zen shiatsu school logo.jpg (41856 bytes) Shiatsu Courses, Classes and Training with Open (click) Evenings and Intensive Courses
from Absolute Beginner right through to fully qualified Professional registered and insured with the Zen Shiatsu Society.
Call 0700 078 1195 Mon-Wed-Fri 12 noon to 3 pm or leave a message anytime, or click to email us

Zen School of Shiatsu

19 Phipp Street
London EC2A 4NP
Tel: 0700 078 1195

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12 noon to 3 pm or
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May I be the doctor and the medicine

And may I be the nurse

For all sick beings in the world

Until everyone is healed

Unique among UK Shiatsu Schools Zen School of Shiatsu UK

Learning by Teaching

Shiatsu, at the most basic physical level, is a simple manual skill underpinned by a complex body of theory.

New applications are welcome for training as a Zen School Tutor. You must:

  • have attained your professional Licence to Practise Zen Shiatsu, (LicZS),
  • activated your Practitioner Membership of the Zen Shiatsu Society, (PZSS)
  • be covered by the Zen Shiatsu Society insurance for teaching
  • completed the Healing Tao Summer Retreat and pre-requisites
  • be agreed by the teaching team.

If you are interested, please contact Kris

Please read through all of this page to understand what would be required of you, what the training is, and the teaching guidelines.

Here are the links to the documentation you will need. Please print them out and please understand that you should read them along with the rest of this page.

Teacher Training Record | Lesson-Plan Guidelines | Teaching Evaluation Sheet

To be a Teacher you should work towards being

  • able to help students through their learning process and to give this help unclouded by your or their personal issues;
  • familiar with, understanding, and able to transmit theory, practice and application of our style of shiatsu;
  • able to keep students interested both in their learning experiences and other school activities;
  • capable of supervising and giving feedback to students in their case studies, their work in the school clinic, and at demonstrations or treatments of members of the public at festivals, exhibitions, community and corporate events;
  • always willing to do more rather than less;
  • punctual and reliable;
  • familiar with all requirements (eg training, homework, fee & payment options, time-commitments, module-completion) of Certificate, Diploma, Professional and Combined Courses;
  • committed to ongoing self-developmental energy work and have completed the Healing Tao Summer Retreat
  • happy with and committed to your work, to your colleagues and to the school.
  • and involve yourself inschool activities

Teacher Training You develop through these phases:

  • Observing other teachers
  • Assisting other teachers (this is separate from your assisting requirement for the Professional Licence course)
  • Team-Teaching
  • Solo Teaching being observed
  • Using the Teacher Evaluation forms as firstly an Observer, then Assistant.

Now please read and understand everything that follows below:

The Zen Approach

Can we share some ideas? you are you and I am me - as different as our fingerprints, and here to learn from each other as from our students. You know - you must know - the feeling when somebody writes another shiatsu book: Goodness, how wonderful, wish I had done that, don’t they know a lot, wish I knew that much and could put it so clearly. Then you read it and realise you know most of it anyway, but somewhere buried in the pages you find one or two new ideas that can help you with what you are already doing and doing so well.

A few years before starting the Zen School I graduated from teacher training college. I'd like to share a few practical things I learned, and a few others about teaching at our school. I hope you find them helpful...if you already have teaching experience you may be aware of some of them anyway...but please bear with me...you may learn something, even if only that - you know more than me...read on!

Before you arrive in the class

to share a learning-and-teaching experience with your students, have a think about:

What is your overall Aim for the lesson -let's say, for example:... to enable students to understand the genito-urinary system in a shiatsu context.

Your Aim leads you to consider what might be your Intended Learning Outcome (ILO):

Your ILO has two aspects: what you hope by the end of the class your students should know, and what they should be able to do.

For example... you would like them to know the components and structure, functions and conditions of the system, and be able to do things like relating conditions to meridians and elements.

