Spaces in My Body

The space between my space.

In yoga, our instructor has us focusing on the space between our vertebrae.  In odd moments in the day I think of those spaces and stretch my posture higher, reaching for the impossible sense of being taller or even touching, as our instructor says, “the farthest star”.

What is even more amazing to me is the impact that finding these spaces is having on how I think about my life.  These spaces in my body (and they can be found all over) give me an experience of what feels good to me in my life. For someone who in some strange way has never felt entirely comfortable liking what she likes, this is significant. I was in my 20s before I was able to own that, contrary to my mother’s strongly held opinions against cast iron frying pans, that I myself quite liked them (!).

Importantly, this awareness of spaces in my body translates into everyday life.  I begin to notice more clearly what feels clear and what does not.  Life does not work very well when we do things that do not harmonize with our clarity.  I am learning an important life tool that was missing from my tool bag.

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Life Mission

When I want to pull a person “into” themselves, to ground them, connect them more fully with their own being, I work on the Stomach Meridian.  When I want to help a person connect with their “mission” in life, I often treat the Kidney Meridian.  One day last week, I was drawn to work on Stomach immediately followed by Kidney and was surprised by a connection that I found between these two meridians.

Assessing whether a person feels grounded (Stomach Meridian) and fully in their body and being, begins with checking the sense I have of whether they seem energetically connected into their feet.  In an interesting connection, the Kidney Meridian’s first point, Kidney #1, and an important point at that, is found deep in the ball of the foot.  This point is known as “Gushing Spring” (there are several variations of this name) and is regarded as the place in the body where we pull energy up from the Earth into our body.

How interesting that the energy reflecting being grounded in who we are is focused on the feet–as is the energy that is related to connecting to our life mission, which is also a reflection of who we are.

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The Energy of Self-Love

My mother always used to say to me, “Honey, treat yourself as your own best friend.”

 Today my teaching on this lesson came in the form of the Heart Protector Meridian, the energy that protects both the Heart and the Emotions.  The partner of Heart Protector is Triple Heater (also called ‘Triple Sex’!) which is the guardian of our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.

Suddenly self-love is so clearly central to creating beautiful worlds in our lives.  If we are conflicted about how we feel about ourselves, we may be more vulnerable to making choices which do not ultimately make us happy—because there is a deficit of self-love.   

Take some moments each day to open your heart—to yourself. 

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Listening to Your Body Energy in a Shiatsu Session

When I work with you, I listen to your Body Energy.  To your Body Energy, I am the  good listener that allows your Body Energy to feel heard—and thus move into a flowing balance.  This flowing balance will allow you to feel relaxed, more ‘yourself’, often energized or at peace.

 People often ask me about the experience of feeling the Body Energy and working with the “visual metaphors” that appear in my mind to further describe the state of your Body Energy. Since my descriptive powers fail me in this regard, the best I can do, if circumstances permit, is to give people the experience of feeling their own Body Energy, This at least provides a hint of what it is I do.  As for the visual metaphors, I can say that these are pictures and short moving ‘videos’ that tell me what aspects of your Body Energy are in balance and what needs to shift during our Shiatsu session. The visual metaphors are as unique as our nighttime dreams.  Though there may be similar themes, each visual metaphor is unique and sometimes I am even presented with an image that is completely different from anything I have ever seen.

While there are as many variations to the patterns of the Body Energy as there are Human Beings, the patterns do fall into four basic categories.  These are: 


Perhaps the most common. Nothing is moving, the energy feels like a frozen river. You may feel tension or pain as a result.  My work is to release the blockages and encourage flow.   


All is generally well, though being weller is usually an option.  You feel well—and at the end of your Shiatsu session are pleasantly surprised to feel even weller! 


This energy has a highly energized quality to it.  Sometimes it seems white or blue and white, sometimes appearing like sunshine.  In its most highly energized state it can seem like a big river that is wonderfully wild and flows free.  


This state is usually the result of extreme stresses or the experience of being under attack in some way.  It can be the result of intense emotional trauma, grief or anxiety and fortunately does occur often.

In the context of a session, I often share the stories and expressions of their Body Energy.  These can provide insight, affirmation and encouragement and play an important role in a Shiatsu session.

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.

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Choosing a Bodyworker*

Choosing a “Bodyworker”

* Note:   A “Bodyworker” is someone who works on your body!  They may be a Shiatsu Therapist, a Massage Therapist, or someone practicing another modality to bring health and healing to the Human body.

A first step to choosing a bodyworker could be asking your circle of contacts~~especially if there is someone you can talk to who appears to care for their health and is a generally happy person.  Someone who is happy and nice to others has an idea about how to take care of themselves!

Get a few names.  Try different people and different styles if necessary.  The important piece is to find someone with whom you feel comfortable, who makes you comfortable and with whom you can communicate your preferences. 

