Zen Shiatsu was developed in Japan in this century by Shizuto Masunaga (増永静人 1925-1981). It integrates a variety of oriental techniques and healing modalities. While most traditional schools of Shiatsu emphasise thumb pressureon points, Masunaga uses the whole body to work with the other’s whole body. We Zen Shiatsu practicioners connect to the energetic properties of the receiver`s meridians via mostly physical contact of fingers, palms, elbows, knees, feet and other parts of the body but also incorporate stretches, manipulations and ampaku (work on the hara). In Zen Shiatsu we aim to bring more energy into weak areas and disperse the energy where there is tension while at the same time stimulating the intrinsic capacities of the body to regain its balance and healthy state.
“The basic and most important principle underlying health is the balancing of our life force and maintenance and reliance on our body’s own natural healing power” (Shizuto Masunaga)
Masunaga developed Zen Shiatsu from its traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) foundations and introduced a meridian-based treatment which synthesises the organ/meridian functions of TCM with certain ideas from biology and psychology and a specific theory which explains the harmony and disharmony of meridians as a dynamic interaction, which is applied as one of the diagnostic tools. He introduced the two-handed connection and the concept of the meridians as expressions which moves the meridian from the physical body onto the energetic life force (KI) level. This helps us to understand that the meridians vibrate not only in the body but also resonate in the whole of a person`s energy field. Zen Shiatsu is therefore not only a physical technique but reaches far beyond by representing a means of healing the life force within our bodies.
Like in Zen, the idea that less is more influences all the modalities around the treatment. We Zen Shiatsu practicioners see ourselves much more in the role of enablers than doers with the perspective on being with another rather than doing something to the receiver. With this emphasis on Zen presence and spontaneity together with its openness to a range of techniques Zen Shiatsu is probably the most eclectic oriental bodywork.
Following the approach of oriental medicine, in Zen Shiatsu we do not look for a specific disease but instead try to diagnose the unhealthy phenomenon or pattern that is occurring in a particular individual. We try to find out why this disease developed in the first place and work from there rather than search for a cure for a specific symptom.