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Newsletter No.5 Encountering Body Mapping

Hello, everyone. I hope you all are doing well in the midst of the coronavirus fear. In London, I enjoy seeing cherry blossoms and flowers blooming all of sudden and there is a huge expectation in me that spring is so near to us! In this newsletter, I would like to talk about my encounter of body mapping which is deeply connected with nature and seasons.

In my last blog, I mentioned about my grief over my mother’s passing. I wanted to paint and embody this sad feeling somewhere. “Body Mapping” was a perfect place to realise this wish. It is Annette Schwalbe ( who is a somatic body mapping practitioner and dance movement psychotherapist who has been offering body mapping(BM) in the U.K. BM is where you deeply get in touch with body sensations through movement, stillness or meditation and later express arising images and feelings through colours and objects on a body-sized canvas. In 2015 spring, first time I participated in the Anette’s two-day long workshop. In this BM circle, women with different backgrounds come together to express, listen, share, embody, paint and so forth. The space is safe and contained. It was an intense yet nurturing journey for me with the other women. My body map was all about life and death.

In the BM circle, you will be guided to actively connect yourself with body sensations and arising images and colours. You lie down (or sit or stand) and let your body feel any sensation in any part of the body, but you don’t force yourself to “find” sensations and images. You allow yourself to be yourself at this moment. You are not aiming to produce a beautiful masterpiece in this occasion, but try to understand your inner deep emotions through bodily sensations.

In the workshop, I felt something very strong in my shoulder and connected this sensation with my bereavement; there were seashells that I cracked and pasted on the shoulder covered with the green leaves image on the canvas. This act came from the experience of the trip with my father right after my mother’s death; my father and I travelled to an island that my mother wished to visit, to scatter my mother’s bones at the seashore. In Japan, you get bones of the deceased, not ashes when cremating body. Legally, you are not allowed to scatter bones in the sea, therefore, my father had to crack her bones into pieces before the trip. This was a really painful scene that I had observed and it still vividly remains in me. However, by recalling this and recreating the image of it, I felt our sorrow was acknowledged on the canvas.

I also painted blue around my womb as my other concern at that time was about fertility/pregnancy/birth. I quickly painted this part and noticed myself that I was avoiding to deeply explore about it. Interestingly, on my body map, there was death and life in the same space.

Towards the end of making the body map, Annette noticed that my body line was disappearing as I was painting nonstop. She then posed me and drew my attention to the meaning of the body line. She reminded me of the importance of keeping the line protected like a boundary. So, I drew another line over the old one again and she (the woman in the map) looked more alive.

The body mapping experience helped me to let my emotions out safely and be authentic about how I felt. I really cherished this experience and thought of doing more of these


After four years, I pursued to become a body map practitioner under the supervision of Annette. I wish to deliver body mapping for those who need it. In Australia, hopefully for pregnant women and women in general, so that they can feel more empowered through BM experience.

Picture of Body Mapping

ニュースレターNo.5 – ボディマップとの出会い












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