I tested a shiatsu session for you to soothe period pain

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Like many women, I suffer from menstrual pain except that it is due to a hormonal imbalance that occurred two years ago. I used to have mild pain a day before my period started, but since stopping my progestin-only pill, I have been prone to severe stomach aches, which makes me very tired and irritated. All over a period of one to two weeks. On a daily basis, on the advice of my gynecologist, I take anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve myself. But regular medication is not recommended, hence the decision to switch to alternative medicine which could offer me a long-term solution.

Following advice from relatives, I turned to shiatsu, a massage therapy technique from Japan that uses touch to restore the balance of energies in the body.

How did I experience my shiatsu session?

My pain eased two days before this first session. It is therefore without intense stomach ache that I go to Cécile Sidobre *, the shiatsu practitioner. This is not a problem since I am looking for a long term solution. The session takes place at his home, in a room dedicated to this alternative medicine. The light abounds in the space, the laughter of the children, present in an outdoor courtyard, makes the atmosphere pleasant.

The therapy does not start directly with the manipulations but with a discussion. The shiatsu practitioner asks me a few questions to determine if my pain comes from a gynecological problem, in which case I must go to a doctor, or if they are due to a bad harmony of energies and if it is an event which caused the hormonal imbalance.

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After this exchange of about thirty minutes, the manipulation begins. I lie down, dressed, on my stomach as if for a massage, with the difference that I am on a thin mattress placed on the floor. It begins by following imaginary lines called meridians all over my body by pressing acupuncture points. While some are painful, the touch is pleasant. I am relaxed throughout the session. Pleasant and unusual aspect for me: my flow of thought slows down. I focus on the areas that the practitioner manipulates.

Then I turn around and lie down on my back, eyes closed. Cécile Sidobre continues her manipulations. I do not undergo the session, when it hurts, I tell him. Likewise when a point is pleasant. What surprises me the most is that neither the outside noise nor the light (I find it hard to close my eyes when I’m in a lighted room) distracts me, everything is soothing. I am totally aware, let myself do it without feeling any discomfort.

The belly part is more painful than the rest of the body. But contrary to my fears, it is not the bottom that is painful but the area below the ribs. Blame it on the energies of repressed words, things undergone and annoyances that have lodged there, the practitioner tells me later.

Convinced by shiatsu

After an hour of handling, I am doubly relaxed. Not only is my brain cleared of multitudes of thoughts, but my body is no longer subject to tension. I no longer have stiff necks or back joint pain. Regarding my lower abdomen, I don’t feel much difference, for two reasons: my period is over, so the symptoms are no longer present and I am not looking for miracle solutions but for long-term relief.

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The practitioner tells me that several sessions, over an interval of three weeks, are necessary to gradually calm the menstrual symptoms. I should, according to him, see a difference in my first cycle. Result: I think I will go to the end of the therapy. What could put me off all the same is the price: 75 euros for the sessions which last from 1h30 to 2h which comes to 35 € an hour. But, I really want to end the pain and the shiatsu, in one session, brought me a lot of positive.

Thanks to Cécile Sidobre, shiatsu practitioner in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, certified and validated by the Medoucine network. For any questions or consultation request, go to his site.

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