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  • Philippe Vandenabeele

Providing Shiatsu in hospital – a rewarding and enriching experience

Since September 2018, Shinzui Bodywork International Institute is actively involved in a project in Brussels providing Shiatsu treatments to HIV-positive patients from a disadvantaged background. This initiative was launched in cooperation with CETIM, a specialized centre at Brussels’ Saint Pierre hospital, which is the biggest public healthcare centre in Belgium devoted to HIV-positive patients offering medical, social, psychological and nutritional support to over 2,500 patients.


Every week a team of four shiatsu practitioners from Shinzui Bodywork International Institute provide shiatsu treatments to approximately 8 patients from CETIM. The treatments take place in parallel in an open space creating a familiar and secure atmosphere for patients, many of whom are women who have lived through a traumatic background of migration. Every patient can receive several Shiatsu treatments over a period of 6 weeks. The treatments are for free and all practitioners work as volunteers.


Since the initiative was established, more than 500 treatments were provided to over 100 patients on a regular basis. The feedback received so far from patients and doctors and psychologists at CETIM is very positive with many patients reporting improved sleeping and digestion, increased energy and mind-body balance, as well as a reduction of stress, backpain and physical tensions. Following an evaluation carried out after several months, the vast majority of patients reported that their psychological and physical well-being has improved thanks to the regular Shiatsu treatments they have received.

The initiative was initially launched as a pilot project and is now supported by CETIM as a permanent activity for its patients.


For many young Shiatsu practitioners the treatments at Saint Pierre hospital are a very enriching experience. They are treating persons from a social and economic background which are usually less familiar with Shiatsu and often do not dispose of the necessary means to receive regular treatments. Many of the patients had never heard about Shiatsu before and were quickly appreciating its positive effects. Also, practitioners can treat patients with sometimes severe health issues, accompany them over several weeks and observe their development. This undeniably contributes positively to the practical experience of the young Shiatsu practitioners. Practitioners are also always very warmly welcome by the patients who show their respect and gratitude for the treatments. The sincere words of thanks and the happy looks and smiles of the patients always reward greatly the personal investment of the practitioners without whom this initiative would not exist.


We hope to further develop this interesting project also in the coming months and years, thus spreading further the word about Shiatsu beyond its usual borders and amongst a population which is truly in need of an authentic body-mind therapy and can greatly profit from the benefits of Shiatsu.

Shinzui Bodywork International Institute

Find out more about our training programs: www.shinzui-bodywork.com

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