If you were teaching a meridian, your Aim might be to help students understand the meridian, with ILOs of knowing its route, functions, uses of tsubos, and how to do things like locating and treating the meridian and tsubos.

From your Aim and ILOs come your Lesson Plan which I would treat more as a a series of signposts than a rigid structure. Often I find that having made the Plan, I don't actually have to use it but it does give a focus, if only to remind me of the various

Choices of learning-experience to keep attention, such as

  • Group Discussion
  • Pair Work
  • Individual Work
  • Role-Play
  • Question & Answer

In the context of our unique learning-teaching system, my own Aim is usually "to discover where they need to focus to complete their understanding of the (anatomical system/organ-meridian network)" still with the ILOs of what they should know and be able to do.

Arriving and Beginning

Its a good principle to arrive at least a half-hour before the start (Ohashi recommends a full hour) to settle in. And sometimes new people arrive early to join a course and need some administrative attention.(see below for action on Joiners) And sometimes they arrive late, and need attention. Even then, its good to make them feel welcome.

I really recommend spending an early part of each session (e.g. after the warm-up in practical classes) catching up with where students are at. This becomes more important as the number of teachers increases!

During the class

the key to a good lesson-experience is flexibility, keeping your antennae twitched towards students' response to what's going down, being ready to change the energy, to keep them interested,and to entertain.

We emphasis student-centred learning using cross-modular educational techniques.

The strongest point is getting them to do the work - this is what we have always advertised..."You learn by discovery, finding the answers for yourself, owning your knowledge rather than being handed the tutor’s to memorise and recite..."

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand

If you give them time to digest, reflect and discuss, their learning will be reinforced, but Time Management needs mindfulness.

Good management of time keeps the energy contained, and keeping the energy contained means you facilitate the learning in small, easily-digestible helpings. A big "beware - be aware" for both beginners and more experienced facilitators is over-teaching or trying to cram too much in.

It is in the silence between the words that understanding has space to be

Time becomes less manageable if you arrive late, if you let it take a rambling course throughout your lesson, or save too little of it for the end. Time can be managed into a structure, a framework within which we can move freely.

Leave time at the end of the session for feedback and reinforcement. As well as asking students to say what they have learned and what they have taught, you could also ask for feedback on how the session was for them, what they would like to see more of, what they would like less of.

This is how my preferred time-plan would look for a Practical Session

An hour warm-up, rooting/grounding/pushing, tea-drinking, bonding, Diplomats' wish-lists for the session - what do they want to focus on, and for both Diplomats and Certificats: where are they in the cycle? how are they getting on with their learning-treatments? what are their difficulties?

I would then spend half-an-hour/40 minutes actual teaching-time, setting Certificats their learning and helping Diplomats with their focus.

The next 40 minutes/hour would be for exchanges: Certificats practising their new moves on Diplomats and getting the benefits of experienced feedback, followed by Diplomats practising their learning-meridian or preferred focus on Certificats with feedback from the observing facilitator.

Of course if a Certificat or Diplomat wants to be assessed, an extra degree of flexibilty is needed, even bilocation.

My framework for a Tutorial would be making time to find out who's who. what's what, and where they're at, then an hour so on the learning-treatment discussion/role-play, and an hour on the subject of the tutorial, with Q&A, discussion, group- and pair-work where appropriate, spending time at the end helping them reinforce their learning.

If you've read this far (well done and thank you) then you've probably counted that we've got about a half-hour left to fit in your summary, get feedback and conclude the session.

Feasting on Feedback

Student Feedback is the mindful part of the learning-experience, where the learning is reinforced and understood from perspectives different from one's own. Students of all levels share their experience, their perceptions of what they learned and what they taught each other.

It can really help each student if you specify the feedback. Beginners like to say such as "I had a nice treatment from so-and-so but I don't think I taught them anything."

