Finding balance as we navigate life’s challenges

Feeling stressed, anxious, stiff or confused? 

It’s easy to feel out of balance in our increasingly fast-paced world. 

For many years when living in London, I suffered numerous chest complaints, and a stiff shoulder that required a chiropractor. Poor digestion, a weak lower back and frequent periods of insomnia were also problematic and I saw all these issues as manifestations of work-related stress. My habits and ways of living were having a negative impact on my mental and emotional health too. Can you relate to any of this?

Studying Reiki Level One aged 27 educated me about the need for balance in order to live a healthy life. I also studied Taoism (from which Shiatsu evolved) where our lifeforce energy, or Ki, flows from the Tao. I calls us to live in harmony with this flow and optimise its presence in our lives.

I already understood the need for a ‘healthy balanced diet’ but leading a balanced life? To me this sounded like a nice idea but not very realistic in a culture that values productivity and achievement over health and wellbeing.

A decade later I found myself working as a freelance consultant and though I was more in control of my working hours, I still found London’s frenetic pace challenging for my mental and physical health. Though I had no obvious illness I also did not feel fully conscious of and connected to myself, nor my life.

Thankfully, curiosity led me once again to several more modalities of Eastern Medicine: Shiatsu, Acupressure and Qi Gong. They are concerned with encouraging the smooth flow of Ki around the body, thereby balancing the energies of Yin and Yang. When these polar energies are in a harmonious state, we are more able to flow with the current of life, and we can maintain our health.

“When defences are weakened and resources exhausted, a multiplicity of factors conspire to permit illness…The key is to achieve balance, which means being flexible, diverse, moderate, and in harmony with your own rhythms and needs.”

In Eastern Medicine, there is no magic bullet for a healthy life, or to provide a remedy if illness sets in. Since welness is multi-layered it makes sense that it requires a blend of ‘solutions’ to support our health. To return us to balance, Shiatsu draws on a rich history of Chinese medicine including the use of acupressure, herbs, diet, physical exercise, massage, meditation (mental discipline) and lifestyle modifications.

Common sense tells us that periods of over-work should be followed by adequate rest. Sociable periods should be balanced with solo time to return to the self and tune into our needs. On a sedentary day, mind and body can be exercised with a short walk. The body is always sending us signals of what it needs – will you slow down enough to listen?

The one key thing we overlook

Contemporary cultures encourage an always-on mentality where we are likely to neglect one very important aspect of our self-care: time.

This is essential so that we can replenish our energy levels for the next day. Without sufficient rest, sleep and relaxation, we fail to balance our work in the world (Yang) with the interior process of nurturing the self (Yin).

The body as a garden

Eastern Medicine views the the human as a garden, a complex interconnected whole where an influence on one part has an impact on the entire system. When people are like gardens, then doctors are like gardeners and their aim is to cultivate life.

“The gardener does not make the garden grow. Nature does. The gardener is an ally who prepares the soil, sows the seeds, waters, and removes the weeds…without the gardener, the garden would lose its unique identity and grow wild, merging completely with its surroundings to blend with the larger environment.”

Eastern Medicine views the body as a garden

Maintaining energetic balance makes us more robust and able to cope with any challenge to the body. If you are unsure what this means for you, or if you feel out of sync with life and cannot seem to find the way home to yourself, then Shiatsu or Reiki may help to re-balance you, and restore your resilience and strength.

Even if you feel well, we can work to balance our energy, either using self-care practices or with the support of a qualified Practitioner (or ideally, both!) In reality, ongoing maintenance is better than waiting until sickness or disease has taken hold.

The Nei Jing, a medical classic of Chinese Medicine written in the 2nd century BC states:

“Maintaing order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty, or forging weapons after the war has already begun.”

To explore and restore your balance – book a FREE 15 minute call with me to discuss your health picture, your current challenges and your goals.


Quotes source: Beinfield, Korngold – Between heaven and earth – A guide to Chinese Medicine (1991)

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About Me

I founded SJA Holistics to help people get well, feel great, and stay well using the power of practices derived from Eastern Medicine including Shiatsu, Reiki, Acupressure and Qi Gong.

For over a decade I’ve worked with Ki and have first-hand experience of how energy- and body-work can lead to positive health. Working with the energy body as well as the physical can bring profound changes to mental, emotional and physical issues.

After completing three years of study for the Professional Shiatsu Diploma, I honed my experience working voluntarily for six months in a national UK charity giving Shiatsu to people recovering from substance misuse.

It is my mission to help you recognise your own self-healing ability and to empower you with the skills and knowledge you need to dramatically improve your self-care.

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My Approach

We create your current health picture. Then we get clear on your goals so that we are aligned from the outset. This makes it easier to monitor progress.

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Intelligent Energy

Every one of us has a universal energy, also known as lifeforce, chi, prana and Ki, that underpins our whole existence, and within that, our health. Stimulating the flow of Ki is how you can get well, feel great and stay well.

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