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Shiatsu Styles

Different Shiatsu Styles

The complementary therapy Shiatsu is known to date back to the 17th century and maybe earlier. Over this period a number of different Shiatsu styles have emerged. The origins of Shiatsu are in China. It was not formally recognised as a healing therapy in Japan until the mid-1950's, when the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare gave it official recognition.

Three hundred years ago Japanese doctors were required to study a systems called Anma.

Through this they learned about energy channels and pressure points. However the Japanese authorities of the time put so many restrictions on Anma therapy that a new name for the therapy emerged, hence Shiatsu.

Shiatsu Roots

Shiatsu has many different roots and branches. Each variation of this complementary therapy is dependent upon time, location and orientation. Different ways of practising Shiatsu can be very classical and heavily influenced by Eastern thinking, or drawing upon Western influences such as the modern sciences of psychology and physiology. It is difficult to determine that one form of Shiatsu is better than another. They are just different. Different therapists work differently and therapists will often draw from the various Shiatsu styles. What matters is that the therapy applied must be coherent and must have a fluidity to it.

Zen Shiatsu

Zen Shiatsu was created by Shizuto Masunaga. It uses an extended meridian system and the Kyo-Jitsu tonification principle. The Kyo-Jitsu tonification principle demands that the therapist can sense the quality of the energy in a Tsubo in order to treat it. A Tsubo rises from a meridian to the skin in a vortex pattern. Zen Shiatsu emphasises the use of the body areas rather than using the prescribed points.

Five Element Shiatsu

This is a common style for trainee Shiatsu therapists to learn. It includes the classical meridian system and the five element theory.

The five elements are not considered to be material objects rather they are viewed as movements or phases of energy. The five elements are fire, earth, metal, water and wood.

Macrobiotic Shiatsu

It is widely held that the originators of Macrobiotic Shiatsu were George Ohsawa, Michio Kushi and Sizuko Yamamoto.

Their system uses the traditional acupuncture channels and incorporates barefoot Shiatsu. It employs the dietary concepts that emphasise natural, unprocessed food and balanced living.

Shiatsu Home


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