathing deepens. Wild swimming and Shiatsu have a lot of similarities: both boost immunity, promote circulation, release endorphins,  ease tensions, assuage anxiety and low mood, produce a profound sense of well-being and settle the mind in the body. They are both particularly effective in supporting an overactive nervous system and  in promoting relaxation.

Wild swimming is one of my self care tools for my life and as a practitioner. To be able to nourish others, it’s so important to nourish oneself.

Modern life can be demanding and fast paced with the emphasis on doing rather than being which can make it hard to relax.

Stress is the root of most emotional and physical ailments these days.  In his book ‘Why Zebras don’t get ulcers’,  Robert Sapolsky describes how both animals and humans exhibit the same fight or flight reaction in response to stress or danger, however, what differentiates us from Zebras and other animals is our ability to activate the stress reponse in reaction to a perceived future danger, resulting in a greater amounts of stress for humans to deal with. In fact, animals, according to Dr Peter Levine, also naturally shake off stress and trauma if they survive a threat to their lives, whereas for humans this excessive stress energy can build up resulting in trauma related conditions in the body and mind. We have become so accustomed to living on high alert and with a nervous system which is switched on a lot of the time. Thus the importance of relaxation. The shock of a cold swim, brings me back into my body and reboots my nervous system as does Shiatsu.

Why is it so hard to be present in the body? A client asked me today. What can prevent us from dropping down deeply into ourselves? An overactive mind propelled by negative patterning and old self beliefs, fear, grief, trauma, pain… As a species, emotional and physical pain are connected to the same part of the brain, the limbic system, which is connected to survival, with pain being equated to a threat to survival. It is therefore normal to resist pain and discomfort, however, relaxation and cultivating trust in ourselves and our bodies is vital for health. Shiatsu can help to return to the safety of the body and touch into a deep place of nourishment.

In my practice (Shiatsu and Ear Acupuncture), many clients present with nervous system challenges – stress, burn out, anxiety and low mood as well as stress based conditions (chronic pain, skin conditions, digestive and hormonal challenges, migraines etc). I work a lot with the Bladder and Kidney for soothing the nervous system,  the Lung and Large Intestine for breathing more deeply, creating space to reside more easily within and let go what is not good for us. The Small Intestine is excellent for any kind of trauma and helping to assimilate our experiences. Stomach is important for grounding and digesting and for feeling more embodied.  The hara diagnosis is a trusted friend, however, adding pieces of other meridians can also be effective.

According to Buddhism, our true nature, our place of resourcement,  is like the sun – always present despite any cloud cover.  We all have the capacity for presence and acceptance, but if there is a a build up of stress, one’s capacity and resilience can be weakened. Shiatsu for me, offers a space to really drop into our essence, beyond the frantic projecting mind, into a space where we can really listen to the wisdom of the body, trust and feel nourished. If you imagine a tree being blown about in the recent storms, Shiatsu can root the client into the earth of themselves, allowing them to bend flexibly but not be uprooted, or allow themselves to return to balance after the storms of life have subsided.  Furthermore, Shiatsu can offer a deep space of transformation and depth so that although we may be blown by the challenges and stresses of life, we can live less from the periphery of ourselves but from an embodied and authentic place where one can feel nourished and go onto flourish in life! And there is always wild swimming as an additional exhilarating experience!

Contact her on Facebook  or read about all about her Shiatsu practice here

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Emma Fitzpatrick


I aim to offer presence to my clients, a space of acceptance and ease so that they feel free to trust, deepen and release and emerge free to express their individual and authentic selves!

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