When it comes to massages, I am definitely the person who always reassures the therapist that any yelps that may come from my throat should be ignored. For whatever reason, I generally believe that for a massage to truly “release” tension, your muscles must be beaten into submission. I rarely leave a massage without a bruise (or ten) and some soreness, but this always has been my PROOF that yes, the pain was worth the evil toxins it chased away.
You can imagine the skepticism I had when I decided to try a new form of massage (at least for me): Zen Shiatsu. At first I thought it was going to be like the Shiatsu I had previously experienced – elbows sinking into selected pressure points which delivered both excruciating pain and the promise of resulting relief that would emanate from the point like the small waves a pebble makes in a pond. When I met Anne Cousin of The Moving Touch, I quickly realized I had overlooked the “ZEN” in the description of her practice. My first clue was Anne’s diminutive size (how could such a small set hands possibly the necessary amount of torture?); the light bulb really went off when she began to speak. Anne serenely explained the theory behind the practice and ushered me to a mattress on the floor where she instructed me to lay down in all of my clothes. No oils, no hot rocks, just petite Anne, her knowledge and her hands.
Suffice it to say I had no idea of time or space once the massage began; I blissed-out that fast. I rapidly forgot that I was in a small room on floor high above Hollywood Road as it was a quiet as a remote beach. I also know that I began to hope that Anne was also part GENIE because I was so at peace that I just wanted to be magically transported home to my bed. The thought of re-entering the noise and frenzy of Soho seemed so jarring that I almost begged her to let me stay and lock up!
As I did not have any specific ailments for Anne to address she just gave me a general treatment (although she did tell me that I have an angry spleen). While technique and setting contribute a lot to the feelings you have during and after a massage, I think one of the biggest differences can be in the attitude of the therapist. Anne’s belief and commitment to healing and care were undeniable as was her genuine interest in my wellbeing. In Hong Kong we are lucky to have a plethora of therapists and practitioners to help us with what ails us, at almost every hour of the day. Few that I have encountered have approached me and their art with such compassion. Instead of feeling like I was a steak at the mercy of the tenderizer, I felt like scoop of ice cream, slowly melting under the warmth of the sun. This form of Shiatsu is ZEN indeed.
To learn more about Anne Cousin and Zen Shiatsu go to her website The Moving Touch. Anne is offering introductory sessions for $700HKD.
Born in Miami, FL, Tracie headed north for college and did not look back. After slogging it out for 16 years as a quintessential Type A, ENTJ, marathon-running Wall Streeter, Tracie finally took a long, deep breath. That gasp turned into the first of many OHMs and eventually a yoga-license. During this quest, she visited nearly 40 countries; trying the best, the newest and the oddest paths to physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Finally illuminated (not yet enlightened) she realized that, despite all she had been told, New York was not the epicenter of the world. Now, Tracie is two months new to Hong Kong, and with Sassy is exploring the city inside the gym, in the great outdoors and on hilltops. In a journey to feed both her curiosity about the financial markets and her new-found realization that not EVERYONE owns a treadmill, Tracie will document her search for the key to balance in a fast-paced, diverse and fun city.