Just A Little Bit More About Me ...
Well, I am honoured and a little bit chuffed that you want to find out more about me … shucks!
As the therapist (in my most humble of opinions) is just as important as the modality of therapy being undertaking, here is a little bit about me … hopefully without sounding too much like a personal ad!
So, who am I, why do I do what I do, and how did I get here?
Professionally, since the heady days of the '80's, I’ve had several incarnations including P.A., office manager, G.M., and then, after going back to school in the early '00's, a geo-environmental/geotechnical engineer working in civil engineering.
So, what on earth made me go back into training, yet again?
To be honest, I was finding the juxtapose between my personal ethics and, what I considered to be, quite a destructive line of work, increasingly untenable. I remember supervising a site strip-back, (which is where the topsoil is stripped off ready for commencement of works), I was sat in my van, eating my sandwich, as supervisors do, watching the earthmovers scraping back the vegetation and just as the blade of one of the earthmovers was about to make contact with the ground two voles broke cover and made a run for it, and the fear on their faces broke my heart … obviously not the best job in the world for me!
As an aside, I also didn’t fancy standing in wet, cold, fields in the middle of winter up to my knees in mud in my 50’s. I’ve already done too much of that to last me through this and my next life! I’m not a huge fan of the cold at the best of times.
And also, I wanted to do something that gave rather than took, something that benefitted and helped others … preferably in the warm.
I have, for as long as I can remember, known that there is more to life than the daily grind that we all seem to partake in, and after more than 25 years of hands-on experience I have drawn many conclusions; some have been rubbish but, two core beliefs I hold are:
- that every single one of us has an innate capacity to self-heal, however, there are times when, for whatever reason, a helping hand is beneficial, and
- that we are all capable of helping in the healing process of others. Yes, there are individuals who are naturally more aware or sensitive, or understand the how, but we can all develop this gift.
Although I have been consciously aware of the energetic flows of others from an early age, because of a lack of self-belief or confidence, the need for validation was always present, and it has taken me on quite a journey. This started with a chance meeting with a couple of spiritual healers in the late ‘80’s, who introduced me to the idea of working with the body’s natural energies with intent to benefit a recipient.
In the early ‘90’s I was introduced to Taichi, a beautiful martial art, and therefore the concept of Qi. Over the years, I continued an on/off relationship with my personal development (life has a habit of happening and getting in the way), practising yoga, and I was reiki attuned (yes, I jumped on that bandwagon too).
However, I needed something more, something more professional, with an in-depth theory and proven results over a period of time, something that would “happy” the science mindset aspect of my being, this is how I came to shiatsu and the study of TCM. The more I learn (it never stops), the more I’m astounded by TCM, and the question most often raised in my mind is “how did they know?”. It works on so many levels; from physiotherapy and skeletal alignment, to cognitive functionality and emotional restitution, it is so beautiful in its simplicity, but it has a wealth of knowledge and centuries of experience to back it up.
In 2012, I started my studies of shiatsu and TCM theory, and I qualified in 2015. I have been a member of the Shiatsu Society, which is the leading governing body for shiatsu in the UK, with MRSS status, however I have suspended my membership temporarily whilst they sort themselves out (it’s quite expensive). I spent two years training with the British School of Shiatsu-Do in London and my final year with the European School of Shiatsu, and, in hindsight, I’m so grateful for this as it has given me a unique and valuable perspective as the two schools teach different forms. I was also told quite categorically that I would probably fail and that it would be too difficult … fortunately I’m also prone to bouts of stubbornness.
I have also studied NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), Chinese nutritional therapy, sotai, shin tai, mindfulness meditation techniques, and I have a degree in chemistry and geology. For me, learning is a joyful life-long journey and yes, I’m one of those who has about 4 books on the go and never gets the time to read any of them!
My next learning adventure is body psychotherapy with the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, I am so excited about this, it will really take my practise to an whole new level, which can only be of benefit to those who choose to work with me as well as my own personal development.
My Training So Far
Shiatsu is one of only a handful of truly holistic therapies, which I have spent years studying, and includes not just TCM and the practical aspect of shiatsu but also a general, but full (not just skeletal & musculature) “Western” anatomy & physiology training, as well as pathology due to the diagnostic element within TCM. You can therefore be assured that you are safe in my practise regardless of your circumstances.
I trained with the British School of Shiatsu for the first two years with their emphasis being on Zen shiatsu, as developed by Shizuto Masunaga with the “Amoeba” model and meridian extensions. For my last year, I transferred to the European School of Shiatsu, with their emphasis being on the more traditional (TCM) 6-Divisions and Zang-fu model. Both schools teach the 5-Element model within TCM.
Whilst an active member of the Shiatsu Society and I have “MRSS” status (a professional member of the register of the Shiatsu Society). Unlike a lot of “soft” therapies, qualification as a shiatsu practitioner only means that my experience and understanding of my modality is deemed to be of an acceptable standard to be able to work with the public, and to get to this point requires a minimum of 3 years training. My MRSS status is updated and issued annually upon review of my CPD (continuous professional training), which means my training never ends .... joy!
Other aspects of my training included cupping & moxibustion and compresses, Chinese dietary therapy, sotai, seiki, and shin tai, Japanese holistic face massage, hi-ki massage, tenugui therapy.