Michela Spena’s “measured” shiatsu

How to balance and increase your vital strength.

For a while now I’ve been trying to specialize in Middle European beauty and recently I’ve dedicated a section to personal wellness, to the care of one’s body and mind (and, why not, one’s soul), so I can give you a full view of everything you can find in our beautiful territory.

This is how I came by Michela Spena’s studio, who started studying shiatsu practices a few years ago, until she decided to leave her previous job and dedicate her time entirely to her new passion, perfecting her technique into a unique style.

So here I am, in this beautiful and welcoming space, in a lovely historic building of Trieste with frescoed ceilings. I lie down on a futon rolled out on a Japanese tatami and forget about all about the world around me, as I listen to pleasant music and my muscles relax under the pressure of Michela’s hands.


Shiatsu (from the Japanese words shi = fingers, atsu = pressure) is a treatment with roots that come from antique oriental philosophical traditions. On her business card her initials are hidden in a hand.

It’s based on precise techniques and principles which help awaken and harmonize an individual’s vital recourses. How? With constant perpendicular pressure, modulated in a rhythmic way and by using the masseur’s body weight and own vital center (hara, in Japanese, or tan den, in Chinese) to areas and specific energy spots.

Akupunktur-Model 4

As I was saying before, there are many different styles and Michela found hers in the Shin So Shiatsu, which reflects her way of balancing a person’s energy, because it works with all our body’s meridian systems, even the most profound. Another specific technique is the Finger-Test, a simple energy test with which each operator evaluates your body.

As she was treating me we talked about feelings and Michela asked me a few questions to understand what the energy misalignments along some meridian centers could be caused by (each meridian is connected to organs and body parts), so she could find the best way to balance my body, mind and emotions. She also used some instruments (moxa), but I don’t want to add too many details or I might condition your personal experience, because everyone has to live this experience in their own way.

What I can say is that when I left this welcoming place I felt completely regenerated and full of energy, just how you would feel on a warm sunny day (but it was pouring!). I perfectly understand why it’s used as a prevention technique and a valid ally against stress. She says that as well as men and women, there are also a few children among her clients. It’s easier to realign their vital energy because they are more receptive and have fewer barriers than adults.

Her desire to experiment has brought her to collaborate with psychologists, physical therapists, dancers and she’ll soon start an activity which involves shiatsu treatments with the sound of Tibetan bells. My suggestion? Treat yourself to a “regenerating” hour. Or treat a loved one to it: they have small gift cards wrapped inside mini tarots or packages with Melissa seeds.






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