Career Focus - The World of Complementary Medicine and Alternative Therapies


An ancient system of massage aimed at encouraging qi ("life energy") to circulate through the body, acupressure probably pre-dates acupuncture. However, the principle of stimulating points on the meridians through which qi circulates remains the same whether needles or fingers are used.

Tuina is the most common type of acupressure practised in China. Other forms include shen tao, possible the oldest system, in which very light pressure in applied only with the fingertips. In jin shin do, relatively few acupoints are used and the patient is encouraged to enter a meditative state. The Japanese version of acupressure, anma has developed into what is now called shiatsu

In Japan early in the 20th century, a Japanese practitioner called Tamai Tempaku developed shiatsu by combining the traditional Eastern techniques with a knowledge of physiology and anatomy derived from Western medicine.

Beverley Cattermole

Shiatsu Acupressure practitioner - Beverley Cattermole

With over 30 years experience in the education profession, specialising in Health and wellbeing since 1991, Beverley has been a pracising Shiatsu since 2001. She is a Member of the Register of Shiatsu Practitioners (MRSS), and a "t", a shiatsu teacher in training, running shiatsu days and beginner's courses. Beverley uses a wide range of approaches, including Barefoot Macrobiotics, Healing, Zen and Shiatsu for Women. You can see her website at


The Interview

Name - Beverley Cattermole

Location - Portsmouth

Family - married with 3 children now 24, 21 and 16.


How did you become an Shiatsu Acupressure practitioner? What is your background?

I was ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and shiatsu, amongst other things really helped me so I decided to resign from my teaching career which was not doing my health any good and to retrain as a shiatsu practitioner myself. I was a full-time teacher of A levels in a Sixth Form College.

What exactly does Shiatsu Acupressure involve?

It is received fully clothed on a floor mat. The giver will apply pressure to the meridians(subtle energy channels) and pressure points (the same as in acupuncture). There is also stretching and movement of joints. It is a diagnostic treatment that aims to rebalance any energy imbalances and is deeply relaxing, yet energising.

What sort of problems/issues do clients normally have when they come to you for help/therapy?

A wide variety from musculo-skeletal problems, such as stiff neck, back problems, stress-related issues, headaches and migraines, menstrual difficulties, reproductive,pregnancy and childbirth support, fatigue, digestive problems, palliative care, support with breathing difficulties and asthma...and many more. It is a holistic therapy, so the whole person is treated, which can mean mind, body and spirit. Specific recommendations regarding lifestyle, diet and excercise changes are always given to provide ongoing support.

What/Where was your training? How long did it take overall?

I trained for 3 years part-time at the Devon School of Shiatsu which is recognised by the Shitasu Society UK to gain my Diploma in Shiatsu. I went on to pass the Society's Professional Register exam (Member of the Register of the Shiatsu Society: MRSS), which can be taken at any time after the diploma.

The system of qualification is currently undergoing significant changes by the society - please check their website for details:

How many hours a week was your training?

It was about 10 weekends a year for 3 years, some of which were 3 or 4 days long, plus homework, personal development practice and of course practice.

How did training fit round your children?

I could not have done it without the support of my husband, who was also a teacher, so the weekends could be covered.

Roughly, how much did your training cost?

At the time it was about £1000 a year but it has obviously increased since then - that was 1998 to 2001. Then there was travel to Devon (luckily I stayed with friends or accomodation would have >been extra) and books, and eventually a shiatsu futon and other items to set up my own treatment room, plus loss of earnings as a teacher, so financially the cost was very high.

But for my own health and wellbeing the costs were a necessity! We were able to start charging a small amount for any shiatsu treatments given half way through the course which helped.

Where do you carry out your work?

I have a converted loft which I am lucky to be able to use, and I have also worked at different clincs over the years. This summer I acquired a beautiful mongolian yurt which is kept permanently at the Sustainabilty Centre near Petersfield in the South Downs where I have given several shiatsu treatments,which has been very popular.


Do you need lots of specialist equipment?

Just a shiatsu mat or futon really, although some cushions and blankets are useful too.

How many hours do you work a week?

Depends on the week. I usually do between 6 and 12 treatments a week, plus I am also teaching beginner's shiatsu and I do open days, festivals and fairs to give the public taster sessions, as shiatsu is still not very widely known, although it is getting more popular and recognised lately.

How does the job fit round your family life?

Very well, as I am now working mainly from home. My family are very good about keeping quiet when I am working upstairs when they are in.

How do you find clients - do you advertise?

Word of mouth recommendations, plus leaflets, and holisic fairs, festivals, yellow pages and I have a .

What is the earning potential?

It all depends on what you charge, what your expenses are and if you supplement it with any teaching or workshops. People do make a living from it. A shiatsu treatment can be between £25 and £85 depending which part of the country you are in or to reflect experience etc.

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?

Yes because you can work flexibly, but you do need child care obviously while you are working and a quiet environment.

Do you think you have to have any special qualities (in terms of personality) to become an Shiatsu Acupressure practitioner?

Yes: compassion, empathy and a strict ethical and professional code of conduct (the training and the Shiatsu Society are strong on this) and a willingness to invest in your own ongoing personal development

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?

Do your research and look into the many differnt schools and approaches. You can do introductory courses to see what it entails at most of the main schools and many practitioners run beginners classes locally for friends and familiy, as I do! ( Next Shiatsu Day is Sunday 3rd December in Petersfield near Portsmouth, with another 10 week evening class planned for next spring- check details on my website.)

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