Book Review – Combining Touch and Relaxation Skills for Cancer Care – The HEARTS Process

November 8th, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn News


By Ann Carter & Peter A Mackereth.  £19.99
2019, Paperback / softback, 9.02in x 5.98in / 229mm x 152mm, 208pp
ISBN: 978-1-84819-352-9.  Publisher: Singing Dragon


Combining Touch and Relaxation Skills for Cancer Care - The HEARTS Process


Touch must be the oldest therapy. It is so instinctive to reach out to someone in distress, to put a hand on their arm or shoulder to express sympathy and to give comfort. If the situation is very grave we usually want to put both hands for a stronger signal of support. Mothers naturally put their arms round a distressed child to comfort them, and instinctively rub their bumps and bruises. But in our very scientific age this simple, primitive therapy is neglected and touch therapies don’t hold the position they deserve. Also it is only lately that more attention is being paid to the emotional state of the patient and how this will affect their healing. Living beings are not machines or an experiment in a test tube. Living beings have a vital spirit which needs love, care and attention and this will aid the healing. This is true not only with humans but with animals as well. Healing is not the same as cure. Healing is the solace which can relieve pain, both physical and emotional, and help the patient to feel better and more comfortable even if they are not actually cured. So it is a pleasure to find a book dedicated to a simple touch therapy, HEARTS  – Hands-on, Empathy, Aromas, Relaxation, Textures and Sound. This therapy not only tends the receiver physically but also tends their spirit. The method allows the giver to transmit empathy and nurture to the receiver – which will aid their healing.

Ann Carter starts the book with an interesting description of the role of touch in our lives and its scientific effect on our nervous system. She also talks of the importance of the mental attitude of the giver. She explains how therapy can be enhanced with sound and aroma. The touch is given over a blanket or similar covering so it is very gentle and not invasive. Her instructions for actually giving HEARTS are simple and easy to follow. She aims her book at professional carers so that they can add HEARTS to the daily care they give. It would also be ideal for relatives or anyone caring for a loved one to be able to give this soothing and pleasurable touch therapy. As a Shiatsu practitioner I was interested in this book. Shiatsu uses the Traditional Chinese Medicine meridians and pressure points but the quality of our touch and our mental attitude also play an enormous part in Shiatsu. An empathetic hand can be more healing than a callously pressed pressure point.

This is a helpful book for anyone who is dealing with cancer patients or the chronically ill who would like to give them some gentle touch therapy to alleviate pain and to nurture the emotions and spirits of the receiver. In fact it would be very pleasant for anyone to receive or to give. I hope HEARTS will contribute to more merit being given to touch therapy in general.

Rachel Nicolle FwSS

About Rachel

Rachel came to Shiatsu in mid-life which has allowed her to devote time and enthusiasm to this fascinating therapy over the last 20 years.

She gained her diploma at a branch of a British college in Athens where she lived at the time, and since then has done many postgraduate courses in the UK. She finds enormous fulfilment in practising Shiatsu, and also enormous fulfilment in continually
learning more about this ancient art.

Rachel is enthusiastic about Shiatsu as it is a holistic therapy treating the whole being, both physical and emotional, simultaneously.
In the West these two aspects of our being are usually separated but in Chinese Medicine we are considered to be one entity. However this is still recognised in the language we use – for example ‘A raging headache’, ‘Sick at heart’, ‘Shouldering responsibility’, and ‘Can’t stand it’ are some of the phrases we use naturally without analysing that our headache, malaise, stiff shoulders or backache may have emotional connections. It is very gratifying when Shiatsu clients depart not only with greater physical wellbeing but with greater emotional wellbeing as well.

Rachel has a private practice in her home on the North Norfolk coast near Holt, Cromer, and Sheringham where she has lived for some years now. With a private practice at her home she can be flexible in her hours sometimes working at weekends or early or late hours if needed.


Rachel Nicolle - Norfolk - Shiatsu treatment