Help them focus on each aspect before going on to the next, e.g

  • What did you learn?
  • What did you teach?
  • What did you like best about the treatment you received? (always this question before the next one)
  • Say one thing to help your giver improve their next treatment.

While encouraging students to speak their mind, also help them understand the importance of thinking in terms of "help" and "useful feedback" (rather than "criticism" or even "constructive criticism")

When each has had their say, it would be helpful for you to summarise their feedback, add your own observations and offer suggestions for them to practise or learn before the next session.

Class Feedback is an inspiring source of learning for facilitators. It should follow on from the student-feedback.

Taking it in stages eases the way for honest response, asking a question generally of the whole group but also individually to those

  • members who tend to speak less.
  • How was the class for you?
  • What did you like most?
  • What did you like least?
  • What would you like more of?
  • What would you like less of?
  • How could I have done it differently?
  • How do you think you might like to have done it?

Expressing sincere appreciation for feedback does help people feel comfortable to offer it and can reward you with useful insights.

Teaching-and-Learning is an experience like making a cocktail: the Plan is the mixture of ingredients, the Time is the glass which contains them. Change the mixture by all means, but don't let it spill - and don't break the glass!


Open Evenings

what to include: (please keep it simple)

  • zen school video
  • chi self-massage - general approach rather than meridian-clock
  • energy-field blending and maintaining contact
  • scanning
  • The Connection
  • self protection
  • leaning pressure: natural, perpendicular, constant, even
  • ending and disconnection

what to exclude:

  • technique
  • rhythm
  • pattern

Practical-Session Warm-ups

what to include:

  • swinging
  • spinal cord breathing
  • Makka-ho
  • 3-in-1stretches (after initial warming up)
  • chi self-massage: meridian clock sequence
  • floor kneeling; leaning, pushing & rooting exercise

Practical-Session teaching

what to include

  • energy-field blending and maintaining contact
  • Scanning
  • The Connection
  • leaning pressure
    • natural
    • perpendicular
    • constant
    • even
  • ending and disconnection

what to exclude

  • techniques
  • rhythm
  • pattern
  • corrections except during review sessions

plus for all students

  • principles of treatment
  • preparation for treatment
  • looking at the energy: where? strong/weak? flowing/stuck?
  • visualisation of conditions: imagining seeing into the body/mind
  • maintaining self-protection throughout treatment

plus for diploma-course students

  • meridian treatment including meridian stretches
  • the need to maintain contact, grounding, and to practise as if treating

excluding for all students

  • routines
  • mechanical stretches
  • rotations
  • manipulations
  • rhythm
  • pattern
  • "casual touch"
  • "touch for convenience"
  • body-straddling

Admin Points



Certificate Courses

Please give them a Course Cycle form, (in the yellow file), have them complete and sign it, take a photocopy to give them and KEEP THE ORIGINAL or leave it on the desk for admin to file. We need the one with their original signature.

Please explain to them how the Certificate cycle works and about the practice-treatments they need to do before assessment.

They can pay by cheque, cash, or card in advance, or Pay as they Go.

Please explain that they have paid/are paying for the cycle of 12 sessions and if they want to do more they have to pay more, and if they repeat a session - even if by accident because they've lost track.

If you personally have not joined someone or do not know who they are, please make sure you see their Course Cycle form and check it for stamps.

Diploma Courses

Please give them the Intermediate Diploma Course Guidance Notes, (in the yellow file), have them complete and sign it,

take a photocopy and leave it on the desk for admin to file. They keep the original with the Diploma study-cycle on the back.

There is no Pay as they Go for the Intermediate Diploma Course. Joiners can pay by cheque, cash, or card in advance, or by Standing Order. Costs are in the current prospectus and require an initial payment and a number of monthly payments.

Take the initial payment and have them complete a Standing Order form (blue folder). If they do not have with them all the info needed to complete the form, ask them to ring it through. Do NOT give them an uncompleted form to take away. Leave it on the desk for admin to deal with.

