Ending Zen

Over the past year and more the Zen School of Shiatsu has, like everyone else in the country, been through challenging times .  Until quite recently, we had hopes of the school being able to continue delivering our unique learning-and-teaching experience.

We had, with the generous agreement of our former landlords at Great Eastern Street, been released from the crippling expense of that lease: it had been an affordable expense until the UK government played political ball with overseas student restrictions and simultaneously increased accreditation costs to way beyond what a small institution could afford.


We agreed terms with the British School of Shiatsu-Do to share their premises at a cost that would be covered by the existing standing order agreements.  We adjusted the timetable to reflect the school’s altered circumstances.  Principal continued to bear the burden of most of the teaching while fellow-tutors also contributed their time, energy and love: none took any payment.

We sustained what we believed were reasonable hopes of new enrolments in autumn and winter, as in previous years, and for the Zen School of Shiatsu Ltd to continue.  However, in September/October the remaining students paying by standing order, on whom we relied to be able to pay the rent for our share of the BSS-Do premises, reduced their agreed payments to a level lower than the rent.  It was explained to them that the future of the school was in their hands, but to no avail.  One of them even asked for a refund or reduction of fees.

The School was under no contractual obligation to deliver teaching at any specific place or time.  We moved out from Finsbury Park – keeping the same timetable but teaching in Tutors’ homes like two or three other Shiatsu Schools.  Since then Tutors have experienced how this system was proving both popular and effective.

Unfortunately, due to subsequent developments and one student even further reducing the agreed payment, it became clear that the school might not be in a position to meet unforeseen future obligations.  The Director took legal advice and was advised that as it is unlawful to operate when insolvent, we should close the company.


Former Tutors have agreed to use our best endeavours to see our remaining students through to qualification:

Those students who are fully paid-up and not time-expired can continue studying towards completing their Diploma Advanced Shiatsu accredited by the Zen Shiatsu Society with individual Tutors, at their discretion and at mutual convenience, on the same basis as we have been ‘working for love’ under the Zen School.

Those students with outstanding balances to pay have been sent closing Statements of Account.  They may negotiate with individual Tutors if they wish to continue studying, at the discretion of individual Tutors and subject to some form of financial settlement to be agreed with the Tutor.  Alternatively, they may approach the British School of Shiatsu-Do,  who may be willing to negotiate continuance of formal training taking into account student’s progress to date and for some form of financial settlement to be agreed with the BSS-Do.


Regarding accreditation, our accreditation with Middlesex University must end.  Accreditation or recognition remains unaffected with the Zen Shiatsu Society, Embody, Complementary Therapists Association, Shiatsu Representatives UK, Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council.


We offer heartfelt thanks and appreciation to those who have helped and supported  the School through challenging and stressful times: our former Tutors and the kind and lovely people at the British School of Shiatsu-Do.

We recommend the British School of Shiatsu-Do for Shiatsu Training from Absolute Beginner to Qualified Practitioner.  Click to meet them.

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As from 7th May, the Zen School of Shiatsu is moving. We are going to share facilities with the British School, where our Principal Kris Deva North began his own training more than a quarter-century ago, and where we will continue to offer the unique Zen School learning experience, complete with continuous enrolment to start and University accreditation on completion. Our existing Tutor Team of Michael, Bernadette, Liz, Doug and Kris will continue to share the teaching.

Time Table from 7th May:

Basic for Beginners Wednesday evenings 6.30 to 9pm.

Intermediate Course Tutorials Wednesday afternoons, 2.30 to 5.30

Intermediate Practicals Wednesday evenings 6.30 to 9pm.

Advanced Course Session:  Tuesday, 2.30 to 5.30 (1st Tuesday of the month Supervised Clinical Practice; 2nd Tuesday Case Study Tutorial; 3rd and 4th Tuesdays Specialist Seminars.)

So the Year of the Snake brings a shedding of the Great Eastern skin to be replaced by Finsbury Park – where, I might add, there are other interesting things going on: yoga, aikido, macrobiotic cooking…it will be fun!

