Zen Shiatsu is the creation of the late Shizuto Masunaga, a student of the 20th Century Japanese Namikoshi School. The evolution of Zen Shiatsu began about 8,000 years ago. It is often believed that Shiatsu was derived from acupuncture, however, because touch is the most instinctive form of healing, it has been suggested that acupuncture points and meridians were manipulated through rubbing and pressure long before stimulation with stone needles that have been found at Neolithic sites in China 8 millennia ago.
By the 6th century A.D., Chinese medicine, which had reached Japan, began to be refined by the Japanese to the most detailed of form. An advanced study of and manipulation of the abdomen, or hara, evolved – a practice known as Ampuku. Ampuku practitioners would spend up to 12 years of training learning how to diagnose and treat disease exclusively by diagnosing the hara as it is known in Japanese.
The root of Zen Shiatsu practice is the diagnosis of the hara, a vital center of energy(Ki in Japanese/Qi in Chinese/Prana in Ayurvedic), relaxation, and concentration for the practitioner and a key diagnostic center of the patient for discovery by the practitioner of systems in states of kyo or jitsu, excess or deficiency. The same philosophy is a part of Chinese medicine’s differential diagnosis, a method for creating balance where imbalance of organ systems exists in order to re-establish homeostasis. When balance, or homeostasis a.k.a. ‘ease’, exists, it is very difficult for ‘dis-ease’ to assert itself.
Tokujiro Namikoshi founded the Clinic of Pressure Therapy in 1925 (later to become the Namikoshi School). He endeavored to place Shiatsu techniques within a Western science framework and still today Namikoshi therapists favor a Western scientific approach to treatment over classical theory.
Shizuto Masunaga was a student of the Namikoshi School and even taught there for ten years. However, he was already a professor of psychology at Tokyo University and accomplished a blending, with much research into the classical Chinese texts of Chinese scholars, of Western physiology, psychology, and both Western and Eastern models of disease and healing.
As a student under the very accomplished tutelage of Dr. Pamela Ferguson at The Academy of Oriental Medicine(AOMA), Scott Way came to see that his awareness of hara diagnosis and heightened sensitivity to feel Qi in the meridians through touch only fine tuned his abilities as an acupuncturist. In 2002-2003, Scott worked with women suffering with post partum issues using only Zen Shiatsu in a thesis project now published in the AOMA student library. Women who had been suffering in some cases for years with debilitating and disruptive disorders after pregnancies began to have surprisingly rapid improvements and even resolution to these disorders after a series of 5-10 Zen Shiatsu treatments with Scott. Other students working alongside Scott had similarly surprising results with other types of disorders. One of the most profound and exciting results of this anecdotal style of research work happened with a classmate working with children suffering from ADD and/or ADHD.
The nurturing aspect of touch therapy combined with advanced study of Western science and physiology/pathology and Eastern medicine have consistently shown that profound healing can happen for patients. This is why Scott is very excited at the prospect of offering Zen Shiatsu practice to patients when this style of treatment is applicable.
Also, though, Zen Shiatsu is a wonderful therapy for those who may be needle-phobic and suffering from the following issues:
Insomnia, anxiety & depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, muscular tension, headaches, digestive disturbances, menstrual dysfunction, low resistance to infection, backache, synovitis, sprains and strains, neck and shoulder stiffness, joint pain, sinus congestion, retention of fluid in tissues, and poor circulation. Of course, there are many other issues that may be served with Zen Shiatsu treatment. Contact Touchstone Healing to schedule a consultation with Scott to discuss your particular concerns. We are here to help, and look forward to meeting you.