Treatments & Advice, Part II

Learning how to navigate through the verbal parts of a bodywork treatment takes skill, experience and constant flexibility and many practitioners find it challenging at times. We received many emails in response to our January article 'To Talk or Not to Talk: Treatments & Advice.' Below we share one of them (along with a response), because it held many questions that were asked multiple times.

Every time a practitioner has a treatment, they are going to need to speak with the receiver. First, there is the greeting and a usually brief discussion of the client's situation. During the treatment pertinent information, questions or suggestions may surface. Afterwards the receiver often has questions and it may be beneficial to give some advice. However, sometimes discussion during a session begins to dominate and it can feel like getting caught in a web. You as a practitioner might struggle to know how much to respond and what to say, and loose energy managing the process instead of focusing on the treatment.

Of course, it is important to listen to our clients and offer useful information and advice when we have it. That is very healing in itself! But if you find yourself tired or confused regarding how much to interact with your clients at this level, it is a good idea to do some work in this area. Even very experienced practitioners need to sometimes work on the balance of touch and talk and do not always get it 'right.'


Learning how to navigate through the verbal parts of a treatment takes skill, experience and constant flexibility.


A Practitioner's Questions

Here is an email about this topic from a shiatsu shin tai practitioner in England:

"Recently I was treating a lady that was suffering from depression, and she found the treatments very helpful. She said that she was feeling a deep happiness and a quiet mind that she had never before experienced. In these treatments she would often talk with me about her personal experiences with depression and the life factors surrounding it. 

Feeling inspired after reading your article 'To Talk or Not to Talk,' I decided to try something different when she came for her next session. Before starting the treatment, I suggested to her that in order to overcome the depression it would be better that we not discuss it and instead focus on the treatment itself. Afterwards, she wrote me to say that I had been unkind with her. She said that she needed kindness, understanding and an empathic response. She did not want condemnation when she was already suffering. I realized I had been doing a kind of counseling with her and did not want to go further in this direction. She decided to stop the treatments. 

I know that the main part of a treatment is done by our hands, but how should I proceed if a client wants to discuss things extensively over and over. Then afterwards they often ask what I found, and ask what to do to improve their health. Sometimes I do  not find it easy to express myself about what I noticed during a treatment. For instance, recently I found a lady's belly very bloated, and she asked me what I had found. I tried to explain that the energy was stagnated and that it might be some old things going on in there. Then she asked me 'What can I do?' I gave some vague dietary advice. After saying that, I started to question myself." 


Limiting Discussion

It is normal that sometimes a client will not like being told to limit discussion during sessions. You are serving your clients to risk this, and saving yourself the loss of energy that occurs when we enable them to stay in their story. It is important however, to broach the topic with sensitivity and compassion! It can be very helpful to present your request in a positive light, such as "It is important that I not speak too much during a treatment so that I can focus on listening to your body" instead of "Don't talk during a treatment because you are just perpetuating your story." Read about and practice how to set non-negative boundaries if this is a challenging thing for you. You are serving everyone involved to keep the focus more on the bodywork, instead of the talking.

Shiatsu Treatment - Spleen Pump

Feedback After a Treatment

If it does not come easy to share with someone what happened during a treatment, you do not have to. You can remind them to pay attention to sensations in their body over the next few days and explain that is the best way to proceed after a treatment. It takes discipline to educate a client in this way. You teach them over time that you are not there to give extensive verbal diagnosis, therapy and advice, although you may very well do this to an extent sometimes. You are there to facilitate more freedom in their body so that their innate wisdom is flowing more and can guide them more clearly. Again, this takes practice and ongoing development on your part to find what works best for you. It is important to balance the expectations and needs of the client with your boundaries.


Sharing Advice

Regarding advice & lifestyle tips: share only advice that you are confident about with a client. If you do not know much about food and diet, do not give guidance in this area. If you have extensive experience with exercise or meditation, you may have some tips that would be helpful. Collect a list of resources for nutrition, exercise, therapy, etc. that you can refer your clients to in the areas that you lack skills/background to provide guidance.

Another tip regarding advice: it is usually better to give less information rather than more. Offer them small, doable suggestions that they can be digested with ease. If they resist or start into a story about why they did that already or why it didn't work, let it go. They are not able to take it in. Let the treatment itself do the work and have faith they will be able to take care of themselves better as their system becomes more clear.

If you get too caught up in long explanations and extensive suggestions, you may find yourself in a complex maze of dialogue that is not feeling particularly effective. Counselors and therapists train for years how to assist others through verbal means, because it takes lots of training and practice to do it effectively. You have probably trained for years to use touch to assist others, so that will most likely be your most potent tool.

Remember that the treatment itself is clearing the body of restrictive forces and reestablishing the flow of life force, which in turn increases the ability to access the most accurate guidance. Remind yourself and your clients of this when necessary. Often clients are in such physical and emotional need that a practitioner feels compelled to help them with many aspects that could be contributing to their suffering. But it is not your job to solve all your clients' problems and figure out intellectually why this or that is happening. It is your job to give the treatment and empower them with a more clear and aligned body. Our primary training as bodyworkers is to use touch to facilitate freedom and power in someone's body. This has unique potential that other methods do not have; it can be wonderful to trust that and watch it unfold.

