Zen Shiatsu is the kind of Shiatsu I use most regularly in my practice, when I talk about “Shiatsu”, this is what I am referring to, and this is what you will receive if you come for a treatment with me. This style is based on the work done by one of modern Shiatsu’s greatest developers Shizuto Masunaga. This system relies heavily on using diagnosis and a modern understanding of the ancient Chinese theory to rebalance the body’s energy. In this model the therapist seeks out kyo and jitsu energy qualities, which can be changed through touch. These terms mean many things but can be thought of simply as areas of too much energy and too little. Patterns like this arise from ill-health or “dis-ease” – simply living “out of balance” and when equalised often result in marked improvements in the conditions that caused them.
In Zen Shiatsu, imbalances can affect and can be caused by the physical body, mental, emotional and even spiritual health.
- Do you have indigestion caused by stress?
- Or are you stressed because of the indigestion?
- Or are you craving for something more in life?- craving mentally and physically – stress and indigestion
The beauty of Zen Shiatsu in treatment then, is that by working in this way we may affect the mind, body and spirit as one and see changes not only in the complaint, but also in its fundamental cause.
Tokojiro Namikoshi advocated the Western approaches to medicine often to the exclusion of Chinese Medicine principles. He incorporated trigger points and neuro-muscular techniques and was largely responsible for bringing modern Shiatsu to the West. This style is still regularly used in the U.S. though we now seem to consider relaxation and comfort over effectiveness of treatment and “softer” styles are now more popular.
This is an incorporation of a way of living into a Shiatsu style. Classical Chinese theories are followed along with the Macrobiotic principles of food and health. Living in harmony with the world around us and eating a balanced and healthy diet is paramount to this style.
Seiki is not a kind of Shiatsu exactly, maybe it is “un-Shiatsu” or just a state of mind, but whatever it is it is certainly very special and very beautiful.
Seiki was invented by Akinobu Kishi a student of Masunaga in an attempt to find his own way of healing for himself and others. He found that Shiatsu didn’t encompass his own beliefs and relied too much on interpretation and diagnosis. Kishi wanted to find a spontaneous and non-judgemental technique and Seiki is the result of many years of dedicated work in this area.
Kishi called this method “Seiki Soho” which loosely means an empathetic and allowing way of treatment. It is very fluid and for many people quite spiritual. There is no attempt at healing, but simply allowing our energy patterns to guide us and giving ourselves permission to remove the barriers we have put up. Using touch, the therapist is simply there to support, create space and guide us in the right direction.
Many therapists have followed Kishi for many years trying to absorb and grasp the elusive essence of Seiki. During a weekend course with Kishi back in 2007, Kishi took me to one side and said “You are Seiki – What you do is Seiki – you should go and teach it!. Hopefully, I can do justice to this great man’s teachings, and life’s work, through my practice, and I always try and keep a little bit of Seiki going on in whatever I do.