Shizuto Masunaga developed Keiraku Shiatsu based on traditional Chinese Medicine classics and Meridian theories. Keiraku Shiatsu is the origin of what is now called Zen Shiatsu in the West.
However, Keiraku Shiatsu and Zen Shiatsu are very different. Shiatsu practitioners and teachers in the West have modified (or even misinterpreted) the Masunaga's original teachings to adapt and develop into their styles. As a result, they have become a completely different form.
Masunaga, a former psychology professor who studied Shiatsu directly from Namikoshi at the Japan Shiatsu College, combined his understanding of Western psychology with Traditional Eastern Medicine. Based on the Chinese Medicine classics, bioscience and psychology, combined with his clinical experiences, Masunaga developed his theory and practices of Keiraku Shiatsu. Keiraku Shiatsu is also called Iokai Shiatsu, as Iokai is the name of the institute Masunaga founded.
Keiraku means “meridian,” an energy channel which runs all over the body just below the skin (between the skin and muscles). What flows through these meridians is called Ki in Japanese and Qi in Chinese. The life force or vital energy governs all physiological, mental and emotional functions.
Each meridian is closely related to a corresponding internal Organ, which gives the meridian its name, such as Heart, Spleen, and Kidneys. Each of the meridians is not only related to the physiological function of its Organ, but it also has a psychological, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspect that controls and influences all the activities of living human beings. (Note that the Organ functions in Chinese medicine differ from the organs in Western medicine terms.)
Keiraku Shiatsu is a hands-on therapy that helps heal and prevent ailments, correct imbalances, and promote health by stimulating the meridians' proper energy flow.
Vertical, sustained and supportive pressure
Although the practitioner of Keiraku Shiatsu uses various hands-on techniques, the acupressure direction is always vertical. According to Masunaga, vertical pressure in Keiraku Shiatsu is similar to the force of gravity, atmospheric, and water pressure present in the natural environment; therefore, is the most healing to a living body. Deep vertical acupressure can efficiently transmit through the muscle, fat, and connective tissue and stimulate the meridians' Internal Organs.
Three principles of acupressure in Keiraku Shiatsu:
Sustained pressure (3-7seconds or 1 to 2 breaths per pressure)
Supported pressure (the practitioner never relies on their muscle strength to apply pressure but by leaning on the receiver using their own body weight)
Diagnosis and treatment of Kyo/Deficiency and Jitsu/Excess
In Masunaga's theory, all symptoms are diagnosed as either Jitsu (excess) or Kyo (lack/emptiness) in the meridians. Then, the practitioner uses various hands-on techniques to transfer the excessive Ki/energy (Jitsu) to the area (meridian) that is weak or lacking in Ki (Kyo).
Jitsu/Excess and Kyo/Deficiency can be described as below:
Jitsu 実 - fullness, tension, bunched-up, heat, knot, bulging musculature, buzzy, resistance when pressed
Kyo 虚 - lack, emptiness, hollow feeling, weak musculature, quiet, no resistance when pressure
To identify Kyo/Deficiency and Jitsu/Excess, the practitioner feels the receiver's Ki by palpating the surface of the receiver’s body, where the meridians run, and their back and abdomen(Back and Hara diagnosis).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Keiraku Shiatsu have systematic pattern differentiations for treating Excess and Deficiencies. For effective treatment, this pattern differentiation is the key to selecting points or meridians and the techniques used for treatment (tonification or sedation).
The Shiatsu practitioner uses a manual technique to disperse Jitsu/Excess and tonify Kyo/Deficiency by transferring the excessive Qi to the deficient area. In this way, the tension and tightness in the Jitsu area can relax, and the weak and flaccid area can regain normal function and resilience. Usually, diagnosis and treatment take place simultaneously. Deeper pressure and more extended holding are required to reach the empty deficient area. Stimulating and quicker pressure and movement are applied to disperse excess Qi in the Jitsu area. By holding Kyo/Deficient area with one hand (Yin/mother-hand) and Jitsu/Excess with the other (working/active hand) simultaneously, Kyo and Jitsu can establish a connection and resonate with each other; thus, excess Qi of Jitsu transfers to Kyo area (two-hands technique). The practitioner incorporates stretches to open specific meridians or disperse the excess in the meridians.
The distortion is corrected by applying the proper pressure along the meridians. Thus, the receiver goes back to a healthy, balanced state.
In Masunaga's theory,
Full-body 60 min / 90 min
The treatment takes place on a mattress/or futon on the floor. The receiver is fully clothed. We recommend that you wear loose, comfortable clothing for treatment.
Before Shiatsu treatment
Please wear loose, comfortable clothes.
Do not have a large meal or any alcohol.
Read the consultation form carefully and sign it after ensuring you understand everything.
You cannot have treatment if you:
have been pregnant for less than three months
have any serious illness or injuries that need GP's approval to have treatment, and you haven't obtained one
have any medical condition that requires immediate medical help, such as infection, fever, or injuries still at the acute stage.
have any contagious disease, such as skin disease and infection.