The Poetry of Touch

Alchemy, Transformation & Oriental Medicine

Author: Chris McAlister

Cover The Poetry of Touch by Chris McAlister

Buy or listen to the book

The beautiful printed version (ISBN 978-91-987070-5-2):  is a soft-cover book in large A4 format. The advantage of the print version is of course it will give you easy access to quick references when used in your practice or studies. It will also look great on the bookshelf of your practice, your office, or even as a beautiful coffee-table book. Available in most on-line bookstores.

For orders in, and to, Sweden, we recommend BoD – books on demand. But you can of course also order from AdLibris, Bokus and all other major on-line stores. 

Internationally – search your local on-line stores or contact us if you fail to find it. 

The e-book (Amazon Kindle) version of The Poetry of Touch is now available from Amazon

Versions for other platforms are also available in your local on-line stores. 

The audiobook-version is now available for purchase, download and streaming on most platforms, including Audible, Storytel, BookBeat and others. 

Nordic on-line stores: Adlibris and Bokus

Internationally: Barnes & Noble

The Calligraphy is the work of Alain Tauch at Atelier Shiatsu in Paris and shows the Chinese character for Ling, a word that is almost impossible to translate. Some call it universal soul energy…

The Book

The Poetry of Touch by Chris McAlister is a fascinating look into the perspective of a practitioner who has spent most of his life exploring the ins and outs of East Asian Medicine. Given his grounding in shiatsu, he naturally comes from a place of highly valuing the art of touch in the practice of traditional medicine. From this book you really get the sense of how Chris keeps digging for the roots of this medicine, which are embedded in the experience of being embodied and exploring what it means to be fully alive and human – a creature with a rational mind suspended briefly in time between Heaven and Earth.

Chris shares anecdotes and wisdom he has picked up along his long and circuitous journey in East Asian Medicine. He references the classics, especially the Yijing the “Book of Changes” the primary source for Chinese philosophy and worldview. Unraveling the symbols and images that are foreign to westerners, but imbedded in the collective unconscious, he lays out the implications of this foundational text in the practice of medicine. What comes across is not just Chris’s deep scholarship but how he continually practices to dig deeper, always trying to make sense and connect the dots. Tradition is always a recreation of past practices. Never the same, the river keeps flowing, fresh water keeps coming from upstream to carve out the sides and bottom of the river. In the same way, Chris unpacks the healing arts of Oriental Medicine with respect and a genuine feeling for what is essential, and in so doing refreshes it and paves the way for the next generation of practitioners.

In this book, Chris honors the diversity and full depth of East Asian medicine. Not just as a monolith of ancient knowledge, but as a living breathing truth that has to be rediscovered in each practitioner’s life and practice. This is a brilliant example of the path of mastery, which we are all on every time we consciously choose to cultivate this living tradition.

The Author

Chris McAlister has over 30 years of experience in Shiatsu, Acupuncture and Herbal medicine. He has been a practitioner of Taiji chuan, Qigong and meditation since the mid-1980’s. Chris was head teacher in the Shiatsu department of Axelsons school of bodywork in Stockholm for ten years. He has taught Shiatsu and Acupuncture at his own academy and in schools around the world. He is a knowledgeable, experienced and very much appreciated teacher in the global communities of Shiatsu and energy medicine.

Chris McAlister is…

Chief editor at Shiatsu Resources Worldwide

Founder, director and instructor of Mindbodify

President of the ESF: European Shiatsu Federation

Acupuncture and Shiatsu therapist at AlternativAkademin

Qigong, meditation and relaxation instructor at Svenska Energiskolan

Chris McAlister
Photo by Nathalie Fischler

Other books by Chris McAlister

Touching the Invisible: Exploring the Way of Shiatsu

Published by: Authorhouse UK

ISBN: 978-1728352480

Touching the Invisible

Shiatsu: Raum für Begegnung 

Published by: Pirmoni

ISBN: 978-3982314211

Shiatsu: Raum für Begegnung thumb

Revievs & links

Review by Mike Mandl

This book has the makings of a classic, simply because it is one of the best works written around the subject of bodywork and Oriental medicine.

Chris McAlister is currently one of the most prominent ambassadors of Shiatsu and the Asian way of life in the West. Chris’ foundation is a life uncompromisingly and devotedly dedicated to the oriental arts. Chris does not practice Oriental medicine. He lives oriental medicine. He breathes oriental medicine. He is Oriental medicine. That is his destiny. It is wonderful and a gift that he now shares his knowledge in this book, which is as profound as it is broad.

Skillfully sharing knowledge is an art and Chris knows how to package his knowledge in stories. Stories peppered with many personal experiences, with case studies of clients and with entertaining anecdotes. With his easy to read, sometimes poetic and sometimes straight-from-the-heart language, he weaves a web that captures you and takes you on a journey right into the heart of Asian medicine. It leads us to the roots of Asian philosophy, connects it with modern scientific, medical, and philosophical approaches and shows that there are many overlaps between East and West.

It is about energy and how it manifests and shows itself. There are many concepts used in Asia to make this phenomenon tangible. This is where Chris’ wealth of experience becomes apparent: whether it’s the Five Spirits or the I Ching, Chris is very familiar with the most important philosophies – whether from the field of bodywork or Traditional Chinese Medicine – and can present them in such a coherent form that they are a source of inspiration, even for experts.

What really fascinated me while reading this text is that it seems as though Chris is dripping information from a cornucopia: acupuncture points are explained logically and practically; the function of the organs is explained in depth; the pathogenic factors of TCM are discussed and cross connections are made, and new ground is broken.

Last but not least, it is about the Poetry of Touch. Because knowledge is one thing and our relationship with our clients is another. Here, too, Chris goes into depth in a way that no author has ever done before. From the role of the practitioner and the relationship with the patient, to the magic of touch and energy: you will find everything. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to speak of this great book as a classic.

If you were to decide to own only one book, it would be this one. Trust me: It will be your faithful companion for years to come.

Mike Mandl

Author and Director of the International Academy for Hara Shiatsu in Vienna.

Review by Mihael Mamychshvili

Chris McAlister captivates you with his wit, insights, devotion and the ability to look at ancient concepts with fresh eyes.

The Poetry of Touch is the life work of a man who allows himself to be immersed in the healing arts of Shiatsu, acupuncture, Qigong and meditation. A man who has gone through his own healing journey, to a student, to a teacher and working on mastering his art. Bringing innovation, creativity and courage into creating a brighter tapestry, a renewed passion and an opportunity to explore. 

He is a man and a therapist who embodies his principles and transmits that to his clients, students and our profession of Shiatsu therapy. His generous spirit shines in this book again and in his dedication in promoting Shiatsu, whilst deepening it in refreshing ways.

Mihael Mamychshvili

Registered Shiatsu Therapist, founder of Angel Hands Integrative Centre, Vancouver, Canada.

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