Graeme Docherty

December 21, 2022

Open Field Meridians

A path is best described by what it leads us through, not the stones that lie on it.

At the same time as I was experimenting with integrating off the body work in my Shiatsu, I was still running a busy shiatsu practice and shiatsu school. My shiatsu was being influenced by the freedom that I was experiencing when working away from the body. The only main stay in both shiatsu and the off the body work was the oneness of my touch.

I don’t work off the body with touch any more when I give Shiatsu. Like many techniques that appear in a Shiatsu it came and went. It felt like a natural transition at the time. The Solid Air (the name I gave the off the body work), showed me how to work more freely in my on the body shiatsu. It gave me an understanding of the process of working in the energetic field of a client. Although I am still working with the meridians and giving regular Shiatsu pressure, my focus in treatment is not at all the same as it was before.

Energy only moves forward.

Like most changes the funny thing was that I didn’t plan it. I still don’t see the style of Shiatsu I use now as being any better or even so different from the old way I worked. When we work with energy in this way, the changes in understanding are irreversible. It is practically impossible to go back and use a technique I have worked with before. Whenever I have tried to do this I always find that the technique I have returned to feels old and tired and has no energy.

At the time I didn’t even notice things had changed. I was very busy in my clinic and got into a rhythm where I found myself working with practically the same meridians on every single client, using these specific pathways as a means to get around the body. I was doing around six or seven hourly sessions a day with a lunch break. Over the years I have learned that connection and flow in a session was the most crucial factor for the result. I found that the client’s energy would quickly pick up and follow my rhythm. The cure or relief the client experienced didn’t have to be on a distinct meridian or point that theoretically had anything to do with the cause or symptoms. I found that the level of resonance we had together as giver and receiver at a precise moment in a session would make the shiatsu work. There were many signs that made me able to sense that I was on the right track. The old Zen Shiatsu system of diagnoses and treatment that I had followed for many years, the kyo and jitsu response, had changed from an organ energy system perspective to how a meridian resonated with the client’s energetic field. Now if I am interested at all, it is only really in the Kyo response. I view the Kyo response as being the deepest contact I have with the receiver’s in a session. I have changed my view of the different channels and see them as flavors of one space.

In treatment, instead of having to find the correct area, point and position on a meridian and press the exact block in the pipeline, I now try to localize the point on a meridian that expands to mirror the whole of the receivers being and let the receivers field take care of the problem. By doing this I guide the receiver into the oneness of their field. I imagine that I am laying access paths into their inner energetic field for them to wander down subconsciously between sessions.

In reverse.

I have a way of treating different physical injuries that can help clarify what I am trying to describe here. For example, when I have clients who have knee injuries, I focus my attention solely on and around the knee area for an entire session. To me the joints of the body are energetically similar the chakras. The meridian flow into the joints and are then spiraled around, merging as one energy inside the joint. This is similar to how I view the relationship between the meridians and energetic field. The strength of a joint comprises of the sum total of the meridians that flow into it and how willing they are to unite as one inside the joint. As I see it now, a problem in a joint or in any other part of the body has to do with the united force of the body and not a single organ function. When I work on the joints I move away from the concept of a meridian line and how it traverses the joint. When I give a shiatsu, I find very quickly in a treatment that the meridians move away from only supporting one individual organ. At this level I am describing, be it a meridian, a chakra or the outer aura, they are all one and the same energy. When I work with the knee it is a reverse treatment. What I mean by this is that I work on the knee and let the rest of the body, through my connection with the energetic field, come to the knee. This is opposed to how I would classically work around the body to find the imbalance that is causing the blockage in the knee.

In the knee treatment, I start by working locally on the area of the knee around the pain. From here I expand out to the meridian lines above and below the problem area of the knee. I am going to work on the knee in a 45-minute session, not anywhere else on the client’s body so I know I have time to let things expand at their own tempo.