If someone starts with the Intermediate Diploma Course then the Certificate Course is included in the Diploma Course fee but they must still sign the Certificate Cycle and the Diploma Course Guidance Notes and we keep the original, they the photocopy.

Diplomats pay for one cycle of the Diploma Course. If they want to repeat any Practicals or Tutorials they must pay again by the session.

Professional Licence/Combined Course

Course Notes can be downloaded from CourseWork on the website.

ProComs can attend/repeat as many as they want of the Certificate or Diploma Modules, Tutorials and Practicals as well as the Professional Course Modules.

Fees are in the prospectus. Payment methods are the same as for the Intermediate Diploma.


Please take time to check paperwork and find out if people are doing their course in the way its designed (eg not doing all the tutorials first then all the practicals next then all the learning-treatments, to give a silly example) and offer help in their course management.

Keep an eye out for novice Diplomats getting carried away with head-stuff - now that they can download assignments you may find them trying to master the theoretical aspects before completing their certificate and reading-assignments.

Encourage people to meet up outside school hours for study/treatment exchanges, encourage them to start out-clinic work earlier rather than later...encourage them!

Please make sure students know how to contact you if they have problems.

Talk to other teachers about student difficulties.

Please make sure you enter in the Diary the time and subject of the session you are teaching, the names of those attending by Cert or Dip, and the time of arrival if after the start-time of the class.

Please be very careful to check the cycle for the Certificate course and stick rigidly to the sequence - variation leads to more ripples of confusion than you could ever imagine. trust me!

Please pass feedback to admin or Dean of Studies so we can take appropriate action or schedule it for discussion at the next teacher meeting.


Certificate Assessment

Assessment training is up to you, but please make sure the candidate has written up (as per the cycle notes) 20 treatments before Assessment Training.

Check for Contact, Connection, Natural Pressure, their ease of movement of both themselves and you as they treat you. Keep it simple and give lots of encouragement.

Its a good idea for the candidate to work on someone else for 10 minutes first, then for you the assessor to give the candidate a 5-minute or so treatment before asking them to work on you.

When the candidate has passed, please complete, sign and seal a Certificate (yellow file) and present it at the end of the session, with a Zen Shiatsu Society membership activation sheet.

Please make a note in the Diary.

Intermediate Diploma Assessment

Guidelines for Intermediate Diploma Assessment are in the Course Notes.

Enter in the Diary when a candidate has passed and admin will prepare a Diploma for your signature.

Routine Matters

Please be mindful of security and expense - lights, heating, windows, doors etc

If you notice we are running out of tea or the white-board pens have faded, its OK for you to replace them and give admin the bill. We will pay you back!


Most people who come into Shiatsu training are grown-ups who want to do something different: heal others, heal themselves, put their compassion to work, whatever. They come from other lives, perhaps with children, probably work for their living, and have taken responsibility for themselves. They are already motivated, sometimes inspired, always interested. Some have the support of parents or partners and can dedicate themselves full-time to their learning while others, with limited resources, have work- and home-commitments from which they can spare only a few hours every week or month, wonderful beings who, passing through this wonderful world, want to do something different while still honouring their other life-commitments and responsiblities.

Teachers can help with learning-experiences that teach more than technique, skill and knowledge; help them know themselves, honour themselves as they are rather than trying to fit into someone else’s idea of what they should be; to find their way into being a practitioner, a Shiatsu person, with a sense of their own empowerment and worth, in their own time, at their own pace.

Who are we to tell you what to teach or how to train, when there are a million manuals, from Carl Rogers to John Cleese, on how to do it? Whatever the field, the principles are the same and we are all fingers on the same hand.

I have taught skills since I was a young man. When my father died we had 80 years of teaching between us. He taught a language. Retired, in his eighties, he would still get letters from people he had taught half-a-century before. My son is a teacher. This is our ancestral Qi. We discovered, through our different trainings in different space-times, that state-of-the-art, cross-modular educational methods fit well with the Zen approach.