It's like the adage 'give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' Giving someone bodywork is like teaching them to fish instead of giving them a fish. We clear restriction, misalignment and jumbled up information in a very practical way so that a person can function better. A shiatsu shin tai treatment naturally gives someone more freedom and power to access their true, unfettered self. Then they can perceive, listen and respond to their innermost wisdom and have the will to make the changes that will be beneficial to them. 


A shiatsu shin tai treatment gives someone more freedom and power to access their true, unfettered self.


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Shiatsu Shin Tai Treatments for Clarity & Change

Many times when people receive Shin Tai bodywork, they want to know more about the process of change and healing that are initiated.  This is great, because the more understanding someone has about it, the more the effects of the treatments are amplified.  Please use this article for yourself as well as sharing it with your clients.  

All the best,

Saul Goodman 

What do Shiatsu Shin Tai treatments do?

Shiatsu Shin tai treatments focus on restoring the flow and circulation of life force. When life force does not circulate well, the body gives delayed, past time information. This makes it difficult to see what is going on in the present, and clouds our ability to respond appropriately to current events.  Treatments help to free the information system, and enable one to function more in real time.

Receiving treatments on a regular basis clears the information system at a deeper level.  It keeps our inner guidance system on track, while freeing it from inaccurate past time chatter.  Projects, goals and relationships are empowered by the real-time information provided by a clear system.


How often should someone get treatments?

In order to maintain ongoing, real-time clarity, getting 1 to 3 Shiatsu Shin Tai treatments a month is optimal. The frequency also depends on the life demands during the current time period.

Can treatments facilitate deep change?

Treatments can facilitate deep change and transformation of unproductive life patterns - patterns that undermine health, well being and the ability to experience happiness.  Change on this level has great rewards, but at the same time can present many challenges.  We have to be willing to go underneath the surface to address beliefs and behaviors that we don’t see or are not willing to consider.

It is like trying to fix up a distressed house. We can’t just paint the outside and rearrange the furniture to make it a healthy living space.  Approached in this way, the house will continue to deteriorate and provide less and less support for our life. It will continue to take more of our energy trying to keep up with the negative results of disrepair.

structural repair for deep healing - house
structural repair for deep healing - house

To get real results, it is essential to get the functional systems like electrical and plumbing back into good working order so that the house can provide a healthy, nurturing environment. The foundation of the house needs to be addressed as well, so that there is structural integrity to insure long term stability.

The quality of life change that many coming for treatments are seeking requires a reorientation of what our own “inner-formation system” provides on a moment to moment basis. Treatments that liberate our inner guidance, so that it can deliver real time information and perception, greatly enable this kind of paradigm shift. The results can be blissful and the challenges many.

What indicates that deep change is underway?

  • the enthusiasm to engage is recovered
  • there is more willingness to participate
  • one feels more relaxed
  • your body works better
  • what you want to do, and the priorities for doing it, become clear
  • choices you make are based on what is healthy, functional and in alignment with your life direction
  • you start to experience more ease in life events

Challenges that can come with deep change:

  • Deep change can reveal what we don’t want to see about our self and our beliefs.
  • Sometimes the first signs of change come in small degrees and are indirect.
  • Often the initial indications of change can feel unrelated or insignificant to the main issues.
  • We want to stop treatments when difficult, self-sabotaging feelings come to the surface.
  • Being in real time causes us to be relentlessly honest with ourselves and others.
  • We may transfer negative perceptions and feelings onto the practitioner that is facilitating this process.
  • We may need to distance ourself from people, situations, and activities that contribute to negative feelings and behaviors.
  • We create reasons for dropping out of the treatment process, such as having no time, something else came up, not enough money, conflicting work schedule etc.

It is a good idea for practitioners to educate their clients about some of these possible challenges.  This helps clients to recognize them more easily, understand the process of healing, and gain the will to persevere through the challenges.

Treatment Frequency for Life Quality Change

A series of 10- 20 treatments are recommended to initiate deep life quality change.  Treatments are received one or two times a week .  After a short break of 3 to 6 weeks, another series of 10 treatments is recommended.

Once these sessions are completed, treatments 1-2 times a month are optimal to help stay in real-time. The frequency of course also depends on current life circumstances.

Healthy Eating healthy meal
Healthy Eating healthy meal

Clients who want to experience this in-depth treatment process are also asked to participate with homework that revolves around various types of exercise, activities and basic nutritional changes.

Participants are required to make a commitment of time and energy.  This kind of personal investment help assure that the process leads to an expanded life experience in many aspects: creativity, work, relationships, prosperity, health, and life direction to name a few.

It has been quite rewarding to work with people who decide to engage in a treatment strategy like this.  The dynamic life changes that occur are inspiring and enjoyable for both the practitioner and the receiver!

For information, cost & scheduling, please contact:

Saul Goodman at or (267) 372-1644

Lynn Goodman at or (267) 347-2290