Kathy Kapps Practicing Zen Shiatsu

Kathy Kapps Practicing Zen Shiatsu

For years – this has been the most common question people ask me. Honestly, I believe my answer is controversial. . .

Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture, but works with the hands instead of needles. Thus, any method that stimulates Acupressure points is considered a style of Acupressure.

Shiatsu techniques stimulate the Acupressure points directly and very powerfully for healing purposes, thus it’s a major form of Acupressure. I know many Shiatsu teachers would state this differently, keeping Shiatsu in its own unique category.

Shiatsu, as a healing art, has profound cultural Japanese roots. The Namikoshi family, beginning in the early 1900’s, developed Shiatsu Therapy in Japan, separating it from traditional Japanese Amma Massage. Namikoshi was the first to provide a physiological understanding of Shiatsu Therapy’s benefits. Since the establishment of Namikoshi Shiatsu in Japan, which uses primarily the thumbs, many other styles of Shiatsu have developed incorporating numerous creative ways of pressing and stretching the body.

Shiatsu Therapy has many applications such as Sports Medicine, Pain Management, and Spa Work. The different forms of Shiatsu depend upon the way the acupressure points are stimulated 1) through the rhythm of the practitioner, and 2) through the Shiatsu bodywork method – using the hands, knuckles, knees, elbows, feet, full-body movements, and gentle stretching.

Michael Reed Gach and his teacher Reuho Yamada

Michael Reed Gach receiving Zen Shiatsu from his teacher Reuho Yamada

Shiatsu is one of the most well-known forms of acupressure in the United States. This was the result of several Shiatsu books by Japan Publications, which were distributed by Harper and Row, bringing these teachings mainstream in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Shiatsu Therapy has continued to grow throughout the world in scope, application, technique, training, and as a recognized healing practice.

In future bogs — I plan to continue sharing my Shiatsu stories of my Zen Shiatsu teacher, and my Shiatsu experiences while in Japan, exchanging Shiatsu on a bed of course salt with a group of Japanese men in a health spa.
I also want to share what Shiatsu techniques I have learned in future YouTube clips, so stay tuned.


What’s the difference between Shiatsu & Acupressure? — 17 Comments

  1. Dear Michael,

    I am one of those who got my certification from the Acupressure Institute under your tutelage and RN Alice Hyett way back on September 2002. and I am very proud to have been under you.

    With this new undertaking of yours (BLOG), I am sure a lot of us from the Institute and many more who will come across it will be very grateful. Please keep on sharing with us your expertise and more power to you. CONGRATULATIONS!

    Jose Florentin

    • I am proud of the healing work you can do. As a graduate of the Acupressure Institute, I want to encourage you to actually do more of this healing work. Teaching the Acupressure points and really great healing techniques is not enough – we have to do it. If you need support or ideas to promote your private practice and to reach people, please send me your aspirations, and visions for doing your healing work, along with questions on how to actually reach more people. I would like to write about this on my blog, if you are interested in exploring ways to promote your private practice. We need more healing in the world, and I believe that’s a big reason why you decided to study at the Acupressure Institute.

  2. I have been very successful in helping people with sciatica problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar back pains and have rehabilitated stroke patients in their paralysis of upper and lower limbs and restored them back to as much as 92% of their mobility, all through pressure points that I have learned from the Institute and from actual experience. I always give credit to the Institute and take pride to have graduated from there.

    More power to you, SIR!

  3. Dear Michael,
    Thanks for your quick response and your encouragement toward acupressure. i have interest in knowing more. i just bought an acupressure machine but i don’t know how to use it. All i have learnt is from you, please give me more training.

  4. Do you have any ideas for sensory issues? My daughter (having high functioning autism) & I both have issues. Right now I am having very bad issues with my whole body not wanting to be touched, even by myself. I have PTSD also. I greatly appreciate any help you can provide.

    Thank you for your acupressure points explanation. I really like the way it is approached. 🙂

    • Emotional Healing: The root of your sensory issues may stem from your sense of self – how you trust and feel about yourself. For instance, self-doubt and worry is often rooted in not trusting yourself, but instead doubting yourself, your intuition, your feelings, and judgement. This causes anxiety, insecurity, fear, and gets to be ungrounded, or crazy making. Acupressure can help tremendously and you need guidance to do it. I wrote an entire Emotional Healing book, which took me 7 years, and it has 400 illustrations, showing clearly what you and your daughter can do to heal yourselves. Instead of massaging and touching, you’ll be guided to simply hold the points, which is not sensorial and will make you feel safe.

  5. Dear Mr Micheal,
    I am very thankful to you for providing me classical information on acupressure treatments of various diseases. Although I am in this field for past eighteen years,but still find some thing new in your mails.
    Would you please guide me how to undertake Acupressure Treatment for Skin Herpes specifically.
    Thank you very much once again.
    Suresh Nanda , India

    • I am not a medical doctor and do not treat diseases. Acupressure is not a cure for Herpes, although there are points which relieve and balance outbreaks. LI 4 is great for reducing the Herpes reaction and brings down the Herpes flareup. Also use P6 and Sp 6.

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