Mother and Child Reunion


There's an aspect to the practice of shiatsu, particularly the Zen form, referred to as the 'two-hand' method.

Meaning that at any given time, the shiatsu practitioner will have both hands on the receiver.

Seems obvious enough.

But there is an intention behind what is actually a deliberate placement of hands.

While you will be quite aware of the business of one hand... the one giving pressure with fingers, palms, whatnot (referred to as the 'child' hand), you are only subliminally aware of the still presence of the other, known as the 'mother' hand.

The child hand is active ... doing the work, expressing curiousity, seeking out the tender and hurt places, and asking all kinds of questions. The part of your nervous sytem that is perpetually engaged with assessing stimulus for threat status (will this hurt? oo, that's tender; oh that feels good; where's she going next?) is tracking the motions and the activity. And while the the sensation of healing touch can be relaxing, there is still an element of 'being on alert' present in the receiver's mind.

Hence the mother hand.

Patience, still, stable, providing calm presence on another part of the body. Like the heartbeat drum... ever-present but eventually fading into the background with steady rhythm ... holding the primary beat while the more obvious melody can wander and play.

The mother hand connects with the receiver's nervous system relaxation response. The message is 'Stay calm, I'm here. All is well'.

She stays alert and present for changes: in the receiver's breathing, in muscle tension, in basic empathetic connection between giver and receiver.

While the child hand attends to the details, the mother hand listens and assesses the bigger picture, tuned to the body as a whole and how it's receiving the treatment. She advises whether to slow down, go deeper, or give space.

And with these two hands, an energetic circuit is complete.

From the receiver's body through the mother hand the hara of the giver, through the child hand, back through the receiver's body, in an endless feedback loop. It's an active and conscious conversation between beings.

All without saying a word.