See you there!

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Finding the Spirit of Zen in Shiatsu

The Zen approach to Shiatsu has no religious affiliation and yet is a profound spiritual practice. Discuss!
The spiritual aspect of Shiatsu can be found in the essence of Zen. Listening to the words of two Zen Masters helps a seeker to feel the essence. Once felt, it is found and, therefore, profound.

“True knowledge cannot be imparted by words. The Zen mind, enlightened and disciplined, is able to rise above mere technique and go straight to the core of being…to reach the soul… the essence.” –Japanese Ink-Painting. Ryukyu Saito

“In Zen what you must do is let your thoughts pass by. As soon as a thought arises, let it go. If money comes, or a young lady, or sex, or food, or Buddha or God or Zen, let it go: concentrate on your posture and let everything else go by.” –Questions to a Zen master: Taisen Deshimaru.

How then is the practice of Zen applied to the practice of shiatsu?

In the Zen approach students learn how to enter into the correct posture and thereby connect with their Receiver and, thereby, the Universal Spirit:
“Perpendicular pressure means meeting the person at the correct angle, bringing pressure through focus on one’s own hara so that it is a whole-body-coordinated pressure…when focus is on hara and the feet are grounded, Ki comes from the universal spirit…the body remains relaxed….
“Supportive pressure means mother hand and ensuring the receiver’s stability. It also refers to the Yin of the mother hand that listens deeply in the receiver’s Ki body to the effectiveness of the other hand’s Yang pressure….
“Constant or sustained pressure means allowing time for equal pressure to be achieved and appreciated. Reaching that meeting point is the beginning…after that the Ki starts to shift, to melt, spread and transform.” —Michael Cullingworth, Master of the Zen School of Shiatsu

It can be seen, therefore, how the physical practice of shiatsu, a hands-on therapy to help others, connects the practitioner with spirit. To quote Zen Master Taisen Deshimaru once more:
“…it is impossible to understand if one does not practice. If you practice you get back to what is original, to complete purity. That is satori. Not a special state, not a condition of transcendent consciousness.”

As in Zazen – seated Zen meditation – the structure or posture of the Shiatsu practitioner is enough to understand the connection, to feel the essence, to find the spirit.
This illustrates one significant difference between the Zen approach and the religious Buddhist approach: see ‘Zen as a Philosophical Discipline’ by Kris Deva North, Master of the Zen School and reproduced by kind permission of Qi Magazine.

Is there a difference between the spiritual practice of Zen, Zen Buddhism and religious Buddhism?

The Zen philosophy evolved, through assimilation of Taoist concepts, beyond the duality – cause and effect – of traditional religious Buddhism which, like Judaism and later Christianity and Islam, clung to the idea of struggle, between ideals of Good and Evil, the Right Way and the Wrong Way, leading inevitably to division within their belief systems.
Zen, like Taoism, understanding that Right and Wrong depend so much on the view of the observer or practitioner, embraces Harmony.

“With its clear and simple approach uncluttered by shibboleth, ritual and religious cant, Zen offered a refuge from the institutionalisation and sectarian divisions of Buddhism and the increasing tendency of many Buddhists to treat the Buddha as a kind of deity – he who said there is no God – and from the frustratingly unworkable concept of duality which condemns every Buddhist to ‘innate dissatisfaction with this life'” —HH the Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom.

Alas, in the course of time politics prevailed and Zen Buddhism itself divided into sects, each preaching the ‘correct’ path.

That still leaves the simplicity of the Zen approach, a doctrine of No-Mind: a way of seeing with a clarity free of preconception, of letting go duality (The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind, D T Suzuki) allowing for a profound spiritual practice with potential to inform action in this world, whether meditation, shiatsu, martial arts, or just plain livin’!

I have picked a few randomly relevant sayings attributed to various Zen Masters, and others, which may interest you, and a few links to web sites should you want to stroll the path at leisure.