At the start of the session I may be chatting with the client and my pressure is firm, slightly more physical. I find that my consciousness cannot go two ways when giving shiatsu. If I am talking I will not be able to tune into the subconscious element of my work and my intuition will not be active. I never ever worry about the chatting part of a session, as long as it doesn’t take over a treatment. It is part of bonding with a client. I know in advance that soon the oneness between me and my client will thicken, and my client will automatically quieten down. Their minds will start to be side tracked by the different signals that are now coming from their body. After this has started they will have problems holding a conversation. While I work they slowly start to unconsciously float in the waves of oneness that are washing through their being. It is obvious that the body and the mind are linked together by energy.

As the knee treatment continues I start to intuitively move my pressure around the knee joint. At this stage I can feel that the energetic field is taking form. My intuition has started to give me different visual perceptions of how the knee looks. I remember many years ago when treating different kinds of joint problems there came t a certain point of contact when I would visualize that I was working on an animal that had hurt one of its joints. Then I would use the animal image to guide me. I remember this being very effective but that was then and not now, and my practice has evolved. It’s important to understand that in Shiatsu we visualize together with the client. What I mean by this is that there is a time for everything in a session. If at the start of a session I began with this kind of visualization before any real contact was formed with my client, it would be healing through separation. When there is separation we have to use a lot of energy to make it work. Further, when working intuitively there are no techniques. It is mostly about timing and connection: the more the client and the practitioner’s field merge in a session the clearer the intuitive information will become.

Rhythms of the mind.

Everything must change, and I find once a thought has changed I have to discard a it. It seems even visualizations have a sell by date. Understanding my thoughts during a session is important as they tell me my depth of contact with the receiver energy field at any given time in a session. In the past I thought that my thoughts and visions were random with no patterns. Now I see their meaning and acknowledge their rhythm and can use this as a vital tool in my shiatsu.

At the present time, I like to imagine when giving shiatsu that I am a workman who screws nuts and bolts with screwdrivers and spanners. Tightening up when needed or loosening to relieve pressure on the valves. I know that the visualizations are subjective and we all have an array of different images rolling through our minds when we treat but when and how they appear I feel is not as random as we my think.

The longer I work on the knee the more the physical aspects of the knee take a back seat. At one point it’s possible to energetically move deeper into the knee joint. Moving beyond the physical surface of the knee or anywhere else on the body sounds strange but in the dimensional change that is taking place in the session it feels normal. Once the giver and receivers’ fields merge into place in a session a multi-dimensional view of the treatment is possible. Different images, visualizations and visions travel through my mind in a session. I try to accept whatever comes through the pipeline and not use so much of my energy trying to decipher what they mean. At this stage in the session what I am thinking differs from the way I visualize earlier in a session because now I am not controlling or creating these visions in the same way anymore. Now I use them to try to open the door to the receiver’s being.

At this point in a session the images and visions are subtler. The images can merge into visions and vice versa. This only happens at the latter stage in a session and is a sign of contact between the giver and receivers’ energetic field. I still have two hands working on the receiver’s body giving shiatsu on a meridian and at the same time I feel the impact of whatever thoughts run through my mind. I distinguish what thoughts to follow by how they resonate on a meridian. In shiatsu the verification of what the mind creates is found in our touch. For example, I have a vision of my client sitting in a room and as I look around the room there is a painting of a little yellow house on the back wall. I notice when I look at the painting I feel the energy in my client’s meridian react strongly in my hands. Is the client reacting because they like yellow houses? I doubt it, but you never know. Many of the connections in the field are abstractions of the mind.

The more useful images or visions usually resonate with the giver and the client in this somewhat abstract way. This seems random at the time. One would think that when visualizing in this way we become less present in the treatment. I find this is not the case, quite the opposite. Working in this way tunes me into my client’s core being, through their energetic field. What is important to understand here is that working in a double dimension like in the example with the room and the painting can only happen together with the clients. These images echo the energetic interaction between giver and receiver. Another thing that is happening simultaneously as the field forms is that the area around the knee, the outer body or the bubble as I like to call it becomes energized and thickens. A sign that this is happening can be that it feels as if the treatment is happening in slow motion. Gradually the thickening of the outer body that has happened around the knee will spread to the rest of the client’s body and then from there out into the treatment room.

