Zen Shiatsu has its roots in Buddhism meditation practices. It is a new concept of shiatsu massage. Zen shiatsu uses shiatsu acupressure points (tsubo) and shiatsu meridians. What is special about zen shiatsu is that before starting a shiatsu massage the therapist will do a diagnose of the shiatsu meridian chart to find out which of the meridians have blocked points in the meridians.
Understanding zen shiatsu
Shizuto Masunaga is the founder of Zen Shiatsu and he taught this style at his Iokai Shiatsu Center in Japan and in other schools and seminars in the west. The other master Namikoshi taught shiatsu massage using acupressure/shiatsu points along the meridians using thumbs and hands while zen shiatsu therapy uses also knees, elbows and feet.
The other aspect which comes with zen shiatsu is the hara diagnose before starting a shiatsu massage therapy. While the patient lies on his back on a mat, the therapist will do a shiatsu diagnosis of the hara (stomach). Hara diagnosis will help the shiatsu therapist find which of the meridians need to be treated to stimulate the healing response of the patient, so that the meridian energy system of the patient is normalized.
The Iokai Shiatsu Center students learn zen shiatsu and they receive a license when they graduate. In order to become a zen shiatsu master and understand the teachings of Shizuto Masunaga at Iokai Shiatsu Center and other countries, the students needed to practice zen meditation for a few years. Only through zen meditation a therapist can become a zen shiatsu master. Through meditation a therapist can understand the meaning of the energy which flows through the meridians in the body. This topic is not usual to random people. It involves a very deep understanding of very unusual things. People usually understand things that are real to them, but chi flow or meridians are not material things and in order to understand them the therapist has to develop his body and mind and understand these things with the heart.
Definitely zen shiatsu has a lot of benefits. You might want to find a zen shiatsu therapist and try it. I’m sure it deserves the time and money. You can watch some videos, with Shizuto Masunaga giving a shiatsu massage, in the shiatsu training video tutorials. Personally when I watched the videos for the first time I thought that this is very aggressive using the knees and elbows and seeing the patient in those weird positions. At the end of the videos I felt I would like to be in the place of that woman to get a zen shiatsu massage from master Masunaga. If you feel bad and you don’t understand why, a shiatsu therapist will answer this question for you and will help to balance your energy with a zen shiatsu massage.