In 1996 I experienced a series of tragic deaths of friends and close family members, including the suicide of my sister, over a short period of months. The shock and trauma of this was enormous. While on the outside, I looked like I was coping, on the inside I had closed down and felt disconnected from others around me.
I threw myself into my work as a Youth and Community worker as a way to cope. Eventually, I suffered from anxiety and burn out and admitted I needed help. Two years of counselling followed which helped me express the grief and loss. However, I felt there was a part of my grief that could not be resolved with words.
One night I had a dream that I was in the doctor’s surgery. He had diagnosed me and was writing me a prescription. When I asked what was wrong, he said, “You have a touch deficiency”.
On waking, this made perfect sense. I knew instinctively that my body, as well as my mind, was holding trauma too.
I started to receive shiatsu therapy and began to feel more connected with my body and its messages. I began to feel more confident and at ease with myself and the people around me.
Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person – not just with the physical body, but also with the psychological, emotional aspects of being.
Touch is a form of nutrition which often gets overlooked as we become adult. Lack of touch can result in ill health and a sense of loneliness and isolation. The physical act of safe touch can increase our sense of trust, reduce stress hormones and increase feel-good hormones in the brain so that our body and our environment can feel like a safe and friendly place.
As regular shiatsu treatments helped me heal, I also realised touch therapy was an integral part of the healing and self-care of the clients I worked with, and the co-workers that support them. My career took a change in direction.
I completed a 3 year Shiatsu Practitioner training in 2011 and have been working with people experiencing stress, trauma, social isolation and related health conditions in diverse communities ever since.
The obvious next step was to establish a Social Enterprise. With the help of the Good Ideas Academy, Shiatsu Connects was born and aims to create resilient well-connected individuals and communities.
Shiatsu Connects supports people to feel safe and well in their body and mind. When people feel safe and well in themselves, they feel more connected with the world around them.