After a brief consultation (which strictly speaking wasn’t necessary as all her diagnosis was done through touch and observation) Sonia knelt down next to me, and covering my eyes with a folded cloth, placed her palm on my stomach or tantien, the centre of chi energy. Her fingers and palm gently explored the area, which is used for diagnosis of the state of energy in the body and meridians. Heat seemed to emanate from her hands and was wonderfully relaxing. She moved on from there to stretching my limbs, in preparation for working on the acupressure points. It was very gentle, and I found myself drifting into a meditative state. At the end of my session I half expected a discussion and diagnosis, but this was not Sonia’s way, beyond saying that she hoped the treatment had not been too strong for me, and recommending that I come back in a week’s time. That was it. I remember thinking ‘she hardly touched me, what does she mean too strong?’
I found out later that evening. I thought I was about to expire… It’s hard to describe, but I felt as if my body, normally weak and tired, reached another level. Lying down wasn’t enough, I felt as if my body weighed a ton and was somehow too heavy to bear. My energy literally evaporated. Breathing was difficult and my bowels just let go. I felt quite afraid, and realized afterwards I should have called Sonia for reassurance, but was too exhausted. However, the next morning having recovered a little, I realized that even though it seemed negative, in fact something major had shifted in my energy. I didn’t feel better, but I felt different, and my confidence in Sonia grew.
A week later I returned, and in this second session I felt knots of energy deep in my body, particularly in my tantien, and of which I hadn’t even been aware, dissolving and suffusing my body with a warm tide of wellbeing. I was hooked. It took another 18 months of sessions, with increasing time intervals, until finally I realized I was better when I felt the same prior to and after a treatment.
I was so affected by the sessions with Sonia, in the process of my treatment I enrolled on her Healing-Shiatsu training course at Taliaris, a Georgian mansion in West Wales, home to a spiritual community. I felt quite devoted to this remarkable woman and teacher, as if I were undertaking a sort of novitiate. I was still tiring quite easily, so it was a challenge, but as part of the training course we undertook self- healing workshops, which sped up the process for me, with sometimes scary results, but ultimately it made me well enough to begin my new life.