Shiatsu Massage Certification Program Course Descriptions

Zen Shiatsu Massage School In Chicago

The Massage School Alternative

Shiatsu Certification Core Curriculum:

In Beginning Zen Shiatsu, we impart the simple ability to be with another human being in a healing context. This class is open to anyone who wants to learn to share this beautiful skill with others.

Every time you lay hands on another human, you have an opportunity to express mindfulness and compassion. You have the ability to spark the intrinsic healing potential of another individual.

In this class, we learn the fundamentals of Yin/Yang (Balance), Ki (Energy), Jing (Essence) and Shen (Consciousness). We study the twelve energy meridians of the body; their associations, functions and major points.

Most importantly, we learn how to facilitate change without manipulation using the principles of Zen Shiatsu. We learn how to take our cues from the receiver and achieve effective, supportive contact. We learn how to attune ourselves to the energy of ourself and our neighbors. You will be able to open an energetic circuit, tonify deficiency and calm excesses. By the end of the class, you will be able to give a full-body treatment.  There are no prerequisites for this course.

At the core of Zen Shiatsu are the principles of Yin/Yang and the Five Phases of nature (Five Elements). Humans are a part of nature and subject to its laws. Five Phase theory elucidates the intricate interactions that guide all living systems, from the Earth as a whole to each individual human.

Through guided meditation, group interaction and Zen Shiatsu practice, Students arrive at a fundamental understanding of the Five Phase theory and the way in which it corresponds to the meridian network.

Students are also introduced to the system of diagnosis developed by Shizuto Masunaga, using the hara (abdomen) and back to reach an accurate diagnosis of the whole person.

By the end of this class, you will be able to create a basic case study, producing a diagnosis, documentation of treatment, and a future treatment plan. At this level, students begin to gain an appreciation for the scope of imbalances that Zen Shiatsu can address, and how it fits into the larger picture of health care.  Completion of Beginning Zen Shiatsu is prerequisite to this course.

Zen Shiatsu is an art, a dance and an improvisation. It is also effortless for the giver, yet extremely powerful. In Zen Shiatsu III, you will begin to develop your technique as an art and meditation. You will learn to use your entire body as a graceful whole, including your elbows, knees, feet and limbs. In this way, you will learn to save your own body and work deeply without force.

This course continues the journey into the Five Phases as tools for pattern recognition. In-depth study of each element from the perspective of character and temperament highlight the course. Students practice self-assessment to deeply acquaint themselves with their own personal history and understanding of the presence and power of the Five Phases in every living system. Correlation of the Five Phase discoveries to the actual feel of the meridian channels deepens practical understanding about how choices are made in the treatment protocol.

Students also refine their casewriting ability, with an eye to writing documents that will be shared and reviewed in an integrated health care environment.  Zen Shiatsu levels I and II are prerequisite to this course.

Mapping the surface of the body and correlating that surface with the deep functions of the body is the heart and soul of this course. Students will learn how to treat the entire body while always keeping their intention on the source of greatest imbalance.

At this level of proficiency, students will begin to see through the layers of complexity of the meridian system and perceive the simplicity of the healing act.

The Meridian Extension system of Shizuto Masunaga, unique to Zen Shiatsu and its descendant styles, is studied in detail. Masunaga felt that the meridian system of Chinese Medicine was insufficient to address the fact that the energy of each meridian infuses the entire body. His complete meridian map links every meridian to a graceful full-body stretch and also makes many meaningful psycho-spiritual connections that are of clinical importance to bodyworkers.

We learn how this system compares and contrasts to the traditional Chinese system, to allow us to communicate effectively with acupuncturists and herbalists.

Students also incorporate the six divisions of yin and yang as elucidated in the Chinese classics, the Shang Han Lun and I Ching.

In this final stage of the core curriculum, students assume the role of the healer under the guidance of senior faculty.

In this phase, we bring all our training, knowledge and technique into the present moment to perform profound listening and holding of sacred space. We work from the giver’s innate strengths and weaknesses as a practitioner in order to develop appropriate clientele.

All the previous training comes to fruition as we learn to lead the dance in a Zen Shiatsu treatment. We will learn to perform a full-body treatment with all our techniques at our disposal, with the focus on reverence, service and attention to spirit.

By the end of this curriculum, graduates will be prepared for professional practice as a solo practitioner or as part of a health care team, ready to communicate effectively with physicians, acupuncturists, nutritionists and yoga therapists, and ready to make referrals where appropriate.

