Have you ever wondered where you can find an oasis of calm within the busy Cambridge city limits? Somewhere you can relax, unwind, and find the space to find yourself?
Look no further than a quiet suburban house in Romsey where one pair of hands has over ten years of experience at relieving your tensions and helping you let go. Or if Romsey’s off your radar, what about your own office? That’s exactly what the Cambridge Shiatsu Clinic offers, as I found out this month when I went to meet Liz Knox, Shiatsu masseuse and business entrepeneur.
After years of living with chronic fatigue and coping with a demanding career in publishing, Liz initially learnt the eastern art of Shiatsu to help herself. Sitting in her peaceful study and massage room, she confides, 'After my first workshop, I felt mentally, physically, and spiritually different. I knew, from the benefits I personally found in Shiatsu, that I wanted to share it with my community.'
Six years ago, she set up a clinic to promote Shiatsu in Cambridge and within the workplace as a natural therapy for stress and ill-health. Today, Liz has established a strong base of customers who can testify to the benefits of Shiatsu massage, and she regularly goes into offices around Cambridge to de-stress workers at their desks.
So could Shiatsu massage work for you? Although I could quote statistics at you or pretend you’ll transform into a new person after sixty minutes of massaging, I’ve got a feeling that an account of my visit as a Shiatsu virgin will be more persuasive - and I can also keep my journalistic conscience in tact!
Sitting on the sofa telling a person I’d only just met about my medical history, I admit I was a little dubious eying up the mattress on the study floor. But set at ease by Liz’s knowledgeable and casual conversation, I laid face down on the floor and breathed in through my nose, out through my mouth as instructed, and eagerly awaited what was promised to be 'an hour of total escapism.'
OK, I didn’t have a life-shattering experience. What I did have, however, was one hour where I forgot about my work, forgot about my worries, and focused on my body as a receptacle of pleasure and relaxation. Using her thumbs, palms, and feet, Liz kneaded and teased out every knot and tense spot in my body, so that when she finished I felt truly light and peaceful.
The good news is that you too can book an appointment at the Clinic, or persuade your boss to introduce massage in your office and wave goodbye to spending your lunch over your PC. Liz has pioneered the use of portable massage chairs in the Cambridge workplace, and offers 20-minute slots to workers as quick de-stress sessions. 'What I love about taking Shiatsu into places of work is that, as a body and mind therapy,' she says 'it allows people to do something for their own health without having to change their schedule.'
When asked if she has found much reluctance on behalf of the Cambridge community in embracing Shiatsu, Liz jokes, 'Well, people don’t assume I work with dogs anymore! People are becoming increasingly open-minded to natural healthcare, and searching for complementary medicines to support conventional NHS care.' And whilst I don’t think massage can be a miracle cure, after my first session with Liz I do believe that reducing stress levels must be a vital part of wellbeing, so there can be no harm in giving it a go.
I would suggest booking an appointment now, or arranging a free demo in your office – but I’m not sure if I want to keep this one a special Local Secret of my own!
The Cambridge Shiatsu Clinic is at 99 Cavendish Road in Cambridge, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 01223 500264