Carola Beresford-Cooke (Wales, UK)
Carola is the co-founder of the Shiatsu College United Kingdom, where she taught for over 20 years. She has written and co-written several books on massage and chiefly Shiatsu.
She believes in encouraging Shiatsu and massage practitioners to develop their own unique style and the quality of their own touch.
Shiatsu and Loneliness
A thee-hour workshop
Most of us have experienced loneliness at some time. As social animals with complex emotional needs, we often struggle with the balance between personal freedom and our interaction with others, and our communities are becoming increasingly fragmented.
Loneliness is endemic in our modern society. In 2018 the UK government appointed a Minister for Loneliness (actually, her job was Minister for Civil Society, Sport, Charities, Gambling, Lottery and Loneliness). A year later, the ministry seems quietly to have dropped its responsibility for loneliness but there is still a Government webpage devoted to the activities of many different Government departments to combat loneliness.
Loneliness is shown by numerous studies to have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. As we shiatsu practitioners would expect, the major impact is on the cardio-vascular system (Valtorta et al, 2016, Hawkley et al, 2010), immune system (Lund et al, 2010) and mental/emotional states. Overall, loneliness has been determined to increase the likelihood of mortality by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).
Shiatsu can not directly affect the many factors that cause loneliness in the lives of others, but it can have a powerful role in helping people understand their loneliness and in preventing its negative effects.
In this workshop we will begin by looking at our own personal experience of this issue; times when we have felt lonely, our own responses to interaction with others, ways in which we may have contributed to our own social difficulties and ways in which we have succeeded in eliminating the pain of loneliness. These insights will be undertaken via a short period of reflection, followed by a short period of discussions in small groups within the context of the Five Phases or other models of Shiatsu theory.
Supported by these perceptions, we will explore practically through Shiatsu
– how we can provide warmth and comfort through touch
– how we can maintain respect for our own and our receiver’s preferred personal space while still connecting deeply with them
– offering connection to a wider sphere of “belonging” through the Five Phases and the meridian expressions
We will also touch upon the therapeutic issues that may arise when treating people who are intensely lonely.
The references above are drawn from the webpage of the Campaign to End Loneliness: