Mat-based bodywork therapy (performed on a mat on the floor, with the receiver fully clothed) is one of the most powerful and efficient methods of bodywork therapy in the world. And it is certainly the most versatile in approach, positioning and tools for addressing a myriad of presenting conditions and concerns. There are movements and approaches to the body in mat-based bodywork therapy that simply cannot be done on a standard massage therapy table. Indeed, they would be dangerous if attempted there.
Mat-based bodywork therapy demands that the practitioner maintain a high level of physical conditioning. If one does not possess sufficient physical agility, or does not have the desire to gain it, then indeed they should not even consider training in the discipline. But if they do, the power, versatility and benefits derived from mat-based conditioning are exceptional, and will provide the practitioner with effective self care for life.
What is essential in mat-based bodywork therapy is excellence in training. There is just simply a right way to do it that promotes the longevity of your practice, avoids personal injury and provides you with personal care that is second to none. The secret lies in mastering the essentials of cross-patterned coordination. Coordinating upper and lower body across the midline is the most natural way of moving, the safest, most stable and the most sustainable over the long term. This cross-patterned coordination is at the heart of any good movement system, and it is especially important in mat-based bodywork. As such, the training provides far reaching benefits that go well beyond the actual choreography of the form itself.
There are a few schools of mat-based bodywork, notably Thai massage and Traditional Japanese Shiatsu, as well as what has become knows as Acro-yoga. At HeartMind Shiatsu, our focus is on the traditional Japanese skill set, with flavors of Thai and Acro-yoga added in as accent. These other styles, generally do not emphasize cross-patterned coordination and so they are sprinkled into the HeartMind Shiatsu curriculum sparingly. What is of paramount importance in our school of mat based bodywork is skillful coordination across the midline that supports your balance, strength, and the safe longevity of your practice.
In addition, what makes HeartMind Shiatsu so effective is not only the mat-based versatility, and the cross-patterned coordination, but also the depth of Classical Chinese Medical theory that grounds the work in a traditional healthcare system thousands of years old. With HeartMind Shiatsu our focus shifts away from muscles, tendons, ligaments and the physical tissues of the body to the actual life energy, Qi, flowing through those tissues in the many subtle yet palpable channels of Qi energy flow. This gives us the power and versatility of an ancient and timeless medical system that allows us to provide outstanding therapeutic services to our clients.
In our full 500-hour professional training you receive more that 160 hours of training in the HeartMind Shiatsu method, with 70 hours of supervised clinical practice to hone your skills. In addition, we provide you with 100 hours of Classical Chinese Medicine (20 of which are learned through a practical study of diet and nutrition), 100 hours of Western Anatomy and Physiology, Business, Ethics and a thorough training in the vital energy art of Qigong. The content meets national standards for the professional practice of Asian Bodywork Therapy as set forth by the AOBTA, America’s oldest and most respected association of dedicated Asian Bodywork Therapists.
Now mind you, there are many powerful, effective and brilliant bodywork therapy systems that are performed on a table. If that is your calling, by all means pursue it. But if you seek a critical edge, and an approach that will not only serve your clients with a vast range of approaches, but also help you to achieve and maintain optimal conditioning for life, helping the world, doing work that you love, then HeartMind Shiatsu training could be right for you. And even if you find that you eventually only work exclusively on a Massage Table, the mat-based education will serve to ground you in an effective body management style that will richly inform and safeguard your work at the table for the longevity of your career.
To find out more, we highly encourage you to take our introductory workshop Elevate Your Practice. In this engaging workshop, we introduce you to a full personal cultivation, self-care exercise practice, teach you the fundamentals of excellence in mat-based bodywork, help you ground into your center, awaken your awareness of energy channels, and guide you through a sampling of advanced mat-based body manipulations. This workshop is designed to give you a thorough overview of the versatility, power and vitalizing effects of mat-based bodywork. It is not, and should not be construed as professional level training in the technique, though it will teach you the vital principles of the practice. If you find that this is the work for you, then we encourage you to enter our full training and pursue national certification in the method.