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.” —The Buddha

“I’d like to offer something to help you but in the zen school we don’t have a single thing!” —Ikkyu

“If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be!” —Jesus

“Emptiness is in fact form when we forget the self. There’s nothing in the universe *other* than ourself. Nothing to compare, name, or identify. When it’s the only thing there is, how can we talk about it?” —Taizan Maezumi

“When you expect something, when you aim at something, right there you dilute your energy; you split your energy, you split your attention and it becomes more than the place of yin and yang. You do not only divide, but you create the problem.” —Taizan Maezumi

“The world is like a mirror, you see? Smile, and your friends smile back.” —Japanese Zen saying

“Zen opens a man’s eyes to the greatest mystery as it is daily and hourly performed; it enlarges the heart to embrace eternity of time and infinity of space in its every palpitation; it makes us live in the world as if walking in the garden of Eden” —D. T. Suzuki

“As I see it, there’s no Buddha, no living beings, no long ago, no now. If you want to get it, you’ve already got it–it’s not something that requires time. There’s no religious practice, no enlightenment, no getting anything, no missing out on anything. At no time is there any other Dharma than this. If anyone claims there is a Dharma superior to this, I say it must be a dream, a phantom.” —The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi, tr Burton Watson



‘Zen as a Philosophical Discipline’

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Free Talk: Hand of Mother, Mind of Samurai

Hand of Mother, Mind of Samurai, the connection between the Art of Gentle Healing and the Martial Arts – and the secret pressure points they share.
I first found my way into Shiatsu via Karate and was struck how the Way of the Helping Hand shares the same incision and focus, yet is so different in application. Then in Japan I discovered the word Karate in literal translation means ‘Empty Hand’. And the original Zen School definition of Shiatsu (1992) was ‘giving handfuls of love with hands full of love.’…

  So, we filled the empty hand!
This and more:  Beginners Mind / Empty Mind; Finding Spirit in Zen Shiatsu / Book of Five Rings…
After the Talk, background information on the Zen School and a short demonstration of Shiatsu.  If you are interested in Shiatsu training we also have an Intensive Immersion course for beginners you can join 26th to 29th October – but no pressure, no obligation: you are welcome to the Talk anyway. (On the other hand, if you do want to get going there’s a 5% saving that evening!)
I hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you here. No need to book, just come on by 68 Great Eastern Street London EC2A 3JT.
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Psychic Surgery – Chi Nei Tsang – Hara Shiatsu

This amazing powerful hands-on therapy is probably the nearest you get to do psychic surgery without actually doing psychic surgery!

Chi Nei Tsang also known as Taoist Massage or Hara-Shiatsu combines well with other forms of healing and bodywork.

You can start your CNT Training this weekend 13th & 14th October at the Zen School of Shiatsu & London CNT Institute.  No pre-requisites! Beginners Welcome.  Click to register.

Click here for directions

Click for CNT Article by Kris Deva North (teaching this weekend) first published in Positive Health Magazine.

Click for CNT Training and Certification info

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by Kris Deva North

Master of the Zen School of Shiatsu

Hand and mind-power: loving touch, samurai focus and Chinese medicine combine in a simple manual therapy underpinned by a complex body of theory.

Theory behind the Therapy

The Zen approach to Shiatsu combines the wisdom of the Tao, the basis of Chinese medicine, with Mu-Shin the Beginner’s Mind of Zen, trusting in the perfection of now, however it should manifest.

Whilst drawing from the same underlying theory as acupressure and acupuncture the Zen approach differs in aspects of diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, and the personal self-development of practitioners. Treatment is based on the ebb and flow of the force known as Ki, bio-electromagnetic energy, or energy-intelligence, throughout the organ-meridian networks.

