Shi + Atsu, literally means finger pressure.

Shiatsu has been called “acupuncture without needles”

or “Japanese osteopathy”


Wednesday December 7th 2011,  fifty Shiatsu lovers gathered at City Hall Toronto for an historic meeting in the history of Shiatsu in Canada.

This year; 2011 marks the 40th birthday of Shiatsu in Canada. Fitting that on reaching this age of maturity there be a re-launch of the profession.

Dear Shiatsu supporters,

On behalf of the meeting organizers, Thank you, to all of you for coming out on a cold winter’s evening to lend your ears and hearts to our proposals to enliven the shiatsu profession . Thank you to those without whom there would be no Shiatsu in Canada; to Ted Saito, Kensen Saito, Kaz Kamiya. To the Principals of the two main Shiatsu schools, Ross Oakes of the Tokyo Shiatsu Academy, and Enza Ierullo, of the Shiatsu School of Canada, and to those who travelled from out-of-town. Thank you also to T’agyol Adler for help with publicity……and if I have forgotten anyone please know that it is not intentional.

Last Wednesday’s meeting was a historic occasion, bringing together representatives of different styles of shiatsu. It is acknowledged that there are different approaches, however if we wish the profession to flourish we must set aside what separates us and focus on our common ground.
In Japan, Tokujiro Namikoshi worked tirelessly to establish Shiatsu, and to accomplish this, considering the political climate of the times, chose to frame Shiatsu in a way, palatable to the authorities of the period. This is similar to the history here in Canada with regard to Massage therapy – in order to be accepted and taken seriously, the profession presented itself as a clinical therapy, aligned with the medical paradigm of the time.
While it is necessary that there be professional standards (including understanding of human anatomy, physiology and pathology, as well as possible contraindications) the fundamental approach of Shiatsu is from a rather different perspective. We seek to restore internal harmony, stimulating internal resources, essentially to support self-healing.
There have been schools here in Canada going back some 25 years that have taught programs bridging Eastern and Western understanding, however this strategy has not proved to be effective and to this day there is limited recognition by insurance companies and now, perhaps because of the fragmentation of our profession, we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of being ignored by both Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which itself is moving towards inclusion.

Today, without a united voice, we stand little chance of advancing the Shiatsu profession and making this valuable therapy accessible to the public. Since the crackdown on schools last year and issues around holistic licensing relate primarily to Toronto, it seems a good place to start. Further, since our first group meeting took place at City Hall, we propose that our first joint project be to present Shiatsu to (key) employees at City Hall in order to foster greater understanding.

Please indicate if you would like to take part.

Our intention is to move forward, the first objective being to create the Canadian Shiatsu Federation.

We will keep you informed of progress.

Meanwhile, your feedback input and support is welcomed.

Be Well,

Alex Schenker (ZSS), Mirela Stosic (SSO), Robin Grant (JSHMSC), Chris Thompson (STAO), Tim Phillips(STAO), Carol Culhane (SSO), Patricia Tabone (ZSS), Catherine Wright (ZSS)

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