Reflections on Qigong and Shiatsu

September 23, 2022

The Known and Unknown: lambs and more

Last weekend I went to a Taiji Qigong workshop retreat in Oxfordshire.  This was organised by Jamie and Carina Hamilton from East West College; and the main teacher was the famous Peter Deadman - early British expert in Chinese medicine and acupuncture.  Peter has been based in Brighton for a long time, and wrote a seminal book on acupuncture points (which I came across in my shiatsu practice and study).  He has travelled the globe teaching on this subject of Chinese medicine.  I was impressed to discover that he was part of the group setting up the amazing Brighton based Infinity Foods in the 1970s - where good quality organic foods, including really good bread, can be purchased, still today. Peter also was part of setting up Brighton Natural Health Centre, and has become particularly enthusiastic about Qigong, a health practice which may benefit all of us.

One thing that has stuck with me is the idea of connective tissue and fascia, and how they generally seize up as we age - the better we look after these, the better we are likely to be as we live, and as we get older.

During the weekend retreat teaching, Peter Deadman reminded us of how springy lambs are, presumably because their young bodies are in such good nick. As older people, we are likely to be more closed down; doing qigong may help nourish the tissue to function better. Certainly, for me after the weekend, I suspected that my post-wrist (and clavicle) break reduced supination in my right arm was much improved. Another attendee commented that her iphone health app claimed that her walking steadiness (which sounds a bit like 'balance' to me, but now I'm wondering...) was improved post the weekend.  These are both very encouraging.  

For me, I can imagine that with connective tissue in the form of fascia in better shape, many health and wellbeing benefits may follow.  An issue then becomes how to maintain it.  I know that my wrist can open up eg after a shiatsu treatment, but can then quite quickly close down again.  Not only does one need to figure out what to do eg in terms of regular qigong practice, but to find the puff to do it, probably on a daily basis.  Peter recommends about an hour a day as a regular practice.  His website may give some ideas on how to fill this.

It saddens me how unknown these practices are in the conventional sector.  In the various injuries I've sustained in recent years, and during my life, in fact there has been very little knowledge of these amazing techniques which can help bring tissue back to life, and allow us to function more easily and without pain.

So many people look blank when I mention 'shiatsu' the Japanese healing practice which I eventually trained in (in the 90s); and qigong usually elicits much the same blank looks. Amazing practices which are virtually 'unknown' - even though 'tai chi' is now considered 'evidenced' to eg help prevent falls by older people at home. I note these issues and experiences, and support more understanding and health practice to improve our general and individual health and wellbeing.  One of my cherished pieces of feedback after giving a shiatsu to a special resident during my six-year stay with the Findhorn Community was 'The UN should mandate everyone to have a shiatsu a week and then we would have world peace'.

Still quite a lot of work to be done, it seems.

Photo Credit Lambs: Unsplash

Catherine Scanlon

Shiatsu Practitioner

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