Twenty four years ago I studied Shiatsu in a continuing education class with internationally trained therapist Valerie Wonsower. I remember that we were a rowdy bunch of students (you would think adult students in massage classes would behave better than that, but not even), and Valerie was soft spoken and I remember her being flustered with our rowdiness. It’s been years since I’ve had one of Valerie’s classes, so maybe she has toughened up over the years, but at the time, we were out of control.
Valerie broke down the energy meridians and the technical way to use pressure. Technically we were trained step-by-step how to give a professional Shiatsu massage. We had all the components and the technical know how. We had experienced the method from her during the class, we had experimented with the technique on each other, and we had received–in a very segmented way–the way every class has to be–Shiatsu massage.
Twenty years later I ran into Valerie and scheduled with her for the first time ever, a one hour Shiatsu massage.
I was shocked at the difference between my segmented school experience and the reality of a well orchestrated, integrated composition her Shiatsu session gave me. They were two completely different experiences. I can’t adequately describe the cohesion of that session. It was rhythmic, hypnotic, fluid, solid, precise, and beautiful. These are things you can’t pick up from a class that offers segments of training. For instance, “now we are going to learn the Shiatsu pressure points of the forearm.”
I know that if I had gone into her Shiatsu class 24 years ago knowing what a complete Shiatsu massage experience could be like I would have come out with a totally different understanding and goal for myself as a therapist.
It is a completely different experience to understand the components of a modality than it is to have a fully integrated, uninterrupted session of bodywork in that modality.
I would encourage you to always experience the bodywork in totality before you ever take the class–regardless of the modality. It will change your experience for the better.
If you are attending the Thai Massage class offered at Blue Cliff on January 27 and 28 I have some availability on some Fridays and Sundays if you would like to book a session of Thai Massage. I am also offering a $20 discount for a Thai massage session to therapists who are already registered for the January class.
Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener. She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.