Rachel Bowman

Class of 2018

What are your reflections looking back on your time at Zen Shiatsu Chicago?

"The program has quite literally changed my life in many ways, honestly a struggle to speak of in a short fashion. The instructors at Zen Shiatsu are fully equipped to support you along the learning journey, and come from a vast pool of experience to draw from. I always felt like my questions were valued and welcomed. The camaraderie and built in self-care practices in each class made everything less stressful. I have cultivated close friendships and a deep knowledge of self through this program, and you cannot really put a price on that. The information and writing materials I have accumulated will be used in my professional reference library. I walk away equipped in bettering my own physical, mental, and spiritual health- which will in turn allow me to hold space for others in my life and as a practitioner

What would you say to someone considering enrolling in the program?

"The instructors and admin at Zen are fully aware of the coursework load and provide many routes to completing it. They keep in mind that every student has a life and obligations to complete outside of the program. There was never a time in my education that I didn't feel supported or just one e-mail or phone call away from my questions and concerns being answered. I truly believe there is something in this program for everyone, no matter what level of bodywork background.

Rachel first applied to study shiatsu because of her previous experiences with Asian Bodywork.  Here was her entrance essay when she first began:

"I have experienced health problems and have been very sensitive to energy shifts in myself and others since birth. My mother was very stressed during her pregnancy with me, and I truly believe I felt the effects of this even before I was born. I came prematurely, and had stomach issues from the beginning. I started to become very sensitive to other people’s energies as early as I can remember, “knowing” how somebody could make me feel in my body, even when I couldn’t explain it

As a teenager I struggled with hormone fluctuations, depression, and a slue of other issues because of the stress I was experiencing at home. I have been poked, tested, and passed around to specialists since this time. In college I had decided after being sick for a very long period of time, that it was time to try something else. Something more natural, something with a history and cultural backing that we simply don’t have in Western Medicine. 

I initially went to acupuncture for my chronic fatigue and heart palpitations. After one session, I felt relaxed and more relieved of my anxiety, but I was unable to go weekly at that time. It wasn’t until I started to see a student practitioner of acupuncture weekly that I began to see a huge difference in my health. The heart palpitations that had been bothering me for months went away in eight weeks. The colds I had now had a duration of one week as opposed to four. When the needles were inserted, that was the only time I truly felt my body relax and release. This is still true to this day. The Asian Bodywork healing modalities literally changed my life

At that moment, I started researching acupuncture and Chinese Medicine schools. Each time I would do the research, I would become saddened and even more stressed out that I could not make it work with my current work and living situations. I put this passion and desire in the back of my consciousness, ignoring it as some sort of unrealistic dream that I might not ever pursue

In the past two years, I have had an unexplainable thought I just could not shake. Periodically I would ask myself “am I a healer?”. How do I really know? Who should I ask? Is there a quiz I can take? I eventually opened up to my own acupuncturist/healing guide and asked him if he thought I had a healer’s potential. Without hesitation he responded with “yes. But I see you in a more active modality, like Shiatsu.” What? How had he figured this out already? A smile came across my face, and I soon after went to get my first Shiatsu session. The practitioner helped me with my lower back pain, that was causing me to walk with hesitation

I know now a lot of what I have experienced in life is that that ever-hard-to-explain shift in, or cultivation of Qi. I love that many of the Asian Bodywork healing modalities do not need a concrete explanation with words, it is something you can feel strongly. I felt even stronger about this after my Reiki training. After having several visions accompanied by uncontrollable crying, I knew even more this is all something I need to be practicing. I feel as if there must be a general call for more healers to uprise, as we experience especially difficult times. 

I believe that the Zen Shiatsu School has everything I am looking for as far as my personal growth, and my desire to help, my desire to help heal. The combination of Chinese Medicine, athletic stretching, and massage are all the aspects I am looking for in an education. I honestly cannot believe how perfectly the program describes the realm I want to go into. I want to be a facilitator of good feelings. I want to learn how to help those who suffer, just like I have suffered. I want to help athletes feel better and move better. I want to have a purpose driving my career. This is what lights me up, this is what I always come back to when I am having a “what in the world do I do now” moment

The beginning education I have had thus far at the Shiatsu School has been wonderful, enlightening and clarifying. I am truly looking forward to continuing my knowledge of every aspect of the physical body and the meridians, and hope to take my knowledge into a world that is in need of healing. 


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