The approach to treatment is holistic, a hands-on therapy that aims to:

  • harmonise the flow of energy throughout the entire being: mind, body and spirit through the Fourteen Meridians;
  • seek the underlying cause of conditions as well as helping alleviate symptoms;
  • open the Receiver’s awareness to the environment hosting  the condition;
  • facilitate the Receiver ‘s participation in their own healing process, while understanding Nature as the true healer, Shiatsu but an intermediary.
  • harmonise the Five Elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood and thus maintain spiritual, energetic and physical health.

Since the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951 (last used in 1944!) any complementary therapy can be practised in England without restriction or, indeed, qualification.  Even nowadays, the organisation and regulation of the profession, with defined standards, code of ethics, and protection for both public and practitioner, is voluntary.  Practice is based on intuitive loving-touch, supported by compassion, with knowledge and understanding defined in a National Occupational Standard.

Historical Definitions

“Shiatsu means finger-push.”  Traditional Japanese.

“Shiatsu means giving handfuls of love with hands full of love” Zen School of Shiatsu 1993

“Zen Shiatsu is a mindful approach to contact-healing based on the organ-meridian networks of Oriental Medicine in their physical, energetic and spiritual aspects” Zen Shiatsu Society 2004

“Shiatsu is a touch based therapy that applies pressure to areas of the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting imbalances, and maintaining and promoting health.  Shiatsu is a Japanese word that literally means finger pressure.  Shiatsu derives its theoretical and practical roots from the ancient traditions of Oriental medicine. Today it is an autonomous treatment method influenced by Chinese, Japanese and Western knowledge.  An aim of Shiatsu is to promote the flow of Ki.”  UK Standard CNH13 July 2009


Zen is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese chan, from the Sanskrit dhyan, meaning mindful spontaneity

Hara, a Japanese word literally meaning belly, in Chinese and Japanese tradition houses the life-force (Ki). In Shiatsu “working from hara” is sinking the mind into the hara, thus awareness flows in an uninterrupted stream towards the receiver.

The centre of the hara, the tan-den, is the body’s centre of gravity

Ki, a Japanese word used in Zen Shiatsu to describe the life-force said to flow through the meridians, sometimes described as bio-electro-magnetic energy. (Chinese: Qi or Chi, Sanskrit: Prana.)

Kyo, a Japanese word meaning ‘the world of emptiness’ used in Zen Shiatsu to describe an imbalance of deficiency, often indicated by a localized sense of emptiness, coldness or lack of sensation or energy.  It is always used in contrast with the word Jitsu.

Jitsu, a Japanese word meaning ‘full’ and used in Shiatsu to describe an imbalance of excess, often indicated by a localized sense of fullness, heat or excess (in contrast with kyo) sensation or energy.

Tonification, Shiatsu techniques for harmonising a kyo imbalance

Sedation/Dispersal, Shiatsu techniques for harmonising a jitsu imbalance

Meridian, a term used in Shiatsu to mean the channels said to exist in the being through which the ki flows

Tsubo, a Japanese word meaning ‘pressure point’ used to describe the points on meridians

Constitution, the predominant element in the genetic/hereditary nature of an individual.  Sometimes taken to include long-term factors such as aspects of lifestyle, history and attitude that are less likely to change although they can be distorted by subsequent Conditions.

Condition,  the predominant element in the life of an individual as affected by circumstances, which may lead to an environment allowing Imbalances to occur.

Imbalance,  issues that might be influenced in the course of a treatment or series of treatments; specific symptoms that could manifest as kyo or jitsu aspects of  elements, meridians or tsubos.

Element, understood in Shiatsu to refer to one of the ‘Five Elements’ of Oriental medicine that govern aspects of being: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood.


Intuition is the primary diagnosis, supported by Looking and Asking to understand how conditions developed, and Sensing and Touching to explore what is manifesting in the moment.

Intuitive Diagnosis is awareness of the Earth connection between participants, the Giver of Shiatsu and the Receiver, and allowing all possibilities of understanding and healing, even before they meet.  This is attained by the practice of Mu-Shin, or Empty Mind, unclouded by expectation.

