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  • Dawn Oei

Being a Shiatsu practitioner

Updated: May 18, 2020

Welcome to my blog. I hope you are keeping well. It has felt like an unimaginably long winter. While I have got used to the chilly winds in Edinburgh I am also very glad that the snow has cleared and spring is here: all blue skies, daffodils and the sound of birds loudly chirping in the early mornings brings great joy.

Only last week we were greeted by the "Beast from the East" and were covered in knee-deep snow, huddled in front of the telly watching Shetland and Collateral on BBC and wondering whether Lothian buses would ever run again. Some who managed to get to the food shops found that the local Sainsburys, Asda and Aldi had completely sold out of milk and bread. Panic-buying had set in, a bit like Christmas and New Year all over again. Okay, so there was no milk and bread. No real loss, I felt. These are the two most damp-forming foods - items that the body, already struggling with the dampness of winter could do without. I have been trying to manage dampness in my body by adding grated ginger and the juice of half a lemon into hot water each evening and sipping this. It feels immediately cleansing and detoxing.

It has taken me a while to feel settled in my new adopted city, Edinburgh. Leaving London after 24 years was a big step. I moved into my new flat in November. Everything I tried to do seemed to go wrong (eg furniture delivery issues, water leaking from the shower, washing machine poorly plumbed in, telecoms connection problems, condemned boiler, waiting 8 weeks to receive my bodyCushion arm adjustments. Oh, and one night I saw a mouse. I think he was just passing through). Everything is sorted now. I see that all those issues are symptomatic of a current world where real communication is at a low ebb and there is a lack of will to do a good job.

In the midst of this, I have been trying to set up my Shiatsu practice here in Edinburgh. I now have a few regular clients who attend my clinic at home. I also provide half-hour Shiatsu taster sessions at Portobello Swim Centre (Porty Baths) once a week from 10am-12pm. It can get busy if there are clients back to back. Some weeks are less busy. Moments like these can be challenging: my monkey mind starts to wonder if I should bother with the work there at all. However, I feel that the action of getting the futon and body cushions ready and carrying them to the swim baths each week has been a good exercise in self-discipline.

I am reminded of the 3 Ps we learned at Shiatsu school: Practice, Patience and Persistence. There is a lot to be said for doing things repeatedly: it helps us get better at what we do until they become a part of us. A bit like following a ritual and a daily meditation. At Porty Baths, I enjoy meeting and engaging with new people and telling them about Shiatsu. Each week, more people get to see the Shiatsu Society UK banner on display and learn about the benefits of Shiatsu. I am sure that regulars at the swim centre now know that Shiatsu not a dog but is a therapy that supports the mind, body and spirit.

You can view my new webpage:

Till the next Blog. I welcome any feedback from you, readers. I would also love to hear from my fellow Shiatsu colleagues about your experience of setting up and managing your practice. You can email me at:

Maybe we will meet at the Shiatsu Congress in Edinburgh (26-28 April 2018). Keep well in the meantime.

At Portobello Swim Baths - Tuesdays 10am to 12noon

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