Press On!

heart+handsI want to share I poem I wrote almost ten years ago when I completed my advanced, “initiate level” certification in the Isabell Gatto Method (IGM) of therapeutic acupressure.  It illustrates how healing touch and human kindness can change a person’s life for the better, as it did mine.  If you’ve never experienced a session of acupressure before, I highly recommend it.  As a practitioner, I have learned unique lessons of empathy, compassion, patience and appreciation for the human condition, in all it’s myriad expressions, and that we are all struggling with something personal and often deeply painful that we often need help to relieve.  That’s what acupressure does – it relieves pain and suffering and helps the body to heal itself.

Holding handsWhat could be a more profound and joyful service than to provide the release of another human being’s emotional or physical pain while they rest in your caring hands?  The human hand holds incredible power, both creative and destructive.  We rarely stop to consider what our hands do all day.  They feed and bathe us.  They clean, cook, drive, dress, play, pay, type, write, work, pray and point the way.  They caress, comfort and soothe.  They wipe away tears and they pat us on the back.  They free us and bind us.  They hold the door, the elevator and the keys.  At times they hold each other and in blessed moments they hold another.  They give, receive and share.  They also heal, as if by magic, with loving warmth and generosity.

Egyptian_HealingTherapeutic acupressure is an incredible way to beat stress and find an even keel in everyday life.  But it’s application for pain relief is almost limitless.  It is the grandfather of all the energetic healing modalities, including Reflexology, Reiki and acupuncture.  A modern form of complimentary medicine, it is considered the oldest of the healing arts, having its origins in ancient China and India.  Egyptian hieroglyphics also depict priests and healers applying acupressure on injured and diseased patients, going back nearly five thousand years BCE.  Being a hands-on application, the practitioner and patient are involved in each others energy fields and a direct exchange of energetic information is shared.  It is related to the Western spiritual practice called “the laying on of hands,” which provides similar stress and pain relieving effects.  It is considered a valuable healing tool for surgical patients both pre- and post-op and works terrifically with accident victims and those suffering from sports related injuries.

acu_meridiansA typical session is performed on a massage table, fully clothed, with light to moderate fingertip pressure applied to specific pressure points (or reflex/trigger points – called “tsubos” in Japanese) throughout the body.  The ordered sequence of points accessed or “triangulated” allows the patient’s body to balance the flow of vital life force energy, called “Chi” in Chinese, “Prana” in Sanskrit or “Ki” in Japanese.  Subtle energy pathways in the body, known as “meridians” are relieved of blockages caused by stress, illness or injury that cause discomfort, dysfunction and eventually lead to disease.  When this balance is achieved and the energetic channels are reopened, the body literally begins to heal itself.  This creates a feeling of oneness, peace and harmony in the body as internal pressures and stagnant emotions are released.  The result is a relief of mental, physical and emotional pain.

hands_on1The time tested Isabell Gatto Method (IGM) of therapeutic acupressure combines the best of Eastern traditional acupressure technique, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu and Shiatsu with Western understanding of modern stress relief.  When I learned the method at William Paterson University I was looking for hands-on therapy to calm my nerves and relieve a “walking anxiety” I had been dealing with for years, that only my yoga practice had helped me to cope with, but that needed more attention.  I received a session and was immediately hooked.  As many of my clients have also attested through the years, I discovered myself to be so profoundly relaxed at the end of the session that I wondered, “Have I ever relaxed this deeply?”  Since then I went through three levels of certification to learn as much as I could about this seemingly magical and intensely effective form of stress, tension and pain relief.

light_shineWhile in practice in New Jersey I had the privilege of helping a colon cancer survivor find pain relief from her chemo and radiation therapies; helping a brain cancer survivor regain normal vision after years of living with a wandering eye; and helping to rehabilitate a diabetic patient suffering from neuropathy.  I helped a dear friend regain feeling in her extremities after a stroke.  I assisted my mother-in-law in her recovery from a difficult open-heart valve replacement surgery.  I even had the opportunity and privilege to help my father prepare for and recover from a series of complicated neck surgeries that he almost didn’t survive.  I have also been able to apply acupressure to pets, including my cats when they’ve been ill and to help them pass on when their lives came to and end.  I assure you, it was an incredible experience helping them move peacefully into the next world.  I still apply the technique to friends and family today, much to our shared joy and elation.

press_onI have witnessed and experienced this unique and thorough alternative method of therapy applied to reverse infertility, improve nerve function, reduce anxiety and depression, increase immune response, overcome emotional disorders, rehabilitate serious injuries, help addicts recover from substance abuse, relieve digestive and eating disorders and bring comfort to the terminally ill and palliative care patients, for which its application has been implemented into hospitals nationwide under the guidance and review of the NIH.  IGM Therapeutic Acupressure is truly astonishing in it’s range of applications and effectiveness.  It’s incredible work, both to give and receive!  The IGM family of practitioners is also like an extended family to me.  That is why I wrote the following poem. I hope you find it as meaningful and healing as I felt while writing it.  Becoming a practitioner and providing such care has been a big part of my spiritual growth.  I’m proud to say Isabell Gatto still reads it to her graduating practitioners to this day.  May it also inspire you to “press on” and help others fight the good fight – for life, love and peace.



IGM Poem (2004)


To clear the confusion, matter is but an illusion… only patterns of energy exist.

Balance its flow and let yourself go… It only hurts more to resist.


Within our hands we hold a key to help unlock anothers Chi…

We become a channel for their healing.

Awakening the Higher Self, restoring a sense of health…

Releasing while embracing blessed feeling.


These days it can be confusing, stressful to be living.

We try to be brave in a world so unforgiving…

It’s hard to keep looking for the light!

Gratitude, empathy and patience is the way,

Healing touch and human caring spreading everyday…

It’s far better to be kind than to be right!


Sharing this gift with you angels, ascending,

My soul struck a chord – my heart began mending…

I found great courage in your welcoming kindness.

To express the beauty and goodness that is me,

Doubtless I am rich, moreover I am free!

At last, I can trust and recover from my blindness.


Your hands of light that held my pain

Saved my heart, released it’s chain…

Giving back my spirit to me whole.

Oh, special kindred friends,

Your love truly has no end…

It’s the power and the glory in your soul!


So I’ve learned we cannot be frozen by our woes,

Karma is a teacher and so the lesson goes…

We live to learn and grow, in short, to self-discover.

Find your simple peace, mind your mind and thus be clear,

Daily miracles can happen when you cast away your fear…

And allow your soul to be your greatest lover.


To close, I give thanks and praise,

By all of you I am amazed…

At all you so generously give.

Never forget each life that you inspire,

From this great endeavor, never retire…

You have shown me what it really means to live.



IsabellGatto *Isabell Gatto and her daughter, Maria.

For more information about IGM Therapeutic Acupressure Intentional Wellness technique and to find a practitioner in your area, go to: IGM.


I also recommend Barbara Ann Brennan’s book on energetic therapy and hands-on healing, “Hands of Light” by Bantam Press and Dr. Richard Gerber’s book on subtle-energy therapies throughout history, “Vibrational Medicine” by Bear and Company.


Be well… and press on!








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