UWE Shiatsu practitioner helps trauma victims in Bosnia

Issue date: 31 March 2011

A lecturer and Shiatsu practitioner from the University of the West of England is travelling to Sarajevo in April to work with people traumatised by the impact of the siege of Sarajevo. Patricia Homewood combines a role as an Associate Lecturer in Education with working in UWE’s Wellbeing Centre as a Shiatsu practitioner.

Working as a volunteer for the Healing Hands Network, an organisation dedicated to the relief of suffering caused by war and disaster, she will be treating the victims of the Bosnian war who suffered appalling traumas in the years between 1992 and 1997. They may have lived through rape, torture, maiming, malnutrition, and untold loss of homes and loved ones. The population of the city is even now, after 15 years of peace, only two thirds of its pre-war size.

Patricia explains, “This is going to be a very big challenge for me, but I know that shiatsu can be immensely supportive to people in distress. Post traumatic stress disorder can be helped enormously by complementary therapies. The people who are referred to the charity in Sarajevo will have suffered greatly in the past, but shiatsu enables the client to recognise exactly how they are right now, in the present moment, and from this firm ground to step forward into a happier future. They will also enjoy a wonderfully relaxing treatment on a physical level.

“I will divide my time between the Healing Hands house and outreach work in the mountains outside the city. This is my first visit to Bosnia, but I will be working with three other complementary therapists and two local administrators who look after us and act as interpreters. We are only allowed to work in Sarajevo for two weeks at a time, and cannot return for another six months, because it has been found that practitioners find it hard to leave their clients if they work with them for any longer.

“Shiatsu is a very good way of helping people deal with stress and anxiety. It has been described as acupuncture without needles. This ancient oriental treatment, involves applying pressure to points on the body and along the lines, known as meridians that join them, to balance physical and emotional disharmonies. People feel calm, deeply relaxed and invigorated after a treatment- a wonderful sensation! I received shiatsu treatment for several years before finally deciding in 2006 to undertake the three year practitioner training course in Bristol. It has helped me to live my life well, and I hope I can transfer some of that sense of wellbeing to the people I work with in Bosnia.”

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers


Tel: 0117 32 82208

E-mail: Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.ukor Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk


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