I’m always open to trying new things, especially in the world of alternative and complimentary therapies – I’ve had acupuncture on and off for years, and I really believe in its benefits.
When I got chatting to the lovely Gustavo about Shiatsu – a form of Japanese acupressure massage that runs on the same principles as acupuncture, I just had to try it.
Gustavo was born and raised in Brazil. He spent five years living in Los Angeles before moving to London last year where he created GM6 Wellness. This guy knows his theory, and does a lot more than Shiatsu, from traditional sports and Swedish massage, to life coaching, personal training, Reiki and male waxing. He’s also gorgeous. If I wasn’t already seeing someone I’d have asked him out on a date!
I arrived at Gustavo’s beautiful therapy studio in Shoreditch and felt instantly at ease. I asked him how he’d describe Shiatsu to someone who hadn’t heard of it before. He said:
“It’s a type of massage, a Japanese technique. It’s quite different from deep tissue or sports massage because the touch is more subtle – but deep and very effective. It uses the same principles as acupuncture, but instead of using needles, you use the pressure of fingers.
“In our body we have lines that we call meridians, and they’re connected to all the organs. So what we do in Shiatsu is stimulate all these points, to re-establish the energy levels in all the organs and throughout the body.
“It doesn’t focus on one problem only, the focus is the whole body, it’s holistic. It’s extremely relaxing because you’re worked from the top of your head to your toes. It’s amazing how effective subtle things can be.
“I started Shiatsu around fifteen years ago, so I’ve been practicing for a while. I like the fact that there’s a philosophy behind it, and I also know other techniques, so I add these to the massage so that people can feel their muscles being worked a bit more as well.”
I stripped to my underwear (going naked, covered by a towel, is an option too, whatever you’re most comfortable with) and lay down on the massage table. I started to relax as soon as Gustavo’s hands touched my body.
The massage is a combination of pressure appointed to acupressure points up and down the body, from the top of your head, down the neck, back, buttocks, legs and toes, all the way to your feet and toes. Then there’s a specific focus on all the different areas of the body.
I felt the stress in my back and legs (poor posture at my laptop, bad fast walking in London), float away with each point of contact. I’ve got knots in my shoulder from rugby and Gustavo spent a bit more time here, applying his knowledge of sports and Swedish massage. The rest is a bit of a blur – I was in a sleepy, trance-like state. When I heard that the time was up about an hour later, I was surprised that the time had gone so fast.
Afterwards I felt taller, brighter and energised, as if I’d been to the gym or had a long nights sleep. I’m looking forward to my next Shiatsu session, and to trying out some of Gustavo’s other techniques – if you’re in London and you want to distress, get in touch with this guy!
GM6 Wellness is based on Shoreditch High Street, London