Trauma Informed Body-Based Therapies

Body-based therapies can be an important addition trauma healing when the experiences of the past do not only affect the emotional and mental health of a person but can also result in physical and physiological symptoms in the body.
The intention in providing Shiatsu and body-based therapies is to support individuals to explore the experiences of the body in a way that is gentle and safe.
Body-based therapies include a wide range of options depending on your preference. 

This can include, Body-Based Therapies without touch, with touch (Shiatsu), or use of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. See more below.

Body-focused techniques without touch

If you’re not ready to receive direct touch through Shiatsu or a treatment with Acupuncture but you would still like to explore body-focused techniques or build up to receiving touch, then we can explore off body techniques at your pace. This may involve grounding, stretching, breathing, movement or guided self-massage. You may explore these techniques seated in a chair, standing or lying down on the massage table.

Trauma-Informed Shiatsu Bodywork
Shiatsu is a Japanese bodywork style that includes awareness of body posture, breathing and movement. The practice gives participants the space to explore the changes in their body from physical pain to the emotional effects on the body such as anxiety and the effects on the digestion.

The bodywork style can include joint rotations, stretching and gentle appropriate pressure to various parts of the body. Self-care suggestions may be included, such as dietary information or movement practices to be explored between sessions.

Shiatsu bodywork is traditionally practiced lying down, but if you don’t feel comfortable with lying down, options to receive in a seat or massage chair can be explored.

When receiving you will remain fully clothed throughout the sessions and when on the table, we cover your body with a light sheet.

The sessions proceed slowly and are collaborative to provide you the option of exploring areas of your body that feel safe, at a pace that feels right for you. Throughout these sessions you are also welcomed to explore areas of safety or areas that feel triggering for your body, these practices are patient lead and may assist you with your recovery and healing.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Embodied Trauma
Chinese Medicine is a system of medicine that uses Acupuncture, Cupping, Massage, Lifestyle advise & Herbal Medicine to help support symptoms of dysregulation in the body. We use Chinese Medicine theory and techniques with an aim to return the body and mind to a natural state of balance and encourage the body to heal.

When treating embodied trauma there is a greater focus on safety and autonomy, this means that you might wish to leave certain parts of your body free from acupuncture needles to allow movement if necessary. Clients may wish to keep the needles in for a small amount of time or use a device while receiving treatment if finding it difficult to sit or lie for long periods. 

These sessions are catered to meeting your needs and supporting you to find greater regulation of your central nervous system. You will not be left alone with these acupuncture needles in unless you feel comfortable and wish for privacy.

Why explore Body-Based Therapies for PTSD and Embodied Trauma?
For people who have experienced trauma, body focused therapies can contribute in:

  • Soothing physical/physiological symptoms
  • Increased body awareness and self-acceptance
  • Alter your relationship to touch
  • Development of healthy boundaries
  • Promotes emotional regulation


Read about the collaborative work that Jess does with WestCASA.

Frequently Asked Questions
What do I wear to this session?
It is recommended to wear something relaxed and comfortable as you will remain fully clothed in these sessions.

What happens if I’m not ready to receive touch?
Touch is not required to occur in session. We focus on your main aim and with that aim we can suggest a variety of options from grounding, stretching, breathing, movement or guided self-massage. If touch might be something you are working towards, we do this at your pace.

What does a 60 minute session look like?
Each session is individualised to your aims with the modality of your choosing. One week you might wish to explore touch through Shiatsu body-work, whereas another week you might like to explore your aims with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.