human potential

Interview of Diego Sanchez about the seminar in Berlin, by Ulrike Schmidt

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You were born in Uruguay and brought up in different European countries. It is said that you worked as a model once.

Indeed, I was born and raised in Uruguay and I feel very Uruguayan. I left at 19 years old for a year backpacking in Europe and then again at 23 to work as a fashion model for most of the brands and designers most people know internationally. I lived 17 years abroad (Madrid, Milan, Paris, London, New York City). Thanks to having discovered shiatsu, I then realized I needed to go back to live in Uruguay. This is where I live now, and where I enjoy life with my family and my two beautiful daughters.


How did you get to know shiatsu?

In one of the modeling jobs for a German client, the make-up artist was studying shiatsu and she needed to practice for her class. She asked if she could practice on my back, while we waited for the right light to shoot our pictures. Her name was Ulli and I’ll be eternally grateful to her, because she changed my life forever. Once I got up from the floor, I realized I had never felt so well in my life. I felt sad for having missed that sensational feeling of wellbeing until that point in my life, but I became really curious about how could human touch be so effective. Here I am now, 25 years later, totally devoted to shiatsu after finding little by little, all the possibilities for healing it has.


And what is still so fascinating for you as far as shiatsu is concerned?

That everything else I learned after learning shiatsu, fits perfectly well with the shiatsu model of health, both in theory and practice.


Which shiatsu teacher has influenced you most?

I have been blessed to be able to study with everyone that has been my teacher, assistant or classmate at the Shiatsu College in London around 1995. Some of the gifted teachers at the time, Carola Beresford-Cooke, Paul Lundberg, Cliff Andrews, Nick Pole, Nicola Pooley and others, would sometimes teach something that I’d really caught on with. Invariably, when I asked where they had learned that particular thing from, they’d say -from Pauline Sasaski. After finishing my training in London, I moved to NYC and went to study with Pauline. I stayed 7 years absorbing as much as I could form her wisdom and generous way of teaching. I also feel blessed to have enjoyed one of the most meaningful relationships in my life, as her student and as a friend.


You realized the film „The Human Potential“. A film which shows Pauline Sasaki’s work, especially her way of working multidimensionally. How did this project come about?

Pauline had been meaning to write a book for many years, but never managed to. This was frustrating for her. As her student, I felt an urge and obligation to preserve her teachings in her own words, so I proposed to shoot interviews with her, her clients and students. I had beed doing this for a year or more when she decided that it would be a good way indeed, to pass on her knowledge, so she jumped on board as the producer and wrote the first script of how she wanted the information to be shown. We worked on that for a while and then we shot new images in her home in Connecticut, in NYC and other places. She came to Uruguay to shoot some of the material, plus to help me generate 3D animated images of the energy fields as she saw them, to do the voice-over recording and help me supervise the original music. In all I spent 3 years working on the documentary. We had some disagreements on the road, but she was happy with the results and so was I. To this day, I think it’s the only recorded testimony of her legacy, in her own words.


You are known for having practiced in hospitals. You worked with severely sick patients, with cancer patients for example, patients with heavy traumata or those with organ transplantations. After 9/11 in New York you gave shiatsu to firemen, the helpers and those who suffered from that catastrophe. Was it by chance that you were there or was it because you worked in hospitals?

I had been trying to work in the hospital but I needed a NY State license so, although I was a fully trained shiatsu practitioner in the UK, I had to go back to school to start all over again in NY. It was through the school that I finally managed to go into Ground Zero. I had tried in other ways and it was impossible. I had been working with hospice and AIDS clients as a volunteer since 1998, so by the time 9/11 happened I already had had a reasonable experience with life-and-death situations. I think you are never ready for something like that, but somehow I didn’t doubt it at all when the time came.


Here in Germany it is almost impossible to appear at a catastrophe and say; hey, here I am, I am doing shiatsu and want to help. There would be a lot of administrative obstacles: who is responsible, is there an insurance, is this person really qualified… Right now we have to house a lot of refugees. Most of them are traumatized, I guess. Shiatsu would be of great help but without any bureaucracy. Simply: here I am for you in this moment and there are you…

There’s nothing you need, in order to touch. Most of the obstacles are in ourselves. I am sure you can get to those refugees in no time, without any hassle. They certainly need it.


You have worked with shiatsu as a volenteer with cancer-, HIV- and AIDS-patients in a hospice for more than six years. How important do you think it is for our development as shiatsu practioners that we provide our skills without getting paid for it?

In lack of a shiatsu university, volunteer work works just as well. Then, with hundreds or thousands of sessions under your belt, you can charge what you want with total confidence.


You are going to start the workshop with the really fascinating topic root chakra and our grounding including the large intestine energy. What are the students going to expect? Is it possible that persons with only little or no shiatsu precognition at all can participate?

The Large Intestine meridian is the Hara diagnosis I find most often when there’s a life-or-death situation (surgery, panic/anxiety attacks, terminal illness, situations of violence, exile, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, natural disasters, moving homes, conflicts of territory, etc.). Since the right of the Root Chakra ( that regulates the large intestine) is the “right to exist” it is also activated when survival is at stake. Grounding is the action of connecting with the energy of the Earth, in order to heal our roots, affirm our right to exist and to find our place in the world. I’ve found is one of the most effective tools to find balance in the times we are living now.

I used to teach to professionals, or advanced shiatsu students only. Nowadays, my classes are open to all, because I’ve universalized most of my teaching techniques as much as possible. Also, I find that the general public and professionals from other disciplines are understanding what we do a lot more. What was secret and only for a chosen few, now its all on internet! Everyone will learn at their level.


Thank you very much for the interview. We are very much looking forward to meeting you in Berlin!

Me too!


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