The Samurai Shiatsu project
an in-school project working with Primary school children
Many of us are concerned about the pressures that children are facing at school. These pressures, combined with postural problems and concentration difficulties, can lead some children to display stress-like symptoms similar to those seen in adults.
Children complain about stomach pains or headaches and report sleeping problems. In school, they come to the attention of professionals because of their difficulties with learning; postural problems make it difficult to sit still on a chair all day and to concentrate for long hours. To alleviate their lack of sensory input, they either squirm or ‘switch off’, no longer engaging with teaching, missing out on vital learning.
“Immensely enjoyable learning within our busy weeks. The children (and staff!) found it relaxing and fun. Please come again soon.” Ben, teacher
“Samurai Shiatsu will benefit any child.” Mark, teacher
“For particular children who have stressful lives, the Samurai Shiatsu program clearly helped them. This was remarked upon by other staff.” Ben, teacher
“Samurai Shiatsu has given my class a chance to work with each other, to develop a way of understanding of how to use massage to de-stress and increase their focus.” Mark, teacher
“A great program, well thought out and very well received.” Park School, teacher
The Samurai Programme
As the Samurai Programme encourages the development of body awareness and taking the load off a strained back, the head is freed up so pupils can concentrate with greater ease. Another aim of the programme is to nurture class cohesion and create greater health awareness for both teachers and pupils which in turn will have a positive effect on the classroom atmosphere.
The various Shiatsu techniques and sequences also include meridian based movement exercises. These are taught in a playful way as part of a story about two Japanese children, a boy called Kooko and a girl called Hanako. Japanese customs are also part of the session, for example to greet each other with ‘Konnichi wa’ (Hello) or to ask ‘O genki desu ka?'(How are you, or more precisely, “how is your Ki?”). Exercises are called “Samurai warms up in the sun, “Samurai holds head up high”, “Samurai, Bear and Tiger meet”.
Children are taught to use ‘strong, firm bear paw touch’ as well as ‘gentle, light tiger paws’ to go up and down the spine. There are also Do-In games and other body awareness exercises to start and finish a session or for when concentration flags in the classroom.
As with Shiatsu, an important aspect is to respect each individual and not to super-impose exercises and touch where it is not wanted or when the person is not ready for it yet. At the start of each session, children ask each other’s permission before engaging in physical touch. Gentle, respectful touch is taught and children are given the chance to give and receive positive touch regularly.
The Samurai Programme has been introduced into primary schools in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Netherlands, and most notably Austria – where regional health insurers pay for Shiatsu practitioners to deliver the programme in participating schools. Karin and her husband Thomas Wernicke have also introduced the Samurai Programme both for children and adults in Japan and Australia.
We are looking for funding for this project.
Like to have the Samurai Shiatsu project at your school?
Contact us by clicking here.