Shiatsu Symposium 2023

Beyond Belief
Language and Creativity in the Healing of Chronic Illness
Evanston, IL

2023 EVENT CANCELLED – This program will be moved to October 2025.  If you would like to receive notice about the 2025 event, please email us at [email protected]

Learn to support the emergent healing impulses of both you and your clients. Five master instructors will share the classroom for six days to teach a detailed, synthesized method.

  • Each day will include a 7-hour hands-on seminar from 9am-5:30pm. Each instructor leads a 2-day workshop with other instructors contributing.
  • All hours approved for NCBTMB CEs and NCCAOM PDA core competency credit, and CE hours for renewal of IL massage therapy and acupuncture licenses. (42 hours available). All classes count towards CE hours for renewal of IL licenses in acupuncture massage therapy, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, naprapathy, esthetics, and social work.
  • An AOBTA® Endorsed Educational Event


Monday and Tuesday, October 23 – 24 – 9:00am-5:30pm
Nick Pole (Author: Clean Language) & Margot Rossi (Author: To Be Like Water)

Wednesday and Thursday, October 25 -26 – 9:00am-5:30pm
Micheline Pfister (Zen Shiatsu Instructor from Switzerland)

Friday and Saturday, October 27-28 – 9:00am-5:30pm
Elise and Kaleo Ching (Authors of Qi and Creativity)

Hosted by Zen Shiatsu Chicago, held at Skylight Event Space
1818 Dempster St., Evanston, IL

Symposium Overview:

The Shiatsu Symposium brings international master instructors together to present shiatsu methods and explore an aspect of our humanity. Each Symposium highlights a different level of the human energy field and its implications for the whole person. Symposium 2017 explored the structural changes possible when we empower change in both the tissues and the client’s spatial perception. Symposium 2019 focused on the emotion/ organ level, facilitating spontaneous inner movement.

Symposium 2023: Beyond Belief focuses on the third level of the field, the Mental/Belief level. We will start by studying the careful use of language to facilitate inquiry and goal-setting in a way that helps our clients fully express themselves and feel fully heard. We will explore the implications of the creative inner drives for the healing of complex chronic illness. Finally, we will delve into creative visual and sound healing methods that support body awareness and healing. In each class, we will fully appreciate how our shiatsu therapy can open new possibilities in our beliefs and imagination.

Learn to support the emergent healing impulses of both you and your clients. Five master instructors will share the classroom for six days to teach a detailed, synthesized method.
  • Each day will include a 7-hour hands-on seminar from 9am-5:30pm. Each instructor leads a 2-day class with other instructors contributing.
  • All hours approved for NCCAOM PDA credit and NCBTMB CEs. 7 hours per day, 42 total hours possible.
  • All classes also count towards CE hours for renewal of IL licenses for acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, naprapathy and social work.
Participants must be professional Asian Bodywork Therapists or Acupuncturists, or have at least 100 hours of student training in an ABT discipline.

Beyond Beliefs: Language, Movements and Touch in Working with Chronic Pain.

Nick Pole & Margot Rossi – Mon/Tue October 23-24, 9am-5:30pm

Margot Rossi will supervise in-person while Nick Pole contributes to presentations and discussions via Zoom from the UK

Our beliefs live in our bodies as well as in our minds. Fluid movement and flexible thinking together invite us to open to new possibilities and allow us to envision and create what we want in our lives.

What is it like when lifelong beliefs about health and lifestyle are challenged by illness and pain?

Often our clients’ first response is to want to ‘get back to normal’. If we give them advice about how to live more healthily, they may follow it for a while, but then they find their old patterns returning. That old ‘normal’ has a strange and powerful pull. They may have changed their behaviour, but they haven’t changed their beliefs.

At the same time, somewhere inside, they know that the old ‘normal’ may be part of the problem. So how can we help our clients take that next step? In these first two days of the Symposium we’ll explore through Dao Yin movement, Clean Language and shiatsu how we can help our clients bring
focus and creativity to their experience of illness and pain. The very simple questions of Clean Language invite clients to explore their symptoms and the metaphors that arise to describe it. As the body/mind realises that it is being listened to, clients often discover resources that may have been hidden for a long time.

We’ll blend Dao Yin with Clean Language and shiatsu to give you simple takeaway skills that can make a real difference in your practice. You’ll be able to experience for yourself the sense of collaboration, creativity and genuine insight that Clean questions can offer in exploring our beliefs, what limits us, and how we might expand beyond those boundaries of belief.