Sensing is scanning the energy-field to feel the different energy-levels which may manifest as heat or cold, or a strange feeling of magnetic connection, or, just a feeling.

Touching Diagnosis is trusting Intuition to take the hands where needed, to harmonise  imbalances of:

Kyo – the World of Need, emptiness,  lack: often the underlying cause, a more Yin state.

Jitsu – more excessive; more obvious, often the symptom, and more Yang.


Diagnosis is treatment, treatment is diagnosis. The practitioner adapts to the Receiver’s response to treatment, combining skill, compassion and intuition in a paradox of Mu-Shin and mindfulness.

Treatment works on three levels:

Physical:   Shiatsu means finger-push.  When the Giver’s hand, finger or thumb makes contact with the skin of the Receiver, even through the light clothing recommended for receiving a treatment, heat is generated, melting the gel around cells in the vicinity.  As the gel becomes a solution, suspended toxins are released into the lymphatic system to be eliminated through the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Energy-experiment 1:  To describe the effect of single contact: Hold hands with a stranger (after first introducing yourself and explaining the purpose of your experiment.)  Observe how the touch habituates, how after a while the strange hand becomes familiar, then friendly, then hardly distinguishable from your own hand.

Energetic:  the solution better allows conduction of the bioelectromagnetic Ki’s healing message through the connective tissues and organ-meridian networks regulating the body-mind systems.

Energy-experiment 2:  To describe the effect of dual contact: Lightly touch the supinated arm of a stranger in two places, one hand on their wrist, the other on their elbow.  Have the subject close their eyes, and you close yours as you maintain contact.  After a few breaths, slowly increase the pressure of your touch, and then slowly decrease the pressure, still maintaining contact.  Observe how, although you are intellectually aware of touching in two places, it feels like only one.  Ask the subject how many places they feel being touched.

Spiritual:   Mu-Shin, Connection with Spirit and mindful  Intuition lead to Intention: where the Mind goes, the Ki follows, and where the Ki flows, the blood follows.  The Giver’s Intention is to help, to harmonise, and to allow, with love and compassion, without judgement.

A Receiver’s symptoms are outward signs of inward dis-harmony.  The Giver seeks the deficiency which allowed the condition to enter, take hold, grow and flourish!    The treatment would seek to tonify the kyo and where appropriate disperse the jitsu.

Always the love and compassion of the Heart Connection infuse the practitioner’s Intention, always mindful of the healing power of Earth, supporting from the centre.

One pioneer of the Zen approach to Shiatsu, Shizuto Masunaga, propounded the idea that it is the Intention of the practitioner that determines the efficacy of the treatment.   Intention is thought, the electronic impulses passing through the bundles of fibre that comprise the brain.  These impulses cross the boundaries of credibility into the energy-field of the practitioner, entering and influencing that of the receiver.

Energy-experiment 3: (for which I am indebted to Zen Shiatsu-Master Takeo Suzuki of Tokyo).  To describe the effect of Intention on sensitivity: Invite a colleague to be the subject and explain you are going to apply pressure to their leg twice.  Place your extended thumb on the bifurcation of the gastronemius (belly of the calf-muscle – Tsubo 57 on the Urinary-Bladder meridian.)

Apply pressure with the silent thought “I love you.”

Remove your thumb.  Pause for a moment then reconnect with exactly the same point.

Apply identical pressure with the silent thought “I hate you.”

Remove your thumb.

Ask the subject what difference they felt between the two pressures.

The Practitioner

Ki connects mind and body: to help harmonise Ki flow in others, the practitioner looks after the flow in self, with attention to diet, way of living, and meditational exercises such as Qi Gong (Chi Kung) and Tai Chi.

Intuition, Skill and Knowledge are consciously developed, like the training of mind and muscle in conventional education.

Vulnerability to energy-depletion, contamination, and karmic debt is countered with self-cultivation and spiritual development.  Whether a Receiver suffers from a terminal condition, emotional problem, or simply needs stress relief, the Giver guards against the risk of karmic interference by acknowledging, from a deep well of loving-kindness, that each being is responsible for itself.

