Grace Under Pressure

Shiatsu: Touch therapy you can buy and learn to give

Interested in a more immersive experience away from the city? Consider a five-day shiatsu intensive at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts (888-738-1822,, from March 27 to April 1 ($345 tuition, plus five-night accommodations at $260 and up). Kripalu is a retreat and holistic-health education center that sits in the beautiful Berkshire Hills, a three-hour drive north of the city. This course, taught by gifted shiatsu and Thai bodyworker Ken Nelson, is part of the formal bodywork training program at Kripalu and is also open to other interested individuals. With two yoga classes per day (optional), a week at Kripalu could limber you up for some expert shiatsu moves.

Those who take the time to learn the principles of shiatsu, in addition to bringing better health and relaxation to those they touch, will be carrying self-shiatsu tactics in their pocket at all times. Do you know the best place to press on your own body to calm your nerves before (or during) an important meeting? Hint: The hands hold this and many other secrets.

Bodywork books make excellent holiday gifts, especially if a real-life shiatsu course isn't in the budget this year. Here are some titles that will get your loved ones purring:

Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow ($23.95,

Learn the meridian chart of a cat's body and start giving treatments to your favorite pet.

Acupressure for Emotional Healing by Michael Reed Gach and Beth Ann Henning (320 pp., $20,

Great self-care resource for learning how to treat insomnia, nightmares, phobias, depression, and other common symptoms that result from emotional trauma or distress. Includes short routines, acupressure points, exercises, dietary suggestions, and spoken affirmations.

Acupressure for Lovers by Michael Gach ($18.95,

All thumbs when it comes to lovemaking? Maybe you can use it to your advantage . . .

Book of Shiatsu—A Complete Guide by Paul Lundberg ($15.00,

Thick and beautifully illustrated—just flipping through the photos will relax you.

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