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What is Shiatsu?

What is Shiatsu?

As we prepare for our next 500-Hour Shiatsu Training Program, I decided to answer the question I hear the most: What is Shiatsu?

The translation of the word Shiatsu is “finger pressure.” In addition to applying pressure with fingers and thumbs, practitioners will utilize other techniques such as stretching and joint mobilization. They leverage the weight of their bodies to apply pressure to acupuncture points and meridians with their palms, elbows, knees, and other body parts in addition to their fingers. This pressure relieves tension and pain while improving body functions throughout the organ systems.

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Shiatsu is often used as a method to enhance health and can be used as preventative care treatment. Shiatsu addresses imbalances of the vital energy of our body or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Through Shiatsu treatments, the practitioner can help Qi return to balance and ideally bring the body into a balanced state of being. Graduates of our program will also apply a knowledge of the five elements to understand relationships between phenomena in the body and apply treatment.

Shiatsu is typically received while lying on the floor on a comfortable cushion or futon. You can expect the practitioner to ask about your physical and emotional health and feel the body’s Qi through diagnostic points on the belly, wrist, or back. The practitioner then plans a treatment based on the patient’s responses and the diagnostic results.

Graduates of our program can expect to learn how to provide a treatment based on diagnosis utilizing different methods of pressure, stretching, and joint mobilization with an understanding of Qi and the body’s relationship to the five elements. In addition, our graduates will have access to multiple teachers sharing elective subjects that will enhance their  treatments. Topics include: herbs, cupping, moxibustion, scraping, pulse evaluation, and more.

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For more information on our 500 Hour Five-Element Shiatsu program, you can click the link below:


From 1982-1984 Eileen studied at and graduated from the Ohashi Shiatsu Institute in New York City. She travelled to Japan in 1984 and lived there for a year and a half. She studied privately with two different Shiatsu teachers, both with very different styles. One teacher was Susuki Sensei of the Masanaga School of Tokyo, and the other was a little old man called Yamamoto Sensei, who taught in the Namikoshi style. Eileen graduated from the Swedish Institute of NYC in 1987 and taught level one through advanced Shiatsu there from 1987-1995. She developed and taught a Shiatsu/yoga curriculum for the New York Open Center, and taught there from 1989-1995. Eileen volunteered at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and worked extensively with patients with HIV and cancer for several years. Eileen has had a private Shiatsu practice since 1983. She is the only AOBTA-Certified Instructor in the New England area who is offering a 500-Hour Certification Program in Five-Element Shiatsu.

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