Can we share some ideas? you are you and I am me - as different as our fingerprints, and here to learn from each other as from our students. You know - you must know - the feeling when somebody writes another shiatsu book: Goodness, how wonderful, wish I had done that, don’t they know a lot, wish I knew that much and could put it so clearly. The you read it and realise you know most of it anyway, but somewhere buried in the pages you find one or two new ideas that can help you with what you are already doing and doing so well.

If you find something in what I do that helps with what you do, that is enough for you. It is enough for me to have the joy of sharing it.


There are no application forms. To register, a student provides name, address and course fee. Why should we want to know their age or what else they’ve done in their life? Who are we to judge their fitness or otherwise to learn shiatsu? Who are we to judge?


The times of the class sessions - or learning-teaching experiences - are fixed, the content published a year ahead, in an ongoing cycle. Any student can turn up to any session. If they miss, say, the Lung Meridian Module on Tuesday, they can catch it on Thursday, or at the weekend a few weeks later, or wait till the nine-month cycle comes round again, nine months later.

The student is responsible for his or her own learning, and knows that to qualify for Final Assessment all the Modules need to be completed. We don’t mind if its this year or next, if they want time out to go travelling, have a baby, take in a year at another school, work abroad, get through a confidence-crisis, bereavement, marriage or divorce.


Instead of demonstrations we facilitate discussion groups from which arise the principles of treatment: pressure, contact, connection, sensitivity. Then we ask them to invent a treatment of, for example, the back of the body, or the side, or the front.

How amazing - they invent what we would have taught! But what they invented is theirs, learned by discovery and now owned, knowledge born of experience.

Instead of lectures we advise the subject of the next tutorial and set an assignment of questions, thoughts and ideas. Students come ready to talk about their learning experience while the facilitators job is to find the gaps. This is both challenging and inspirational, but some students tend to overdo it so we issue a health-warning: more than three hours preparing an assignment can seriously damage your enthusiasm.


Before going near a texbook, students show they can give an intuitive treatment. Shiatsu, at the most basic physical level, is a simple manual skill underpinned by a complex body of theory.

Allowing a new student to first develop the practical skills means he or she can learn to move around the body or move the body around, without just yet having to think of which meridian to work or what point is good for what condition, or what Oriental Theory model might influence treating, say, dysmenhorrea. Their first treatments are therefore purely intuitive, feeling for kyo and jitsu and working only with Intention.

They learn the language and concepts of Oriental Medicine listening to more experienced students at Tutorials. Tutors offer encouragement without correction until the new student has passed a Practical assessment, typically after three months, and completed specified reading in their own time.

And then they dive in, preparing assignments, learning everything at once. Rather than say, anatomy in the first year, physiology in the second and pathology in the third, or the classical meridians before the Masunaga extensions, meridian modules include the related western anatomical system as well as muscles and bones along the meridian route. Anatomy modules require an understanding of the related organ-meridian networks, while Pathology includes choosing an appropriate shiatsu treatment as well as suggesting possible recommendations in terms of life-style, exercise, meditation, outlook and diet.

An hour of each Tutorial is for discussing a treatment, presented by one of the group playing the part of his or her own Participant (client, receiver.) Other group members act the role of detective, using Asking Diagnosis to winkle out as much information as the presenting student obtained.

Stimulating discussion follows, based on the information gleaned, speculating on what could be the Participant’s natural Element, the Element of imbalance, on what the Back diagnosis might have found, on what might have manifested in the Hara. The presenter adjudicates with the “right” answer, of what they actually found at the time, but as Treatment is Diagnosis and Diagnosis is Treatment, we can Focus on what we might have seen but with Awareness of who was doing the seeing.

Helpful suggestions arise from the group energy that might help the presenting student with recommendations in the real situation with their participant homework.

Click for your Teacher Training Record

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