by Laurie Van Valkenburgh
When people hear the word “massage”, they often think of what most people associate with Swedish, deep muscle or other specialties that focus on the muscles. Although those forms of massage offer a number of benefits stemming from relaxation and release of muscle tension, shin tai shiatsu is unique in that it incorporates a wide range of techniques and skills from Chinese Medicine that work together to restore the life force, or chi, to the body.
Shin tai shiatsu practitioners receive years of training and are required to maintain continuing education within the field to enhance their specialty and continue to evolve their skill set. Similar to acupuncture, shin tai shiatsu incorporates the benefits of meridian opening with use of acupressure, with and without joint rotation. Meridian opening assists in the flow of life within the body. The practice involves central channel (along the spine) opening, as well as stretches, pulls and rotations. Structural (aligning the spine) work can assist in healing trauma, arthritis, degeneration and overuse.
Additionally, shin tai brings the value of myofascial release to the client, providing enhanced fascial relaxation, reduced compression and soft tissue health. Incorporating cranial-sacral work with shin tai enhances the experience and can help with chronic headaches, migraines and memory issues, as well as lower back pain, balance issues and dizziness.
Shin tai shiatsu is performed fully clothed on a gravity-reducing cushion, providing the client optimal comfort. A shin tai practitioner is well trained to identify areas of focus—both the good and the problematic areas—to open space within both to restore balance. As a result, each session can be uniquely different. Shin tai practitioners are trained to identify trauma and emotional blockages within the body and bring healing to a level beyond just the body, encompassing emotional and spiritual health. Bringing back the life force allows the client to have full access to their unique source within.
Laurie Van Valkenburgh is a licensed massage therapist, certified bodywork therapist and founder of Shiatsu Shin Tai Bodywork Therapies, in New Hope. She also provides shiatsu shin tai services every Wednesday at Medicine in Balance, 940 Town Center Dr., Ste. F-9, in Langhorne. For more information, call 267-566-6056 or visit ShiatsuBodyTherapies.com. October 2016.