By Mihael Mamychshvili, Reg. Master Shiatsu Therapist


I have been working with patients with chronic pain for 15 years and it never ceases to amaze me how people get used to their pain. Their pain becomes their proverbial security blanket because without, they feel like something essential is missing.

Many patients come to me after trying many methods and therapies to lessen or extinguish the pain they are feeling. They expect that I will use deep pressure and strong stimulation as if attacking the pain is the logical solution to the problem.


Actually the opposite can be true. I choose to empower my patients and help them believe and understand that when dealing with pain  by force and power is not always the answer.

A gentle approach with heightened awareness and clear focus can be the way. So I use gentle stimulation ,barely touching, to help the pain stop. When it is gone a funny thing happens. First they want me to Press Harder on where the pain was. Then they want me to search for the pain; “ a little above, or below” “try to the right”. So I ask, “Do you want the pain to come back?” They laugh and say “no!”. So why are you searching for it as if you need it?

People live with pain for so long it becomes like a bad friend, a dysfunctional relationship, a bad tenant that we still hold on to because on some level we get something out of it.  I often pose that question: “Is there some benefit to the pain for you? Or is it just something that is familiar? This can be a big moment for some people as they begin to understand that their view of their pain is important to their healing. From there, teaching someone how to eliminate, control, and change their pain with their mind set can be life- changing and empowering; making the patient the therapist.


About the author

Mihael is a Master Shiatsu therapist who focuses on reconnecting the communication between the mind and body. Since becoming a Shiatsu Therapist in 2001, he  has helped clients change and transform through his treatments which look at the complete person. He has evolved his approach and methodology, creating a unique blend of Eastern and Western manual techniques. Developing strong palpation skills through 15 years of bodywork and 20 years of mindbody studies, he has a gift to understand and translate what your body is trying to communicate.

4 Responses to ““Can you press harder?” – by Mihael Mamychshvili, RST, NPR”

  1. pauline

    I definitely believe in all what you said, im working on a friend who is in a lot of pain& I have been treating her really softly & carefully & kind of gliding slowly over her with suttle streches, she tells me its the best feeling ever, & she tells me she feels rejuvinated every time i give her a treatment, shiatsu is a wonderful healing there,s so much to learn but i love it.
    Yours truly Pauline ?,

    • Giselle Bobinski

      The healing power of Shiatsu really is great, Pauline. Your friend is lucky to have you.

  2. David Palmer

    The experience of pain is, to an extent, culturally mediated. I spent a number of years working in a Japanese spa in San Francisco with Japanese-trained practitioners. When (Western) customers would complain that the pressure was painful, it was not uncommon to hear the practitioner exclaim to the customer, “Relax!, Relax!” often times accompanied by a little slap. The Japanese practitioners thought that if the pressure wasn’t strong that it wasn’t working. That is the source of the common misconception that Shiatsu (and other acupressure) is painful. The practitioners only know only one pressure, and that is strong. You can see that cultural difference still at play today in the Chinese immigrants practicing chair massage in the malls. The chief complaint of customers continues to be that it hurts.
    Congratulations, Mihail, for trying to change that perception in your corner of the world.


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