Good Ideas Academy: Shiatsu Connects

Shiatsu practitioner Jenny wants to make touch therapies as a form of health and well-being available and accessible to all. She successfully pitched her idea to receive a £500 seed fund award in November 2016 and a chance to develop it as part of the Good Ideas Academy Class of 2017.

At the end of 2016, Firstport partnered with Good Ideas Academy at The Melting Pot to deliver seed funds of £500. Jenny was one of four people who successfully pitched their ideas to receive the seed fund award and develop that as part of the Good Ideas Academy Class of 2017.

Originating in Japan, Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person, not just with the physical body, but also with the psychological, emotional aspects of the individual.

While working as a Youth and Community worker, Jenny experienced a period of stress related burn out. After experiencing the benefits of Shiatsu herself, Jenny was keen for the treatment to be more accessible. She said:

As regular Shiatsu treatments helped me heal, I realised touch therapy was an integral part of the healing and self-care of the clients I worked with, and the workers that support them.

Jenny completed a three year Shiatsu Practitioner training in 2011 and has been working with people experiencing stress, trauma, social isolation and related health conditions in diverse communities ever since.

Through Shiatsu Connects, a social enterprise model, she will deliver a range of workshops and packages of support based on Shiatsu self-care and 1:1 body therapy. Workplace and corporate programmes will provide an income and allow Shiatsu Connects to deliver sessions in economically deprived areas. The social enterprise will also train Well-Being Ambassadors to help deliver the service within the communities they live in.

Pilot programmes with projects such as the Cyrenians Youth Project have already received positive feedback with further projects in the pipeline.

Since joining the Good Ideas Academy and receiving the £500 award, Jenny has been working on the branding and marketing for her social enterprise. She said:

The experience has been hugely beneficial so far, with access to some amazing trainers. I have been on a huge learning curve but within an amazingly supportive community.

Find out more about Shiatsu Connects on the website, Facebook or subscribe to the newsletter.