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Ningendo shiatsu blog

Shiatsu… What guides you?

I have come to identify, and endeavour to carry, 7 principles as I practise shiatsu. They have been arrived at partly as a result of my aikido training and in part through a teacher who I had the good fortune to study under in Japan many years ago. I have found their relevance in shiatsu to be valid beyond doubt. They can be divided into 2 groups: the first one is the internal landscape, which comprises of: weight underside, extend,…

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Shiatsu mentoring

For the shiatsu therapist, too much confidence is dangerous and too little is debilitating. Confidence has to be ‘just right’. Not too hot, not too cold … Just right. This delicate balance is important for any shiatsu practitioner but for the new graduate it is crucial. Having a mentor is one of the most reliable ways to both monitor and maintain a good level of practitioner confidence. Most often the shiatsu practitioner works in a solitary situation. Either from home…

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Shiatsu… Overcoming the tyranny of practitioner isolation.

Shiatsu stands on the ability of its practitioners. Our success as practitioners is assisted by the reputation of our art. The energy we give to shiatsu, is returned in multiple ways. To honour the art of shiatsu we are asked to continually hone our shiatsu skills as well as develop personally. This requires us to consistently dedicate time and energy toward our internal landscape and health, as well as our technical ability. In this context shiatsu becomes a spiritual path,…

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Shiatsu… are you ready to teach?

My wife Annica – who is also a shiatsu therapist – received a session from a final year student a couple of years ago. After the session while giving some feedback, Annica suggested a variation on a technique. The students reply was for me astounding. She stated that she could not use a technique that had not been taught in class as it would leave her open to litigation! When Annica related this to me afterward I was deeply saddened.…

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Shiatsu… apprenticeship or institution

The two most recognised names in the shiatsu world, Tokujiro Namikoshi and Shizuto Masunaga, were both extremely gifted practitioners. Contemporaries of the same era, their success as practitioners and teachers has set the standard for shiatsu in Japan and throughout the world. Their success came primarily from their ability as practitioners. As teachers they both were less effective in conveying their clinical ability to students. Why? Namikoshi and Masunaga were both introduced to manual therapies at young ages. Both learnt…

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Bushido’s legacy to shiatsu.

Bushido, the ‘way of the warrior’, is often compared to the western concept of the knight’s code of honour and chivalry. The two were comparable for many hundreds of years. Both valued benevolence, sincerity, justice and loyalty. Both had a strong spiritual perspective, but they diverged in the late medieval period (15th century) when tactics for warfare made mounted knights obsolete in Europe. With the demise of the knightly tradition in the west, and the emphasis on developing the technology…

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Shiatsu… do you know it’s roots?

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,…

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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…

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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. More and more our learning institutions, organisations and practitioners succumb to the pressure exerted by the bureaucratic machine to justify the existence of shiatsu within the community. I have not been able to actually identify this machine. It…

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