“Let the right outcome happen”…without attachment to cure, or success.

The Zen Shiatsu practitioner draws on other forms when guided, with Mu-Shin, by Intuition, through Spirit, without limitation or restrictions of dogma.


Assessing the interplay of elements in the Receiver yields recommendations for self-healing and to prevent recurrence.  Chi Self-massage and suggestions about exercise and meditation can help a Receiver transform stress into vitality.

 Contra-indications and Controversy

Few conditions are absolutely forbidden treatment.

Cancer  – There are two opposing views on Shiatsu treatment for cancer with medical evidence for neither.  One is that enhancing energy-flow facilitates the spread of cancerous cells.  The other claims by fortifying the immune system Shiatsu helps counter the side-effects of conventional medical treatment.  In practical terms, when a cancer patient seeks out a Shiatsu practitioner they have usually sought elsewhere without satisfaction.  It is for the individual practitioner to decide.

Children –  Shiatsu being “Complementary” and not “Primary” health-care it is both contra-indicated and illegal to treat a sick child instead of referring it to a doctor for medical treatment. A signed disclaimer or authority from the parent does not legalise it!

Infectious/contagious diseases, drunk or  drugged – treatment is contra-indicated.

Pregnancy – in the first trimester pressure is contra-indicated on certain Tsubos with elimination properties.

Inflammation – rotations, stretches and manipulations are contra-indicated.


Shiatsu teachers like to tell the story of the scientist visiting a colleague.  Seeing a horse-shoe nailed to the laboratory wall he says, “Surely you don’t believe in that kind of superstition?”

“Indeed not,” replies the colleague, “But they tell me it works anyway.”

 *          *            *

Learn more at the Free Talk and Demonstration  ‘Hand of Mother, Mind of Samurai – Zen Shiatsu’ with Kris Deva North at the Zen School of Shiatsu on Wednesday 24th October, 6.45 to 9pm.  No need to book, just come on by 68 Great Eastern Street London EC2A 3JT.

Further Information:

Zen School of Shiatsu qualification is accredited by Middlesex University and validated by the Zen Shiatsu Society for entry to the National Shiatsu Register of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. www.learn-Shiatsu.co.uk


Finding Spirit in Zen Shiatsu” Kris Deva North  Universal Tao Publications UK (2006)  ISBN-13: 978-0955443008

“Shiatsu: Ancient Techniques for the 21st Century” Kris Deva North Positive Health magazine Issue 95 (Dec 2003)

“Nourishing Destiny – The Inner Tradition of Chinese Medicine”  Lonny S Jarrett Spirit Path Press; 1st edition (1999) ISBN-13: 978-0966991604

“Hara Diagnosis – Reflections on the Sea” Matsumoto & Birch, Paradigm (1988)ISBN-13: 978-0912111131

“Zen Shiatsu: How to Harmonize Yin and Yang for Better Health” Shizuto Masunaga & Wataru Ohashi Japan Publications (1977) ISBN-13: 978-0870403941

Author Information

Kris Deva North Cert.Ed., Master of the Zen School of Shiatsu.

After 25 years in business and management development Kris became involved in complementary healthcare.  On attaining both educational and Shiatsu qualifications in 1991, he travelled through Southeast Asia, Japan and USA learning from masters of traditional oriental medicine.  In 1993 he founded the Zen School of Shiatsu, which in 2009 became the first Shiatsu institution to be accredited by the British Accreditation Council and in 2010 the first to have its qualification university-accredited by Middlesex University.  Kris sat on the Assessment Panel of the Shiatsu Society, before founding the Zen Shiatsu Society in 2004.  He was a founder member of the Shiatsu Regulatory Group and closely involved with Skills for Health developing the Shiatsu National Occupational Standard CNH13.  In 2009 he was elected to the Shiatsu Profession-specific Board of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

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Power QiGong, Wonderful Backrub, Turn Stress into Vitality

Enjoy three powerful events this weekend with Kris Deva North Master of the Zen School of Shiatsu, and many others at the Mind Body Soul Experience at Olympia 2, Hammersmith Road, Kensington  Directions.