Most importantly, you have a right to ask for lighter or deeper touch.  If you do not like deep or painful touch, and the bodyworker will not adjust to your needs, find another bodyworker.  Shiatsu is energywork and as such can have a healing benefit without causing pain.  As you become more experienced with bodywork you may come to crave deeper work, however, in the meantime you have a right to ask for and receive what works for you. At some point~~or not!~~you may find yourself wanting the ‘good hurt’ associated with deeper touch, however getting to that point is a journey whose speed you have every right to control.   

Conversely, if you like deep work~~find someone who will deliver!  Doing deep work takes strength, energy and good body dynamics and is physically more demanding for your bodyworker! 

After Your Bodywork Session

Schedule your bodywork session before an hour or more of downtime!  The more downtime the better.  You may be energized or sleepy, you may even be reflective about your life.  It is nice to be able to have unscheduled time to do…whatever strikes you in the moments after your session.  It may be just sitting in a park staring at the trees.  It may be going for a walk or reading a book or taking a bath.  It may be just going home and taking a nap and going to sleep.  All are perfect in my world. The point is to allow the Shiatsu session, or whatever session you receive, to settle in more deeply into your body and being.  Truly, this is the best way to maximize the expenditure of time and money!

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Who is Annemarie Marti?

Who am I?

My name is Annemarie Marti and I have been practicing Shiatsu Therapy since 1987.  During that time, my work has been enriched by meeting and working with many, many wonderful people.  This work has allowed me many insights and perspectives on Shiatsu, healing, growing, self-expression and our relationship to our body and our planet which I now will begin to share in the Hara Harmony blog.

The notion of being a healer came to me while I was in college and reading books about indigenous healing practices.  In the mid-1970s I did not have a vision for how to pursue such a path and turned my desire to heal to our planet.  It was not until the late 1980s that I found a way back, through Shiatsu, to my original desire to heal our bodies.  As my journey with Shiatsu evolved, I began to see that there was a connection between healing our planet and creating vibrant health for our own bodies.

What is Shiatsu?

The style of bodywork that I practice is called Shiatsu.  Shiatsu is an Asian style of bodywork that evolved from the perspectives and teachings of Chinese acupuncture. Acupuncture brings to the process of healing, the concept of balancing, smoothing and rejuvenating the energies in our living, Human body.

Shiatsu uses touch, no needles, to contact and move these energies called ‘chi’.  In moving the chi, a Shiatsu therapist is able to help muscles to relax, the mind to quiet and well-being to return.  My touch is firm to gentle~~you choose!  We work together to create a great session for you where you feel refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated.

If you would like more information about Shiatsu or my practice of Shiatsu, please email me at:

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Bladder Meridian: The Big Picture

In a Shiatsu session I was asked, “So what you are saying is that the Bladder Meridian* controls all the other Meridians?”  Hmm.  Was that what I was saying?  “Let me think about that for a moment,” I replied.  This was an interesting question because, as those of you who receive my Shiatsu Sessions regularly know, nary a Shiatsu goes by that we do not work on the all-mighty Bladder Meridian.  Why is that?

Here I was with twenty years of doing Shiatsu and I had just been presented with a distillation of my own thoughts that was about to teach me something about Shiatsu that I did not yet understand. 

My first response in exploring this question/statement was that the Bladder Meridian most certainly does not control all the other Meridians.  “Control” was not the precise word. But what was the precise word?  Hmm again. 

Then I had this realization: 

Because the Bladder Meridian is primarily associated with water and thus fluidity and flow (or the absence of them) I have come to call the Bladder Meridian the “Golden Energy River of Your Life*”.  Suddenly I realized that this could mean that the other Meridians are like the tributaries of a river that feed the parent river.  The eleven other Acupuncture Meridians feed into the Bladder Meridian.  Perhaps, I further pondered, the other Meridians actually energize the Bladder Meridian and allow our energies to flow freely in your boat* as we move down the Golden Energy River of Your Life. 

This perspective represents a powerful shift in my previous vision/version of the overall dynamic relationships inherent the between the eleven Acupuncture Meridians. It also is giving me a new window from which to view Shiatsu.  

If this material is a little confusing, please look to future postings for further explanations and continued exploration of this particular topic and others relating to the Acupuncture (Shiatsu, too)  Meridians identified by Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ).

Thank you for your time with me.  I value your presence here and look forward to your feedback and comments.

*   The Bladder Meridian is one of twelve primary meridians, mostly related to organs in the Human body.  The Bladder Meridian is an indicator of the dynamics of flow, fluidity, fear and faith in our lives.  The “Golden Energy River of Your Life” reflects the degree of flow in your life towards the destination of full-self expression. When I look at a person’s Energy River, I also look to see what kind of boat they are on as they move down their Energy River.  It could be anything from a raft (a la Tom Sawyer and Jim) to a large power boat with hands on deck!  The flow of the river and the nature of their conveyance down the river tell a story about where someone is in their life as relates to moving their life forward.

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