After an hour with Abi Keene, behind the large purple curtains, be sure to leave a little time to do absolutely nothing. Like a natural tranquilizer, her hands will leave your mouth speechless, your head airy and your limbs like jello. Nothing will bother your psyche as you are blissfully transformed into the calmest being you have been in weeks--maybe years.
Her demeanor is of a healer with no pretense, just a kind soul loving what she does and how she makes people feel.
Abi Keene of Upper Nyack graduated from the Ohashi Institute in Manhattan as a shiatsu practitioner in 2002. In 2012 she received her certification in Craniosacral Therapy from the Great River Craniosacral Therapy Institute in Nyack under the direction of Ron Wish. Her work is the fruitful combination of twenty years of yoga and meditation practice, her study of aikido and her love of working with and listening to the body.
One of the fundamental concepts of Chinese/Japanese medicine is Qi (pronounced "chee"). This is the vital energy in our body that underlies all functioning.
Qi flows in specific pathways called meridians. The Shiatsu therapist accesses the Qi through points along the meridians called Vital Points. Health is present when there is abundant Qi in the meridians and the flow is unobstructed. When the Qi becomes deficient or out of balance, or the flow is obstructed, symptoms arise. Seemingly minor signs emerge, such as regular colds and flus, weekly or daily headaches, body aches and muscular pain, or digestive difficulties. These are indications of the imbalance of Qi. Shiatsu stimulates and harmonizes the flow of Qi throughout the body.
The Shiatsu therapist is trained to recognize patterns of disharmony in the body, even prior to physical signs appearing. Simple yet subtle changes are indications of an imbalance that, left alone, may progress to a point where symptoms appear. Balance can be restored with proper assessment and regular Shiatsu sessions. Shiatsu practitioners may also offer lifestyle and activity recommendations.
"When I finish working on a client, I'm quieter... my thoughts are quiet. The massage not only benefits them, but I am benefitted as well," she explains. With three young boys, Keene can use the quiet time.
Keene who is originally from Israel attended the Experimental Theatre Wing at New York Universities' Tisch School of the Arts. Not wanting to wait tables after graduation, Keene decided that she would attend Ohashi and studied there for two and a half years while later studying with Wish at Great River for three years. "I will probably study Craniosacral Therapy for one more year," she said.
"Each one of us gets caught up—we create stress even when there is no need for it. Life has a way of doing that. I think we crave that place that is quieter...more whole...where you can lay down your armour and your sword..."
The shiatsu massage, unlike swedish or other types of traditional massage, seems to go deeper but not deeper to cause pain. Quite the opposite in fact. The depth eradicates the pain and puts you in a kind of trance. Keene's finger pressure had a perfect balance of not too hard and certainly not too soft. Like the last bowl of porridge, it seemed just right.
See Abi Keen Shiatsu website here: http://abikeene.com.
Shaitsu or Craniosacral massage is $80 for one hour.