Our approach to team-building is inspired by and geared towards the Integrative medicine model put forward by Andrew Weil. With our partners in the Chicago area Integrative community, we aim to prepare our graduates to participate in this exciting approach to healthcare. Our graduates are prepared to participate in internships and research within the medical community, while maintaining their autonomy as Certified Practitioners of Asian Bodywork.

Learn the organ, nervous and endocrine systems of the body and how they relate to bodywork. Physiology, nutrition, homeostatic balance and basic pathology are all studied in this 36-hour course.

In these courses, students locate, palpate and assess the muscles and bones of the upper and lower body.  Understanding musculoskeletal anatomy is essential to understanding the location and workings of the energy meridians. These courses help Zen Shiatsu practitioners bring specificity to their work. It also allows them to describe their work in terms of the western anatomical vocabulary. There is no prerequisite for the Upper Body module.  Completion of the Upper Body module is prerequisite to taking the Lower Body module.

Chinese Medicine challenges students to deepen their abilities of diagnosis and observation.  These courses introduce the traditions of Chinese acupuncture and herbalism that undergird Shiatsu theory.  This course is divided into eight units covering: Fundamentals, Zang/Fu Organ Networks, Points and Channels, Diagnosis, Disease Patterns, Treatment Modalities, ABT Exam Prep, and an Intro to Chinese Herbs.

This synthesis course compares and harmonizes the “western” and “eastern” medical models. East Meets West is the culmination of students’ extensive study in Anatomy and Physiology and Chinese Medicine. Students will develop a cross-disciplinary vocabulary allowing them to understand the areas of overlap and divergence between the two models.

Student Clinic brings it all together. Over two semesters, advanced students will have a chance to take their work from the classroom to the treatment room. Sessions will be performed on the public in a group setting, under the supervision of an instructor. Participation will include both practice and observation of colleagues. Each clinic concludes with a “round”, in which students and the instructor share their observations and experiences. 84 hours of clinic will be completed before graduation.

This course lays out the nuts and bolts of building a successful practice. From business models to marketing to taxes, learn how to nurture your practice and allow it to blossom.

Ethics for Bodyworkers is a pivotal class for students. In this course, students of bodywork explore and question their role as a professional healer. Topics include establishing a professional framework, maintaining boundaries and developing listening skills. Students will educate their heart, and learn to facilitate human growth without manipulation.

How do you think like a clinician?  Prior to beginning Student Clinic and Externships, students will have a chance to review intake methodology, contraindications and treatment planning.  Completion of Zen Shiatsu III is prerequisite.

This 90-hour seminar fills out the training portfolio required for students to qualify for an Illinois Massage License, and adds additional competency in addressing Western Patholgy with Shiatsu techniques.  Topics include Western Massage Basics, Systems Pathology for Bodyworkers, and Musculoskeletal Pathology for Shiatsu Therapists.

An externship is an opportunity for a student to explore a population or clinical setting that interests them.  Students will submit an externship proposal to the director, and will meet at intervals to review casework.  Externships may be done with our partner institutions, or students may create their own opportunities.

Elective Courses & Practice Sessions:

40 additional hours of elective courses round out the curriculum. Students can choose from any of our annual offerings in adjunct styles, special topics in shiatsu, movement education, and other courses related to Asian Bodywork.

Practice Classes round out the technique series by giving students an opportunity to refine their methods under instructor supervision. Twenty 3-hour practice classes are required for graduation.

Tutorials offer students an opportunity to address their specific learning needs in one-on-one setting. Tutorials are a requisite part of the core technique series, to help students locate and address any deficiencies in their understanding. A tutorial is also administered during the Student Clinic, to help guide students through the metamorphosis into professionalism.

Our program prepares students for intelligent participation within an integrated health care team. Preparation of clinical case studies gives students an opportunity to develop the necessary writing and documentation skills.

32 case studies are prepared and discussed within the core curriculum, in addition to the 82 treatments administered during Student Clinic.

Documentation methods studied include Zen Shiatsu Kyo/Jitsu Composite Profiles, SOAP note format (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan), and TCM Pattern Diagnosis.

Bodywork is a kinesthetic discipline. The single best way to learn it is by actually receiving treatments. Ten treatments with professional practitioners are required for graduation. Feel free to ask questions of your therapist and take advantage of these golden learning opportunities.