Shiatsu in the Treatment and Accompaniment of Chronic Diseases

Micheline Pfister – Wed/Thu October 25-26, 9am-5:30pm

Today more and more people are affected by one or more chronic diseases. The conventional medical treatments vary, and can last a lifetime. Those affected are increasingly seeking support through Shiatsu therapy.

This seminar explores ways in which we can support those with chronic disease. We will cover therapeutic conversation, Shiatsu meridian treatment, the extraordinary vessels, certain tsubos, connective tissue techniques and also breathing and body exercises. These methods also apply to the dying process.

Seminar Content:

  • What does it mean to be chronically ill?
  • How can a chronic illness affect the energetic level?
  • The accompanying conversation, support of resilience and resources Getting to know and experience specific elements in the Shiatsu treatment of chronically ill people
  • Getting to know and experience supportive breathing and body exercises Possibilities and limits of the Shiatsu therapist

A detailed handout for the entire seminar will be given.

Micheline Moorefield Pfister has collected and evaluated the methods presented in this workshop over the last 20 years. She has experience supporting clients with chronic diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatism, arthritis, type II diabetes mellitus. All those applications and experiences flow into this seminar. Her work as a therapist is practical and informed closely by her experience.

She lives in Switzerland and is a lecturer for Shiatsu training courses in Europe.

Qi and Creativity

Kaleo and Elise Ching – Fri/Sat October 27-28, 9am-5:30pm

Qigong, shamanic journeying, and art are all ancient practices employed by traditional cultures over millennia to access the profound wisdom of body, mind, and spirit. Qigong helps us to connect intimately with the rhythms of nature around us and with the well of creative energy within us.

During this seminar, we will explore the following Qigong practices and more: the Aloha Qigong form for engaging the meridians and extraordinary vessels; Zhan Zhuang and Earth Qigong for grounding and protection; Shimmering Qigong for rejuvenating with fresh Qi on cellular levels; breathing techniques for enhanced flow of Qi and blood to the Zang organs; Qi Palm techniques for sensing and directing Qi. Applications of these practices for self-care and for working with clients will be explored through working with partners.

In the afternoons, guided shamanic journeys will invite you to explore realms of unseen worlds. The “Inner Garden” will lead you into your inner sanctuary, where you may find safety, grounding, and strength in Mother Earth. The “Tree of Life” will guide you to meet your spiritual guardian for inspiration and support in your daily life and your healing practice.

Then you will continue the journey through channeling Qi in creative expression using a variety of special mixed media art/collage techniques. Art bridges the body and the conscious and subconscious minds to reveal clues for healing and transformation. You can give form to your discoveries, dialogue with your art piece, engage it in ritual, and apply the alchemy of the Five Elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth.

Through art’s colors, forms, textures, and images, you can transmute old, stuck, toxic energies into the prima materia, the raw material, for new possibilities. Art anchors the discoveries and brings clarity, direction, and empowerment for life’s journey. You can engage this process for your own self-discovery, and you can also share it with clients. Clients who engage in artistic expression often find that healing occurs both more fluidly and on a deeper level. They also have an empowering visual record of their challenges and their journeys of defining, understanding, and healing.

Elise and Kaleo Ching are the co-authors of six books, including Qi and Creativity and The Creative Art of Living and Dying: Your Journey of Renewal Through Stories, Qigong Meditation, Journaling, and Art. They have taught, volunteered and shared their work in numerous schools, jails, corporations and community centers.


Full Seminar (42 hours): $995 by Sep 22 / $1095 thereafter.
Per 2-Day course (14 hours each): $595

Hold your place with a $300 deposit, the balance is due on Sep 22.  The $300 deposit is non-refundable.

A block of rooms is available at the Holiday Inn Express, at $139 per night Sunday-Thursday and $279 on Friday. Breakfast and parking can be added for $20/night. Call by Sep 22nd for reservations, mention Rate Code ZSR for room-only, or ZBP to include breakfast and parking. Nearby AirBnB options are available ranging from $63-149 per night.

Holiday Inn Express
1501 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

Register Online:

If you wish to register for the whole symposium, choose “Full Seminar” to be charged a $300 deposit. You will be invoiced for the remaining balance, due by September 23rd. To register for only an individual workshop, choose those from the list and you can finalize the full tuition now.