Injury-Prevention Seminar, Module One: Shiatsu with Carlotta

2000px-Yin_yang.svgOur much-anticipated Injury-Prevention seminar is quickly approaching!  As mentioned, between 3-5 p.m. on November 28th in Mississauga, we’ll be introducing students to a variety of therapeutic modalities designed to help them proactively to avoid injury. The seminar will focus on small-group sessions of PNF, Shiatsu, and Thai Yoga Massage. The key here is hands-on practice, which will leave students with a definite take-home set of skills that they can apply to their own training.

To introduce Shiatsu, one of the therapies that we’ll be using, is Carlotta Trenholm, who answers some basic questions about Shiatsu itself and how it can best be used by students in disciplines like Krav Maga.


How would you describe Shiatsu?

Carlotta: Shiatsu is a non-invasive healing modality named in the 1970s in Japan. It developed from Anma, a traditional massage that became a means for the blind to earn an income. Tracing back to TuiNa: ancient Chinese Massage, theory can stem from either Traditional Chinese Medicine channels as Acupuncture does or Zen Meridian created by Masunaga. Givers of shiatsu can be quite varied in terms of style and application of pressure. Being holistic in nature, shiatsu can affect the mind, body, and spirit. Examples are assisting in organ function, calming the mind, easing physical tension while increasing vitality, to give you an idea of some of the many benefits. Receivers rest on either a massage table, floor mat (typical in Japan and for Zen Shiatsu), or chair. Pressure may be gentle and energetic or firm. Receivers can be of all ages and stages of life wearing comfortable clothes for their session. The aim is always to balance Ki or Chi (energy) within the meridians.

My style, I am told, is gentle with a soft focus with positive intention (like reiki) and can feel like a deep tissue massage. After the muscles are warm, gentle stretches can be performed. What makes shiatsu most effective I feel is how pressure is applied and held. Shiatsu is performed on the whole body, avoiding the sexual organs. I do some work off the body to close a session by brushing off the negative or stuck energy. 

Shiatsu is an ancient discipline. What makes it particularly effective?

 Carlotta: As mentioned, shiatsu developed from Anma, a traditional massage known as an occupation for the blind, tracing back to TuiNa: ancient Chinese massage. Theory can stem from either Traditional Chinese Medicine channels as Acupuncture does or Zen Meridian created by Masunaga. When Shiatsu was brought to North America in the 70s, it changed as people learned the practice and developed their own style. I find shiatsu effective because the intention is to harmonize the channels allowing the receiver to rest and repair. The more the receiver trusts the giver, the more effective the session can be. With modern city life being so fast-paced, and media really driving some of our lives, some of us stopped listening to our bodies. Shiatsu can bring an immediate reconnection for those open to noticing. After, you feel either energized or like resting more. Focus is more clear and supported. To me, the role of the therapist is to assist a receiver until that person feels back to their norm again or better even. We are most effective when we feel good. Flow within allows us to be spontaneous, in-the-moment. 

How can Shiatsu best help practitioners of Krav Maga and other combat disciplines?

Carlotta: For those in high-intensity combat practices, Shiatsu can benefit by shortening the healing time, increasing your vitality, and allowing you to hear more of your own body talk. When we disregard the messages our body sends to prevent injury, we may open ourselves up for more damage. You ideally want your body and mind to be ready to act as you have been practicing, should the need arise to act. Just like a car needs regular checks on brakes for wear and tear, same is true for our bodies.

What are ways that students can use Shiatsu in their own lives?

Carlotta: We can apply shiatsu techniques to our self whenever we choose. I can teach you some simple methods of working on your arms and some stretches to incorporate to your stretching, warm-up, and relaxation routine. 

How often would it be ideal to have Shiatsu treatments for preventative care?

Carlotta: Frequency for the average individual is once a month. For students of Krav Maga, I would say once every two-four weeks. Should you have old or recurring injuries, then weekly may be best, depending on the severity and your body’s ability to heal. It is always best to assist before irreparable damage takes place, so maintenance is always wise. The main idea it to keep a connection to our body, to check in at points within our day for optimal functioning and a smoother life is this is prevention.


We’d like to thank Carlotta for giving us a glimpse into her practice. Carlotta will be leading the Shiatsu component of the Injury-Prevention seminar on November 28th in Mississauga from 3-5 p.m. For more information about the seminar, please e-mail

For more information about treatments with Carlotta, you can call 416-997-0848. You can also contact her on LinkedIn:

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