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Writing by Hannah Mackay

In shiatsu, our work is grounded in the concepts of Yin and Yang. This is a poem I wrote to help me, and others, connect with the Yin.


Like a winter leaf



You know how to rest.


You know how to settle down

Like a winter leaf.


The life lit summer spent tip-stalk extending a high branch

Reaching out, always up towards the light

Turning to the sun, working, transforming

Her shine to growth and substance

A full-growth flutter of verdant life.


And then the release of the working green

The glory colours revealed –

Were you orange, crimson, scarlet? –

Before the thrill of the wind-blown

Air dance fall flutter

Whirling plummeting drop.


You know how to rest now,

You know how to settle down,

A dark winter leaf brown on the ground


Time slows,

No work to do

Feeding the tree

With your being body

Holding moisture

Bringing goodness.

Gradual sinking

Merge with Earth

Autumn comes round again soon

So soon, more leaves fall

Leaves upon leaves

Leaves upon leaves upon soil

Down in the dark

Let yourself go




More poetry by Hannah 

Poetry at When Women Waken

30 weeks pregnant

I have published academic articles on my research in psychotherapy and shiatsu; and articles for shiatsu people on the practice of shiatsu. 

I also write creatively around themes relevant to shiatsu.

Writing on shiatsu practice

Sitting with the Yin points, 2017, Shiatsu Society Journal

Silence in shiatsu, 2013, Shiatsu Society Journal

Shiatsu and acupressure: a review of the effectiveness evidence, 2011, Shiatsu Society Journal

Academic publications

Guthrie, E., Margison, F., Mackay, H., Chew-Graham, C., Moorey, J. & Sibbald, B. (2004). Effectiveness of psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy training for primary care counsellors. Psychotherapy Research, 14(2), 161-175.

Long, A.F. & Mackay H.C. (2003). The effects of shiatsu: findings from a two-country exploratory study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 9 (4), 539–547.

Mackay, H. C.; Barkham, M., Rees, A. &  Stiles, W.B. (2003). Appraisal of published reviews of research on psychotherapy and counselling with adults 1990-1998. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 71(4), 652-656.

Mackay, H.C., Barkham, M., Stiles, W.B., & Goldfried, M.R. (2002). Patterns of emotion in helpful sessions of cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49(3), 376-380.

Mackay, H.C., West, W, Moorey, J., Guthrie, E. & Margison, F. (2001). Counsellors' experiences of changing their practice: learning the psychodynamic-interpersonal model of therapy. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 1(1), 29-39.

Mackay, H.C., Barkham, M. & Stiles, W.B. (1998). Staying with the feeling: An anger event in psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45, 279-289.

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