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Zen Shiatsu

Zen Shiatsu (Japanese: 禅指圧) is a derivative form of the Japanese therapy Shiatsu, and is particularly popular in the United Kingdom and United States. It was developed by Shizuto Masunaga, a graduate of the Japan Shiatsu College who published a book entitled Shiatsu in 1974. This was translated into English in 1977 and retitled Zen Shiatsu. The name "Zen Shiatsu" was not coined by Masunaga himself but by Wataru Ohashi, the co-author of the English version.

Zen Shiatsu, also known as Masunaga Therapy, is a form of Meridian Shiatsu. A difference between Masunaga's Zen Shiatsu and earlier forms of Shiatsu is that Zen Shiatsu uses not only thumbs and palms but also fists, elbows, and knees.

Zen Shiatsu represents a return of the values of Traditional Chinese medicine, in comparison with anatomically or physiologically based Shiatsu (cf. Tsubo Shiatsu). While the Namikoshi school emphasizes Westernization at the expense of Chinese medical understanding, Masunaga advocated a return to Chinese Taoist practices such as Do-In and Ankyo within the context of Japanese Shiatsu.

The meridian system represents the "crosstalk" between tsubos or acupoints of the human body. It also represents divisions of the complete function of the human organism into discrete spheres of influence. Masunaga advocated treating the whole meridian system through pressure and stretching to achieve systemic change for the entire body.

Shizuto Masunaga founded a Japanese institute called the Iokai Center. "Io" means king/master of medicine, and "kai" means group/association. This center continues to the present day, propagating Masunaga's methods. Zen Shiatsu has proven to be widely influential throughout the US and UK. Students of Masunaga include Wataru Ohashi, Pauline Sasaki, Ryokyu Endo and Stephen Brown.

The primary precept of Zen Shiatsu is the importance of remaining in a Zen-like, present state when practicing shiatsu; nourishing weak kyo areas and dispersing excess jitsu areas; using two-handed technique to better feel the flow of qi (life force); working from the hara (belly), which is the body's energy center; and using perpendicular pressure to access the qi. Masunaga moreover expanded the meridian system, discovering extensions of the classical Chinese meridians, and developed an effective new system of hara diagnosis predicated on his experience as a Western-trained psychologist.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Zen_Shiatsu". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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