Susie Orr

After training in Thai massage Susie discovered a Shiatsu night class in London in the 90s and has been hooked ever since, both as giver and receiver. For her, shiatsu provides an unparalleled level of relaxation and allows her to de-stress and deal with life’s challenges, including managing a chronic joint condition. 

Susie trained in Edinburgh and Glasgow, graduating from the Glasgow School of Shiatsu in 1999, and is on the graduate register of the Shiatsu Society. She was an assistant for The Shiatsu School Edinburgh for several years.

Susie’s areas of special interest include working with stress, tension or depression-related issues and how these manifest in the body, for example, neck, shoulder or back problems, as well as arthritis or joint pain/stiffness. In recent years her practice has been influenced by training in Mindfulness (MBSR) and Shiatsu Shin-tai, another branch of Shiatsu. She loves the emphasis on re-aligning the structure of the body in Shin-tai, and the techniques used to work on the fascia, all of which create more space in body and mind. She continues to be fascinated by the body-mind connection.

Susie also works part-time as a Speech and Language Therapist within the NHS, working with adults who have difficulties with communication and swallowing. Through this she has acquired an extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology and neurology which also supports her shiatsu practise.  

  • Diploma in Shiatsu Therapy, Glasgow School of Shiatsu
  • BA (Hons) French Studies
  • Graduate Diploma in Speech and Language Therapy

If you’ve not had shiatsu before you will find it quite different from other forms of massage.  Shiatsu is a physical therapy that supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. A good shiatsu treatment feels amazing! It is deeply relaxing and has the power to calm, ground and connect us to our inner self.

Background to Shiatsu

Originating in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine, and with influences from more recent Western therapies, Shiatsu is part of an oriental tradition which describes the world in terms of energy. All things are considered to be manifestations of a vital universal force, called 'Ki' by the Japanese, and ‘Chi’ or 'Qi' in China. Ki is the primary substance and motive force of life. It is most often described as ‘energy’, but Ki is also synonymous with breath in the Japanese and Chinese languages.

In Oriental medicine, harmony of Ki within the human body is seen as being essential to health. The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that Ki flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians – these are the same channels worked in acupuncture. For many different reasons Ki can stop flowing freely and this then produces a symptom. Shiatsu can help to alleviate these symptoms and bring the body’s energy system back into balance.

How Shiatsu can help

Shiatsu can help in a wide range of conditions – from specific injuries to more general symptoms of poor health. Shiatsu eases tension and stiffness, can improve sleep, posture, breathing, circulation and help with anxiety and depression. The body can hold onto negative emotions and experiences, obstructing the smooth flow of Ki, and Shiatsu treatments can help to process these experiences, allowing the person to move forward. Regular shiatsu treatments can alleviate stress and illness and maintain health and wellbeing.

What to expect

The purpose of every treatment is to enable the body to rebalance itself, promoting good health and wellbeing. In shiatsu the body is worked through clothing, on a mat on the floor. Each treatment is unique, with the therapist working on whatever the person comes with on that particular day – on a physical, mental and emotional level – as well as any underlying complaint.

A variety of techniques are used to improve the flow of Ki in the body and to release pain and tension in muscles and joints, thereby improving posture as well as circulation of blood and lymph. Within a treatment there are periods of dynamic movement involving joint rotations, stretches, palming and thumbing the acupuncture meridians, along with periods of stillness, such as holding particular areas or acupuncture points. Pressure is sometimes deep, sometimes light, depending on what is needed.

Sessions last an hour, or slightly longer for an initial appointment to allow for taking the case history.

At the end of a session you may be given advice and recommendations to support changes between treatments.

What to wear

Please bring or wear loose, warm, comfortable clothing eg sweatshirt, jogging bottoms and cotton socks. It’s best not to eat heavily in the two hours prior to treatment and also to avoid alcohol before and after a treatment.

Susie Orr

Napiers Clinic
18 Bristo Place
Edinburgh EH1 1EZ

Telephone  0131 225 5542

If you want to talk to Susie before booking you can contact her at or 07470 415942.

© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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