29th September QiGong for Power Fitness Mind Body Soul EXPERIENCE ZONE:11.30am-12.00pm.  Techniques tried and tested for thousands of years now work for modern men and women to become more Body-fit, Mind-fit, Spirit-fit, Energy-fit in fact Perfect-Fit for purpose as an effective human being!

30th September Wonderful Backrub Mind Body Soul STAGE: 1.30pm-2.00pm with Kris & Anamarta.  Beginners welcome, couples and singles, no experience necessary.  “I had absolutely no idea of how wonderfully young I could feel again until I felt my partner’s hands lift off my shoulders after only seventeen minutes of in-depth rubbing.  I, like you, had always thought back pain and neck ache went with the job.  With this beautiful sensual massage they just went, and we could get back on the job – stress-free, pain free, refreshed, relaxed and revitalised.  We did it again later, just for pleasure this time, and that’s all I’m saying!”

30th September Turning Stress into Vitality Mind Body Soul WORKSHOP ROOM 1: 2.45pm-3.30pm. Learn the Three F’s to transform your stress into Vitality.  Stress itself is perfectly normal.  Its how we react to Stress that gives us a headache.  But we can learn how to transform it into Energy, from the Stress up here in our head into Energy where we can make much better use of it.  You can Learn with us

* Exercises + Meditations to reduce stress immediately

* Specific Techniques to care for those vital organs…

* Taoist Practice Exercise Plan to enjoy long-term benefits

* A better Way to manage Life

Come on by the Zen School of Shiatsu on Stand B37.  We are giving lots of seated-shiatsu treatments, raising money for Help a Capital Child, telling people about our School, and meeting potential students!

IT COULD BE YOU! Come on by Stand B37, sit down and take the bliss.  We would love to meet you.

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Hand of Mother, Mind of Samurai – Zen Shiatsu

Shiatsu Journey to the West
by Kris Deva North

A simple manual therapy underpinned by a complex body of theory this art of gentle healing combines loving touch, samurai focus and Chinese medicine.

Shiatsu evolved from the healing practices of ancient China some three-and-a-half millenia ago. Huang-Ti, the Yellow Emperor, codified the theory behind the therapy. Treatment, from acupuncture to herbs, he decreed, should vary according to the life-style, environment and location of his subjects. For those dwelling in the mild climate of the central regions who were “able to obtain a varied diet without great exertion” massage was recommended to harmonise the elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood and thus maintain spiritual, energetic and physical health.

