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Meet the Practitioner – Yuki Murata, Four Seasons Wellness Centre

IMG_8175 (1)Four Seasons Wellness Centre Founder and Japanese Shiatsu Therapist 

Yuki Murata was born in Hokkaido, Japan, and came to Melbourne in her 20′s to study Environment and Society Assessment and Policy at RMIT. “I wanted to work in an area where I could help the environment and ultimately people. I saw how the environment came second to profit in Japan in the 80′s and 90′s and the negative impact this imbalance had on people and nature. I wanted to do something to contribute in a positive way,” Yuki said.

Halfway into her degree she was frustrated by the slow bureaucratic process of assessment and policy writing and sought a more direct path to help the environment and people.

Yuki went to India and volunteered with Mother Teresa in Calcutta for six months. Here she looked after sick and dying people who could not afford care.

“A beautiful death is for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted.” Maria Teresa. [1]

During this time Yuki witnessed the  healing power of human touch. People who had lived through unimaginable hardships, were malnourished, poverty stricken, diseased and dying, would improve when touch and nurturing were part of the treatment process.

Inspired by this experience she decided to go back to Hokkaido to study Shiatsu and Traditional Chinese Medicine. After completing her qualification in Hokkaido, she returned to Melbourne and furthered her studies at the Australian Shiatsu College. “The 1990′s was a very materialistic time in Japan. I didn’t feel as though I belonged there. I chose to come back to Melbourne where I began my life as a student and complete the journey, ” said Yuki.

In 1998 Yuki opened the Bridge Road Shiatsu Clinic. At this time the holistic approach to health care wasn’t commonly accepted by western medicine. But people suffering from symptoms and illnesses that couldn’t be treated by western medicine were turning to alternative medicine and achieving good results.

“A lot of people came to me with symptoms that were likely triggered by stress. They found Shiatsu would relieve their stress and allow their bodies to heal themselves, slowly. It is part of the process of Shiatsu. I was happy to be helping people with their recovery,” Yuki said.

After 8 years on Bridge Road Yuki saw the need to expand her business and work with like-minded practitioners from other disciplines. This was where the idea for Four Seasons Wellness Centre began.

“As alternative medicine became more accepted by conventional medicine it was clear to me that I couldn’t manage the demand for treatment on my own. I needed others with different skills to move forward,” she said.

Four Seasons Wellness Centre opened on Johnston Street, Abbotsford, in 2006. Since it was launched the centre and the neighbourhood have both experienced a period of tremendous growth.

At the centre Yuki has realised her vision and now works with nine other practitioners from different disciplines.

Locally, cafes, bars, specialty record stores, barbershops, boutiques and a native plant nursery have opened. Nearby buildings are being converted into luxury apartments creating a community atmosphere in what was once an industrial wasteland under a railway bridge on the way to what was once the home for ‘wayward girls’ (Abbostford Convent Magdalen Laundries). Nearby Victoria Park, previously a hang-out for drug users and dubious characters, has become a friendly open space for local recreation.

Times have changed and there’s been some healing. Could it be  Yuki’s healing touch spilling out?

([1]. Quote sourced from Wikipedia: Spink, Kathryn (1997). Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography. New York. HarperCollins, p.55. ISBN 0-06-250825-3.)