How to navigate the “in-between” stages of life

That life is ever-changing is obvious as is the unpredictability of our life journey. What we can control however is our response to change and those periods of transition we go through on an annual, seasonal or even daily cycle.

Do you welcome change? If it’s unsettling, how do you alleviate the discomfort?

Signs of change are noticeable here in Goa: the sky is getting greyer day by day, and the rainbursts more frequent as the monsoon rolls in. When change is less visible, it is our senses – a gut feeling – that alerts us to imminent change.

Then there are the changes we undergo at stages of life: birth (for the baby), puberty, pregnancy (for the mother) and menopause. Traditional Chinese Medicine views these times as ‘Gateways of Change’.

“These are times when our whole constitution can either be strengthened or weakened, and obviously, during these periods, extra care should be given to protecting from external pernicious influences and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.”*

Navigating our “in-between” times

We might view these periods of change as sacred liminal spaces – the time between what was and what comes next. A time of waiting, not knowing and surrendering to the flow of life. Can we wait patiently, trusting that everything will work out?

Though in-between times are rich with possibility, on the flipside there may also lie fear, perhaps even anxiety – manifesting as insomnia, digestive issues or loss of appetite.

There is plenty in Eastern Medicine that can help us to evolve and adapt to change. Self-Shiatsu, Acupressure, Do-In, Meridian stretches are easy to learn and can be practised in our own time, from the comfort of home. Settling nerves, making space across the chest for easy movement of breath and connecting us to the stabilising energy of Earth are just a handful of benefits we may feel from a few of these pratices.

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

I love this quote from Canadian clergyman William Benjamin Basil King (1859–1928) because it reminds me to try to focus on even just a slither of positivity during challenging transitions, so that the Tao – the mighty animating force of life – can meet me where I’m at and support me. 

In practice being “bold” means making use of my self-healing abilities. This is our innate ability and is not particular to Practitioners! Managing our self-care feels empowering – quite literally taking our care into our own hands. For we all have strong energy currents pulsing from a powerful acupressure point in the centre of our palms, known as the Laogong.

Self-Shiatsu for calm during change

‘Setsu-shin’ or touch diagnosis is one of the four elements of diagnosis that we use as Practitioners. We can also use this diagnosis on ourselves – direct contact through touch is an effective way to explore and expand our somatic (felt) states of being.

CV14 and CV17 are two acupressure points along the Conception Vessel a Yin vessel that flows on the front of the body) that help to relieve anxiety, chest pain and they calm the mind. They’re easy to find and can bring immediate relief.

CV14 & CV17 acupressure points (Artist: Laura Brownhill)

Guidance for working acupressure points

  1. Sit in a relaxed upright position with a broad open chest
  2. Place a hand over the point, make contact, press gently on the exhale
  3. Notice any subtle changes as you press and release, repeated as many times as feels good

Aside from the acupressure points, you could also connect with the energy of your Conception Vessel (CV) which is located in a line down the front of your body. Try letting your hands move intuitively along the vessel and notice any changes.

Moments of stillness, simply holding and focusing on one area and gentle strokes help to nourish and strengthen when we feel depleted. More vigorous tapping movements of the Do-In practice are helpful when we feel stuck, lethargic or lacking vision for our lives.

Go deeper

An online Guided Self-Shiatsu Session is your opportunity to develop a direct connection with your Ki to bring about the changes you need. The practices will empower you to take charge of your health and can be used between sessions with a Practitioner to amplify the healing potential. Book or enquire about how this could benefit you.


Acupressure Insights: Heart Protector 8

Self-Shiatsu to calm nerves as life resumes

* Carola Beresford Cooke, “Shiatsu Theory & Practice”, Third edition, 2016

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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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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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