What started as a way to relieve pain during her time at university has turned into a more-than-two-decades-long career, according to Jane Loney.
Loney, a certified shiatsu therapist, is working out of the Oceanside Yoga and Wellness Centre (702 Memorial Ave., Qualicum Beach) where she teaches yoga and still practices shiatsu therapy.
Shiatsu therapy is a Japanese massage therapy based on eastern medical theory that balances the nervous system and relieves muscle and joint tension.
Loney said during her time studying at the University of Toronto she began experiencing a lot of pain in her neck and back pain from constant studying.
“I got that post-essay neck spasm that some people get, so I had to figure out how to relieve it and so I went to see somebody who does shiatsu therapy,” Loney said.
Loney said she had never heard about it before, but it has been a part of her life for the past 30 years.
After she finished her degree in women’s studies and art history, Loney said she figured she needed a way to pay off her student loan.
“I have to find a profession and have a skill, and I thought, I’d love to learn this form — this modality — of massage because it’s fascinating because it follows some traditional Chinese medicine in a holistic approach,” she said.
Loney said she took a 22-month intensive course in Toronto under the direction of Mitsuki Kikkawa, who she said was a Japanese master of shiatsu.
She said she ended up working as his apprentice for 10 years following the course.
“He was an innovator,” Loney said of Kikkawa. “He kept teaching me all of his techniques. He worked with a lot of people who were dying, who were post-cancer treatment, people who were very elderly, so he had to develop very gentle techniques that helped and were also super effective.”
Because of her time with Kikkawa, Loney said that she is able to do more deep or intensive work for more athletic or muscular people, but she can also do really light and gentle work that changes the pain in the body.
“I have both things going on because of his (Kikkawa’s) innovative techniques,” Loney said.
During her time in Toronto, Loney said she worked with people who were in the later stages of life to help ease their pain.
“Because I’ve been doing this for 25 years or more,” Loney said. “I’m super intuitive and my approach will be exactly what’s needed. You use your intuition and you talk and figure out what that person needs and then go from there.”
Loney said she also works with people who suffer from chronic pain.
“If you treat the problem immediately through gentle work or deep work . . . you start to change the holding pattern. You start to move the scar tissue out, you start to help the body to heal by bringing circulation into the area,” Loney said.
After growing up in Victoria and then moving to Toronto, Loney said she’s happy to be back on the Island.
“I guess I moved to Toronto to find my yoga teacher and find my shiatsu teacher and do my schooling there, and then it was time to move back to the natural environment where everything is just so much better — the quality of life,” she said.
Over her 25-year career, Loney said she’s worked with so many people with so many different injuries, but she said she continues to do it because of how grateful people are.
“I feel like there’s no other job I’ve ever done where there’s instant gratification because they feel better and then I feel better and everybody feels happy — maybe not happy — but relieved,” Loney said.
“When stress levels go down and people feel relief, you can physically see it in their face when the pain goes down, it’s so beautiful because I can just see them float away and I feel so glad and happy for them.”
Loney said her job is the most satisfying job in the world because she gets to help people with their pain.
“I will always do this because I feel like I have endless amounts of healing energy.”