Local healing traditions evolved across the “Middle Kingdom” (between Heaven and Earth) and its spheres of influence, from Tibet to Japan, Siberia to Siam. Earth medicine flourished among the Fang Shi – Masters of the Formula, barefoot healers, witches, wizards and shamans. Under the Han and successive dynasties religious and magical Taoism emerged, peacefully co-existing with behavioural Confucianism, until the Northern Wei saw the rise of Buddhism and persecution of the shamans. Healing became politicised.
Immortality being considered the logical outcome of good health, Chinese alchemists sought an Elixir for their Emperors, retaining a few drops for themselves. External alchemy lost its appeal when it did for a few courtiers and kings as well as a number of alchemists. The search continued. Physicians in the Tang Dynasty vivisecting condemned prisoners described flows of energy through certain invisible channels, which ceased at the moment of death. If this flow could be sustained…
Under Chairman Mao so-called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) synthesised local and traditional approaches and purged the spiritual aspects, overlooking the less obvious magical which had been absorbed into orthodoxy as Five Elements. By the late 1950s standardised TCM was practised alongside dialectically materialist and politically correct western medicine, in the hospitals of a new China.
In modern times things happen fast: 1977 saw the Japanese psychologist Shizuto Masunaga and his student Wataru Ohashi develop a complex set of protocols integrating psychotherapeutic thought, meridian connection and physical pressure. Masunaga described how to induce the phenomenon that occurs between meridian points under pressure, and published it as Zen Shiatsu – how to harmonise Yin and Yang for better health. By making his name and system synonymous with Zen Shiatsu Masunaga reinforced the trend towards standardisation but in the post-war restoration of Japan it was the rival and even more rationalistic Namikoshi system, based on western neurology, that became officially recognised.
Shiatsu went West, welcomed by the eclectic materialists of the New Age. Yin, Yang and Zen, it involved touch, a suitably complex theory, and was said to alleviate symptoms of some chronic conditions resistant to orthodox medicine and reduce the need for medication. Described as a Japanese form of physiotherapy by certain Western Schools, the intuitive loving-touch traditionally practised by barefoot blind healers wearing red headbands became the subject of theses and dissertations by earnest people in white.
The gap between rational/physical and traditional/spiritual began to close with the publication in 1988 of Hara Diagnosis – Reflections on the Sea. Matsumoto & Birch wrote of the flicker of life, the moving Qi between the kidneys, and explored the connections between Eastern and Western medicine. In 1989 at the Columbia Hotel in London Dr Motoyama and his Qi-machine demonstrated energy flowing through the connective tissues at 1.5 volts – hey, presto! energy is real, meridians exist! Shiatsu in the West was ready to enter the new millennium. But the shadow of European bureaucracy threatened English freedom to practise, since the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, any complementary therapy without restriction or, indeed, qualification.
In 2002 nine Shiatsu professional associations sent delegates to form the Shiatsu Regulatory Group under the auspices of the Federation for Integrated Health. The aim was to formulate a National Occupational Standard acceptable to the Sector Skills Council and the nine associations and thirty-seven schools teaching seven different styles. In 2009 Skills for Health produced UK Standard CNH13 and in November 2009 Shiatsu took its place in the Department of Health’s Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

Nowadays, the profession is organised and regulated, with defined standards, code of ethics, and protection for both public and practitioner.

Practice is still based on intuitive loving-touch, with knowledge, understanding and compassion.


Finding Spirit in Zen Shiatsu
Kris Deva North
Universal Tao Publications UK (2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0955443008

Author Kris Deva North, Master of the Zen School of Shiatsu.

Kris is giving a free talk and demonstration on the theme Hand of Mother, Mind of Samurai, on Wednesday 24th October at the Zen School of Shiatsu, 6.45 to 9pm.  You are welcome: no need to book, just come on by.  Find the Zen School of Shiatsu

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Are you a Morning, Afternoon or Evening Person? Weekday Worker or Weekend Wonder?

Hobby or Career?  Beginners Shiatsu starting Thursday 2.30, Saturday 10.30 and 2.30, Tuesday 6.30 at the Zen School.

Beginnning with the Zen approach to Shiatsu: mindfulness, care and compassion;

Moving into the Two Structures for giving Shiatsu safely, to move your client into the Four Positions for receiving Shiatsu; the mysteries of Kyo and Jitsu;

Learning how to protect yourself from energy depletion. Special exercises for giving effective and elegant shiatsu; how to prepare yourself and client for treatment and the effects of treatment; the Seven Principles of Shiatsu, roles of professional organisations, codes of ethics and practice; how to assess your client’s condition and Shiatsu needs, what conditions to avoid (contra-indications); Shiatsu techniques: Palm, thumb and finger pressure; stretch and compression, tonification and sedation in Prone, Supine, Side, and Seated;

Leading to your Certificate in Practical Shiatsu (CPS) and eligibility for insurance as a Junior Practitioner Member of the Zen Shiatsu Society.

No need to book, just come on by and Learn Shiatsu!  Hobby or Career, 4 days or 2 years!

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11th September Zen School Shiatsu Beginners

Back to School! Weekly Enrolments: Tuesday evenings 6.30pm

Pick your course here

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