About Zen Shiatsu

Read on for a definition of this powerful diagnostic and therapeutic style of Asian Bodywork Therapy from the book "The Natural Way of Zen Shiatsu" by David Sergel. (The book was originally entitled "The Macrobiotic Way of Zen Shiatsu.")

"Shiatsu, or 'finger pressure,' evolved in Japan in the last century from 'Anma', a style of massage imported from China centuries earlier. While its deepest roots lie in an instinctive application of pressure to relieve areas of bodily pain, the theoretical base of Shiatsu is classical Chinese medicine. Zen Shiatsu also reflects the cultural background of Japan, permeated by the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Shizuto Masunaga created and developed this style throughout a thirty-year career until his death in 1981."


These principles illustrate the Zen Shiatsu philosophy in action:

- Relax! If the Practitioner isn't comfortable, the receiver won't be either. We transmit relaxation or tension, depending on our consciousness.
- No pressure - just penetration. Pressing results in resistance. Penetration occurs without manipulation of the surface tissue and bypasses mechanisms of resistance.
- Stationary, perpendicular penetration allows Qi/Ki to effectively enter xue/tsubo/acupoints.
- Two-hand connectedness refers to both hands being in contact with the body, and working together as "mother and child hands" or Yin (receptive and still), and Yang (actively working the meridian).
- Meridian continuity - working with the Ki of the whole meridian.


The 'clock' stretch - for preparation, observation and diagnosis; basic stretches and rotations in supine, prone, & lateral recumbent positions; techniques for hands, feet, back, head & neck; techniques demonstrating these Zen Shiatsu principles including utilization of body weight via crawling, & meditative Ki stretches.


- Hara: an introduction and its importance diagnostically
- Treatment as diagnosis as treatment
- Five element applications in diagnosis and treatment

This combination of diagnostic techniques is one of several important identifying factors of Zen Shiatsu. Among the six recognized forms of Shiatsu by the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA), Zen utilizes a very sophisticated system of diagnostics, as well as a very well-delineated meridian system.

About the AOBTA:

For Certified Practitioner (CP) status and other information about the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) please see our website at www.aobta.org

AOBTA Mission Statement: The American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) is a professional membership organization which promotes Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) and its practitioners while honoring a diversity of disciplines. AOBTA serves its community of members by supporting appropriate credentialing: defining scope of practice and educational standards; and providing resources for training, professional development and networking. AOBTA advocates public policy to protect its members. AOBTA also promotespublic education on the benefits, ethics and principles of ABT.