Welcome to Ningendo shiatsu blog by Russell Makoto. Russell is a shiatsu practitioner & teacher with more than 25 years experience. He has studied & practised shiatsu in Japan, the UK & Australia. Now living in North Eastern NSW, Australia with his wife Annica where they work with 'deep immersion' clients & receive uchi-deshi (live in) students.



Shiatsu... Do you know it's roots?

The roots of shiatsu


I guess it depends on how narrow we want to define the word shiatsu. Technically the word was coined in the early part of the 20th century. It is hard to pin down exactly when but it was certainly in use by 1919 when Shiatsu Ho (finger pressure method) by Tamai Tempaku was published. Tempaku is most often credited with the creation of modern day shiatsu. He first used the word shiatsu in an effort to distinguish it from anma, as he considered the traditional form of Japanese body therapy was losing its emphasis on health and being mainly used for pleasure and relaxation.

Moving shiatsu forward... the right way!

As shiatsu practitioners, it is in our interest for the name of our art to be widely recognised. However, it is more important that those who do recognise the word shiatsu, associate it with the life changing potential that it carries. There is a trap that I believe we, as the shiatsu community, are at risk of falling into. This is that we do not appreciate the depth and potential of our art: that we do not honour our art for what it is! 

Honour the art

Honour the art


I have noticed, with growing despondence, the growth of bureaucracy and the push to justify shiatsu ‘scientifically’ in the shiatsu community. I note that the second half of the word ‘bureaucracy’ only needs one letter to change to reveal its true meaning.

Accepting our power

Why are there people who use their power and position to take more than they need, knowing that others will suffer because of their greed? Because we have not yet recognised the beauty and abundance of our earth and all that reside upon her.

The getting of wisdom

My nephew who was 16 at the time once made a statement that brings into sharp focus the journey of coming to wisdom. He said somewhat authoritively “when I was 14 I thought I knew everything, now, I know I know everything”! A fellow named Socrates (470 – 379 B.C.E) is attributed a statement that sits at the other end of life “wisest are they that know they do not know”. These two quotes embody the essence of the journey to find wisdom.

Grass roots meditation

The year of 2014 is a couple of weeks old & the excuse provided by the time of year for that extra few minutes in bed is ebbing away. It is time to get back into the rhythm of daily practice, the most fundamental of which is to sit & watch the breath for an hour each morning. As I reacquaint myself with the meditation cushion I am reminded that to sit in stillness for a time is to embrace one of the most potent learning environments there is.


Where science reaches the limit of its ability to inform us, intuition knows no such limitations. Where science is a product of the rational mind/ego/small self, intuition is a result of our connection to the totality of what is, egoless/whole self. Why humanity places so much weight on the word of science when it consistently falls short of its promises is a question that goes to the heart of our dysfunction as human beings. As we move toward a more balanced and inclusive world we are giving more weight to our 'feeling' ability, we are moving from our heads to our heart.

Ningendo shiatsu.... honour the art....

Shiatsu that explores the depth of what it is to be human


Shiatsu is an art, and as such is bottomless. Ningendo shiatsu focuses not only on the physical but the whole being, striving to plumb the depths of our human condition. Ningendo shiatsu explores an exchange of energy between giver and receiver, where both parties are required to contribute and where there is potential to move beyond the ordinary waking state and into a level of consciousness that can only be described as a spiritual dimension. I use the word 'spiritual' in the context that we are required to experience ourselves in a wider context, beyond our 'small' self. In this state of consciousness there is acknowledgement of our greater being, and with this acknowledgement the potential of deep healing on all levels of our existence.

At the spiritual level of expression, shiatsu is an exchange of energy via the physical touch, but the subtleties of this art carry us far beyond the physical, and deep into the realm of what is a spiritual practice.

 The philosophy of Ningendo is encased in the expression of our most fundamental nature as human beings. To love & to be loved; to support & to be supported. To see truly & to live fully. To be in intimate contact with our environment & the beings we share our environment with & above all to find & express the true meaning of our life. Our natural humanness is the simple expression depicted in the Japanese character for human being, where one brush stroke rests on another.... supporting & being supported. To express our lives through Ningendo is not a small matter; neither in result nor in endeavour. To live this way requires constant practice and attention. It requires us to consciously place ways in our being that allow us to refer to the larger perspective (to carry & share our uniqueness). In order to embody these ways we are required to practice...  to practice with joy, with our whole being engaged. 

How we practice is to begin using a form; a framework that provides references so that we learn to see when we deviate from the way we have chosen to live. These practices can take many shapes but the best of them carry two important elements; they nurture self awareness and they give an environment in which we experience ourselves in a larger context. For me, the arts of shiatsu, aikido, yoga and meditation form the framework in which I practice; & the natural environment is the stage. For you, it might be any of a myriad of structures. Whatever vehicle we choose we ultimately need to imbue our whole life with this way of being. Each of us carry the responsibility to find our own path & to share that path with the world. We have much to learn from masters, guides & elders of the present and past but each of us must ultimately carry our own load and find our own unique path, expressing Ningendo in our own truth. 


At Ningendo we offer a traditional style 'uchi-deshi' program for experienced shiatsu practitioners. Also 'deep immersion healing' programs tailored to the individuals need for those wishing to work seriously on the path of being human.


If you are interested please email queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.