One day a week I volunteer my time and experience as Shiatsu Therapist in Aoibhneas, a front line refuge from domestive violence for women and children in North Dublin.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

― Jane Goodall

Experiencing domestic abuse – physical, emotional, psychological or sexual – causes severe stress and and often, trauma. In fact trauma often stays for the long term and well into a woman’s later life.

With Shiatsu I offer relief from mental and physical stress. As a therapy Shiatsu is given through light clothing, it is beautifully safe and gentle while able to address back pain, anxiety, headaches, shallow breathing and so much more. For my ladies in Aoibhneas, an hour of Shiatsu is an hour of peaceful stillness and gentle touch. A time to find back to themselves, become aware of their breathing, allow thoughts to calm and support the body to let go of tension. It is an hour in which they are held and heard.

To touch can be to give life.


Why is Body Therapy so important?

In a Shiatsu session women can safely re-connect with their bodies, gently become aware of the physical sensation held right now in the present, and in time understand their underlying emotions. Being aware allows us to respond from the present moment, rather than from a place and a body locked in the past.

Recent years have shown great advances in understanding the effects of psychological trauma, abuse, and neglect. Both neuroscience and classic psychiatry acknowledge today that the traditional approaches of talking therapies and medication alone are not enough in healing trauma caused by domestic violence.

“The act of telling the story doesn’t necessarily alter the automatic physical and hormonal responses of bodies that remain hyper-vigilant, prepared to be assaulted or violate at any time. For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.”
Bassel van der Kolk | The Body Keeps Score

To recover and indeed to heal from domestic violence we need to address mind and body. Michaelangelo was right all those years ago when he said that “to touch can be to give life”. There is no better place to live in than in a peaceful body.

I encountered domestic violence over 20 years ago. Offering Shiatsu in support of women healing from stress and trauma is what I truly love today. Helping women reconnect with their bodies and transform an oftentimes long held pain into awareness, self compassion and response-ability – this is what sets my heart alight. That’s why I’m volunteering every week.

“Cindy provides amazing support to women engaged in our service. Her service assists women’s recovery and healing from domestic abuse; a much needed and vital intervention.
Without Cindy dedicating her skills and services free of charge we wouldn’t be able to offer this vital resource.”

Emma Reidy, Aoibhneas CEO

Need help?

If you have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to talk, contact the below numbers or visit

  • Aoibhneas for Dublin’s Northside: 01 867 0701
  • Soairse for Dublin’s Southside: 01-463 0000
  • Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

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