A significant portion of our course study is devoted to physically learning the practice of shiatsu and its appropriate application. From the very first days of class, we are on the mat, learning the basics of thumb treatment. In the first terms, a significant amount of time is devoted to learning an anatomical approach to treating the body, as well as learning to find and treat the energetic meridian and points system. We begin to hone our skills by treating each other a great deal in the beginning. The transition to treating the public begins in the first term, however, where on “Family Day” we invite our Friends and Family in for our very first treatment of the public. The transition continues with a Buddy Day, where the First Year students pair up with Second Year students in the Supervised Teaching Clinic and observe as the second year students show them the ropes.Some of the key components of the Shiatsu Practice classes include:
- Taking Shiatsu to the table: when we begin learning shiatsu, we start on the floor. This helps us to learn to move in a more grounded and centered way when we work. Many shiatsu therapists continue to work on the floor for their entire career. We give our students the option of practicing on the table by providing the fundamentals of table treatment, translating our knowledge of working in a grounded way onto the table. This provides our students flexibility in their treatment options, allowing them to effectively treat clients with conditions that prevent them from getting on the floor and to easily combine shiatsu with other modalities more suited to table treatment.
- An in-depth 5-week case study on our classmates occurs in second year to help us experience the challenges and benefits of working with one client on a regular basis. This first case study helps to expand the depth and breadth of our knowledge. It is unique since we are working on our classmates, allowing us to get detailed feedback on our pressure and overall treatment, as well as on the effectiveness of our treatments.
- Stretching for homecare and for treatment: Stretching is incorporated into our program in two main ways. First, we learn how to use stretch to maintain our own health, and then relate this knowledge to our clients as a form of homecare. Secondly, we learn how to use stretch in the context of a treatment. This information is imparted in small amounts for the duration of the program.
- However, we also devote an entire section in second year to each of these topics in order to explore the depth and effectiveness of stretch for our clients.
- Self-care is incorporated throughout the program into shiatsu practice classes and treatment courses and teaches students about the importance of self-maintenance and overall well-being. The tools learned will help therapists-in-training to become better therapists. Students will not only learn ways in which they can help themselves but also ways they can promote good physical and mental health within their clients.
- Shiatsu for pregnancy theory and clinic. This time of life comes with a great deal of change in the body from both a physical and energetic point of view. Shiatsu can be hugely beneficial during this period of time. This section of the course allows the students a greater understanding of the usefulness of shiatsu during all stages of pregnancy and culminates in a special clinic day, where we invite expectant mothers in to put this theory into practice.
- Near the end of the program are two 5-week supervised case studies on the public. This section of the course is an extension of our Shiatsu Treatment Theory course, which we affectionately call “East meets West”. This course comes late in your studies, and helps tie all of your learning together, merging your eastern and western understandings of the body and then bringing this theoretical knowledge into a practical context.
- Meditation and Stretching: Self–practice is vital in order to maintain enthusiasm, strength and vitality for our work, especially when our work is physically demanding and involves caring for others. It soon becomes evident that adopting a lifestyle more suitable to the work is required. This course is designed to help practitioners develop healthy lifestyle awareness and practices and in so doing to be examples of health for their clients, family and friends.
- The bulk of the course will focus on helping practitioners develop their own, simple personal practice. Meditation, stretching, Hara breathing practice, Ki exercises and self-shiatsu will be taught. Discussion will be held around cultivating correct lifestyle including diet, sleep, exercise, reflection and positive ki. This course is open to practitioners of all kinds. Exceptions may be allowed for those who are interested in developing a self-care practice, but are not practitioners.