Listen with the whole body
Accept that comes

When I think about connecting with others, two of the most powerful ways are with non-verbal touch, and the other with the use of attentive language. It would not be a stretch to suggest that this is the yin and yang connection. One that engages the body and the other the mind. But, of course, as you already know, you can’t touch one part of a person without connecting to all of them. Should you care to take that journey.

In this last conversation of our series on Bodywork in East Asian medicine we talk with Nick Pole who brings both the honed senstivies of a Shiatsu practitioner, and the skilled verbal invitations that are so emblematic of Clean Language.

Listen into this discussion of connection, curiosity, non-doing and presence.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Using our hands as bridges
  • Our left brain tells us that order and limits are necessary. Our right brain brings everything to the table with a perspective of yes to everything that arises
  • We have words but nothing is more powerful than paying attention
  • Instead of paying attention to what's going on in your head, just get curious about what's happening in your hands
  • It can be helpful to use Clean Language in a session with a patient because it helps to bring attention to symptoms in a way that expands the patient’s understanding of them
  • Not-knowing is a kind of attending that invites a response
  • Practice being lead to where you’re invited
  • Getting curious about metaphors
  • There is a power in the simple willingness to be patient
  • People will say all kinds of interesting things to an acupuncturist, because they don’t have constrained ideas about what they should say to us.
  • Our job is to first connect with the person with whom we’re working with because without that there's nothing to work with
  • Find the patients positive resources, and investigate those

We use many kinds of touch in bodywork. Sometimes I pause to ask myself, ‘What kind of touch is needed here?’ – and trust my hands to know the answer

I am a Shiatsu practitioner and mind-body therapist, using a combination of eastern and western techniques. My core skills are in practicing, teaching and writing about how to integrate bodywork with Mindfulness-Based approaches and Clean Language. I am the author of ‘Words That Touch – How to ask questions your body can answer’ (Singing Dragon 2017). My website:

I am also the co-ordinator of the London Mindful Practitioners Group, a non-profit support group for professional practitioners working with mindfulness-based approaches.
I regularly present workshops on Clean Language at various Shiatsu schools in Holland, Germany and Switzerland. In 2020 I am scheduled to teach in Heidelberg, Amsterdam and Brussels and recently taught an online Advanced Clean Language Course with students from 7 different countries.

My ‘Nick Pole’ YouTube channel contains various interviews with mind-body practitioners who use Clean Language in their work.



Links and Resources

Visit Nick on his website

Nick's book on Words that Touch, How to Ask Questions Your Body Can Answer, is a wonderful guide to cultivating presence and helping patients to explore their own inner landscape


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