Shiatsu has been transformational for many of my clients who have been undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy for cancer. And I feel very lucky to have the honour of working with people at this difficult time in their lives.

Here is the story of “Freya”

Freya started coming for Shiatsu in February last year. Originally she was seeking support for herself within her stressful life which was manifesting as an aching neck and shoulders. She booked a series of six weekly sessions to address this.

As it happens she was spot on seeking support at this time in her life because soon after starting her treatments with me she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Freya decided to continue her weekly Shiatsu treatments as a holistic approach which complemented her medical treatment, which included chemotherapy.

This is her story of her Journey with Shiatsu and Chemotherapy

At the time of diagnosis I felt like I was facing a life and death situation, and my own mortality was staring me in the face. This is such a fearful and vulnerable place to be, and at those times I didn’t know whether I would be ok. Shiatsu gave me the reassurance that I needed to take each step as it comes.

My main experience of chemotherapy was a sense of being blasted from the inside out; feeling my insides burnt, and a scattering of my sense of self, so that although I could feel all the parts of myself I was not really able to contact them, or the contact felt tenuous. This led to confusion and a sense of loss of control and the shock and the trauma at times felt overwhelming.

One of the main things that having regular Shiatsu treatments has given me is a sense of you being the “sheepdog” to my spiritual, emotional, mental and physical self – guiding the flock of my scattered parts back home in a beautiful, and reassuring way. This relieved my panic and enabled my body to feel safe and that felt very healing to me. So, throughout the awful trauma and shock of chemo I have kept myself ultimately feeling whole.

My core felt so supported, and strengthened by the Shiatsu. My energy has been very low throughout the treatment, but it’s hard to recognise that for myself, it was very useful to hear that reflected for me so that I could be more mindful of how I used my energy, and I became more in touch with what I needed.

The points on my wrist that you showed me before I started the chemo gave me immediate relief from the constant underlying nausea which followed each chemotherapy treatment.

Shiatsu was the key to having a sense of wholeness and support and trust throughout my treatment. I wouldn’t like to imagine how it would have been without access to a holistic program. My heart goes out to people who can’t access that, or just don’t know about the benefits.

Not at any one time has it felt like my process was solely in your hands. The process has been my process, but you have been there as a guide and support. I have known throughout That it’s up to me to take the support you have given me.

Kirsty’s reflections

Freya knew that a lot of what happens in our sessions is about a relationship between us rather than me “doing” something “to” her. She found that through my guidance she could stay mindful of her body experience during her Shiatsu treatments, this meant she experienced the treatment at a deeper level. Because of this experience she could access the feeling of wellbeing she had during her treatments with me at other times, and she used this as a resource immediately following her chemotherapy treatment, reminding her body of the safety and reassurance she had felt.

Part of Freya’s success with Shiatsu has been down to her willingness to begin to take responsibility for her own health. In some ways, I think this can be easier in a time of crisis, like a cancer diagnosis because suddenly your health is highlighted in a way that makes you want to do something about it. I’m sure you can think of areas of your life where you need support to take responsibility for your own health, but unless we have a shocking diagnosis it is often easier to bumble along in the way we always have.