Outwardly the client is not alone in their expansion. My own outer body is also mirroring what is going on in the client’s. Again, I am still only focusing on treating the knee and I haven’t moved away. A process of reintegration is now taking place and the rest of the client’s body is starting to integrate the knee back into their core being.

At this point their outer bubble has taken form and the receiver has disappeared deep inside and is floating deep in their subconscious landscape. The more the outer field opens the more inwardly the receiver travels. Traveling is a form of returning to themselves and is key to the therapeutic side of a shiatsu.

A brief summary of the knee treatment.

Work on the painful area of the knee.

Expand out to the meridians around the knee.

Intuitively move around the knee joint, joining dot to dot.

Gradually the physical concept of the knee takes a backseat.

Visualisations start to form.

The outer body around the knee thickens.

The thickening of the outer body spreads to the rest of the client’s body.

The ambience of the treatment room changes. The room now feels connected with the giver and receivers’ energetic outer bubbles.

The client starts to travel subconsciously deep inside themselves.

Suggesting movements to the universe.

At this stage 25-30 minutes into the session it is sometimes possible to work with a client on a multi-dimensional level with shiatsu. However, some clients can enter this zone earlier. It is all about how the giver and receivers field interact. The more the two fields have built a relationship with one another the easier it is to open at this level. This multidimensional doorway is opened by the emergence of the giver and receivers’ field. It is the peak moment of a session and is only active for a few minutes.

In this moment we have cleared the air waves for the receiver to subconsciously receive. The receiver is now traveling deep inside their subconscious inner landscape. At this point the giver’s field is synchronized with the receiver’s field. In practice, this means that the practitioner’s intuitive flow is unhampered by the receiver’s conscious mind. At this point the meridians reflect the field and are a mirror of the inner being. Now the giver is free to discover new frontiers in the receiver’s energy field without any negotiations. I discovered the same freedom that was happening in my shiatsu in this phase of a treatment was something I had met before when I was working off the body. Here I was free to expand and create, going with the next image that came to mind. This made it clear to me that for most of a treatment the opposite was the case when I gave shiatsu. In Shiatsu the depth of the treatment was an ongoing negotiation between the giver and the receiver. In shiatsu I often felt stuck. I could not move until the receiver joined me and we were moving in tandem.

Another thing that has started to happen in the knee treatment is the giver’s thoughts and visions have begun to have an impact on the client’s energy. In this space in a session I don’t have to do anything to affect the client. The mirroring between me and the client has become stronger and as my thoughts are changing my own field, the receiver’s field is reacting to these changes. At this stage in the session my thoughts are synchronized and can affect the receiver energetic field.

To my surprise it doesn’t really matter if I think of something or a random thought or image just appears; my thoughts seem to be encrypted and it is not what I am thinking about that is affecting my client. Another energetic process is taking place here. The energetic changes my client is experiencing are occurring solely by what is being portrayed through my energetic field. This is possible because the receiver’s field at this moment is able to follow the subtlest changes in the atmosphere of the givers energetic field. For example, let's say I am giving regular two-handed shiatsu and at the same time I imagine a tree. As I look at the tree, the energy of this image is somehow being replicated in my energetic field and the client’s field is responding to this. It doesn’t really matter what it is I am thinking about. It could be something that arises in the moment in my mind or something I make up. It could be a very positive vibrational thought or just an average one. I am still present giving shiatsu and have been all the time. What I am describing here is an abstract dimensional change that some would call random and most others might not even notice is happening in the session.

We meet in the field.

Picture yourself at the gate of a flourishing corn field. Every blade of corn is untouched. There are no paths or routes traversing the field. The corn stands straight and tall, united in the field, together as one. Everything in the field is connected. This is how I view my client once the field is open in a session. I consider every single part of the client’s body and mind: all the body’s processes and functions, the inner organs, all the different energy systems of the body, the client’s future and past. Their whole being is united together in their energetic field. No part of the client stands outside this field.

