Shiatsu dispensary in Occitania







Stephane et caroline bourguignon


+33 (0)6 59 10 11 99

By Marie Cruysmans


  • Providing Oriental medicine treatments for the disadvantaged

If some people travel long distances to bring Shiatsu to the four corners of the world and make it available to the poorest people, others also choose to make it available here in France to people with low incomes. It is the experience of their travels with Missions Shiatsu Humanitaire, notably in Senegal, and the awareness that these missions have generated that have pushed Caroline and Stéphane Bourguignon to open a traditional health clinic in Gardouch, in the Occitanie region.

Humanitarian Shiatsu also starts here

Caroline and Stéphane, can you describe yourselves in a few words: what path led you to Shiatsu and traditional healing?

Caroline: I started with psychomotricity and specialised in neurodegenerative diseases. It’s a profession that aims to re-establish the links between the physical and the psyche – but I still had a lot of questions and I wanted to understand more precisely by which mechanisms the emotions and the internal and external energies can influence the body and the health. Chinese ethnomedicine seemed to me to be an obvious way to enlighten me in this sense and I decided to make it my profession. Then I met Stéphane, who was also passionate about the same subjects, who introduced me to Shiatsu. Together we opened the Tao Centre and created the EOST School (Ecole Occitane de Shiatsu et Soins Traditionnels).

Stéphane: My background is in finance. For thirty years, I managed an accounting firm in Belgium, while being passionate about the world of energetics and magnetism, until I fell into the arms of Amma, the world famous Indian woman, during one of her world tours. In the shock of this encounter, I felt that she was opening my hands. I then decided to become a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master, and then to train in Shiatsu, before creating in Brussels a first Shiatsu school with my friend Ivan Bel, the EBST (Ecole Belge de Shiatsu Thérapeutique). It is there that my path crossed that of Caroline and that he took us to Occitania to develop our practice of Shiatsu, traditional medicine and their teaching.

Among the various techniques offered at the dispensary is acupuncture.

You then decided to create the Tao Centre together, can you tell me more?

– Stéphane: We followed the same TCM training and we decided to open a traditional treatment centre, which we called the Tao Centre. Our centre offers acupuncture, Tuina, moxibustion, pharmacopoeia and traditional Shiatsu. We have both been practising there for four years now.

The idea of founding a school to pass on your teachings came up. You founded the EOST in which you give many trainings. What is it about teaching that you are passionate about?

– Caroline: We are passionate about what we do, and passing on what we have learned quickly seemed obvious. During our various training courses, we both felt that there was a lack of information and precision in certain areas. So we did a lot of research in order to be able to answer all the questions that we had not found answers to during our courses and we decided to give training courses ourselves as we would have liked to receive them!

– Stéphane: I had previously founded with Ivan Bel the Belgian School of Therapeutic Shiatsu, and it didn’t take Caroline and me long to decide to found our training centre in Occitania.

In therapeutic massage we find Japanese Shiatsu and Chinese Tuina.

Creation of a dispensary

And you don’t stop there, because in October 2021, you decide to open a dispensary at the Tao Centre with the aim of allowing everyone to receive traditional care, even people with low incomes. This is where the humanitarian dimension of your therapeutic project comes in. What motivated this new project?

Caroline: The treatments we provide at the Tao Centre, both Shiatsu and TCM, are not covered by the French Social Security system (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie) and the (rare) mutual insurance companies that are involved in the coverage of these treatments severely limit them.

Our first years of therapeutic practice showed us that some people with modest incomes had a great need to take care of their health with natural medicines, even though they did not have access to them.

Stéphane: Our travels with Missions Shiatsu Humanitaire, especially in Senegal, have shown us the importance of preventive medicines. By allowing people who do not have optimal living conditions to take control of their health on a regular basis, we help them to prevent risky behaviours that can lead to the development of symptoms or potential pathologies.

Guasha is a technique of “scraping” the skin which is very effective in removing toxins and improving its quality. An integral part of Chinese medicine, it effectively complements massage and acupuncture.

How does the Tao Centre clinic work in practice?

Caroline : Anyone who can prove that they have a low income (tax form) can make one appointment per month at the Tao Centre dispensary. They benefit from a greatly reduced rate for all the services offered (70% discount for adults and 85% discount for children under 18). The care given is exactly the same as that given to people who consult the rest of the time. This also allows these patients, if they wish, to have regular follow-up.

Thank you very much Caroline and Stéphane. Long live this magnificent initiative that is the Tao Centre dispensary. May many people benefit from your care, and may this humanitarian project give rise to other dispensaries with the same generosity of heart.


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