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."
THE FIVE ZEN SHIATSU PRINCIPLES
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
The 'clock' stretch - for preparation, observation
and diagnosis; basic
stretches and rotations in supine, prone, & lateral
techniques for hands, feet, back, head & neck;
these Zen Shiatsu principles including utilization
of body weight via crawling, & meditative Ki stretches.
- Hara: an introduction and its importance
- Treatment as diagnosis as treatment
- Five element applications in diagnosis and
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.