Looking at treatment in this way, the problem a client comes with to get treated can never stand alone. Every part of the client’s being, every blade of corn in their field will be aware of the problem, be linked to the problem and be able to heal the problem. This is why every part of the practitioner’s field, including their thoughts, will at different times in a session touch the receiver’s field. This is to me the mirror of being.

As I have said before, the fields will merge in a session and the givers thoughts start to have an impact on the proceedings. There are endless examples of how this works because now the client’s field is responding to a multitude of dimensions. This is happening not just through my shiatsu pressure but my presence. In a session this is where the fun begins. I have found in this space it is possible to suggest a movement without actually doing the movement and the receiver will respond to it. The purpose here is to lure the client deeper into the inner landscape of the subconscious part of their field. I find the deeper they move into their subconscious field in a session, the quicker they heal and the more blades of corn they will be able to touch in their field in a session. Only our imagination sets a border for the techniques we use at this time in a session. The most important thing here is that we pick the right moment to implement the movements. In a shiatsu it's important to understand that we are never doing anything alone or to our client but together with our clients.

The visualizations are not a form of healing. Of course, they have aspects of healing but so does shiatsu. I have worked with different visualizations as far back as I can remember in my shiatsu. It is only in the past few years, I have begun to understand how they work in a shiatsu setting. My thoughts and visions in a session are not random. They follow a pattern that is regulated by my contact with the client. The deeper we move into the client’s energetic field in a session, the more intuitive information my mind receives. Our energetic field will always connect to and be affected by a surrounding field. This is especially strong in a treatment setting but it is a factor in anything we do together with other people. I have found that if early on in a session I start to do a deeper visualization with an abstract story or a vision, what I am trying to do here is heal and not give shiatsu. The energetic fields of giver and receiver are not in place at this point, so the client won’t be in a position to follow what I am suggesting. Furthermore, I will use a great deal of energy for nothing. If the client is conscious the subconscious part of their field will be blocked. There are rhythm’s and patterns to the way a treatment plays out. This also includes the givers and receivers thought patterns. If the client is still coming in the door and lying thinking of what to make for dinner and the therapist is visualizing being on the top of a snow-covered mountain they will not connect.

Returning to the field.

Another thing I have noticed is that I use a lot less time working on a physical problem than I did before. I understand now that by connecting the clients to the subconscious part of their field in a session, this integrates the physical problem back into the oneness of their being. This is great when treating clients with many physical injuries. Instead of having to treat each individual problem, opening the door to their field will quickly restores balance and an equilibrium to the entire body. An example of this is a client I have been treating. She had severe problems in the neck and shoulders as an old slipped disc was still giving her pain and she had problems turning her head to the one side. She also had lower back pain, hip problems, elbow pain, knee problems and issues with sleep. She was suffering from low grade asthma after Covid 19 and was coughing a lot. She relaxed easily into the first session and allowed entry to her field. She said she was very tired for a long time after the first couple of treatments. This was normal and usually a good sign. Things changed very quickly, her symptoms disappeared one by one and fell into the background. There was a 6 week break in treatment. I was very curious to find out how she was doing. She said she felt fine; the only thing was a little pain in her shoulder and neck. Otherwise all the rest of the problems she was suffering from were getting better.

I find now that I use less energy when I work. I have no main plan of what to treat, I have a predetermined route around the receiver’s body. I am mostly interested in rhythm’s and my level of contact when I give a shiatsu. I try to stay in the moment as much as possible and try to interact with the receiver’s energetic field when the opening appears. The client’s energetic field doesn’t have to open in a session, but if it does I know it has opened through the changes in my thought patterns, the feeling in my body and the atmosphere in the room. When this moment appears, I travel with the client as a passenger and let them explore their field. A client who has trouble relaxing enough to enter this part of themselves in a session, has difficulty meeting their inner self. This is usually where the real cause of their problem lies.