Shiatsu and Masunaga’s exercises

Shiatsu and Masunaga’s exercises

Gianfranco Ferraro, FIS affiliated graduate shiatsu operator, practices Zen Shiatsu (Masunaga method), tui na, watsu, gives qi gong lessons and deals with moxibustion and infant massage. Many techniques, a condition on which his work is based: listening to what comes from the person. Becoming a lake

Shiatsu and Masunaga's exercises

The Spleen I had a bit ‘unloaded and Gianfranco gave a nice hand. In the true sense of the word, considering that his hand is more than expert. The treatment we got during the shiatsu week was sweet. But this is not an adjective to be taken in a limiting way. Rather an experience that goes in the direction of listening. And listening implies a sweetness, a time ; listening wants its serenity.  

Gianfranco Ferraro , shiatsu operator, explains it to me well, with a metaphor that brings us back to the Chinese Tui , the lake. “When I start to work, the quieter the water, the more I can think about what those with me want to tell me. I understand the need, I get in touch.”

A lake that knows how to rise. “When necessary, I also know how to be a mountain , especially on an emotional level.”  

He explains to me that in shiatsu there is no strength , that the weight of the body is used, the relaxed weight of the whole body . The metaphor is that of Masunaga himself: a child walking on your back. Precisely:

“If you have ever tried to walk    

a little baby on your back,  

you know what natural pressure means “

(Shizuto Masunaga)

The practice allows the operator to acquire sensitivity, consistency. The sensation brings out the understanding of energy , which can be slow or fast, excess or stagnant.

Masunaga himself was a teacher of psychology and a Zen philosopher , his work of study and application was a continuous work of fusion and deepening. Masunaga himself had codified specific exercises  for stretching and opening the Meridians  (specifically, with Gianfranco we did  Makko-Ho for the Earth element) . 


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“Working in listening respects the limits of the person.” Gianfranco explains to me. “You need to be present without necessarily wanting to impose or impose on yourself something to do.” When we investigate the differences between physiotherapy and shiatsu, Gianfranco explains to me that the former, as physical rehabilitation work, is indispensable in some cases. Shiatsu can be complementary to medical treatments , as it works on an energetic level. “For example, I turned away a client who after an operation would have wanted to replace the physiotherapy cycle with my sessions.”  

Shiatsu practitioners who work seriously can, at the first session, show you an informed consent form to fill in its fields. Gianfranco showed it to me. In addition to the fields that the recipient fills in, there is information relating to the operator (for example, in the case of Gianfranco, the qualification of professional shiatsu operator, Law 4/2013, registration in the Professional Members List in the Italian Register of Shiatsu Operators of the Italian Federation of Shiatsu Teachers and Operators ). The form specifies the energetic nature of the treatmentaimed at the recovery and maintenance of physical well-being. “We are not in the field of aesthetics, we are not in the health sector, these distinctions must be clarified, so as not to create confusion.”   

In the days of the earthquake in L’Aquila , many shiatsu operators poured into the rubble like angels. I asked Gianfranco if the Kidneys are the first to suffer in the event of natural disasters. “Without doubt the fear goes to alter the energetic flow of the Kidneys . Then the breath stops, followed by the rejection of what is external, what is outside.”   

Gianfranco has also worked with people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson ‘s . “The effect, not the cause, in that case is a lack of grounding, which relates to the energy of the Wood.” But, even in the case of Parkinson’s, he points out that “each person is a unique and priceless being and each case is different.” 

Gianfranco collaborates with nutritionists and dentists, he actively participated in the process of recognizing the professional figure of the shiatsu operator. In fact, on 11 February 2013, Law no. 4 of January 14, 2013 “Provisions regarding unorganized professions”, law that regulates the activity of shiatsu operator together with all other unregulated activities. From February the professionals – shiatsu operators of the Italian Federation of Shiatsu Teachers and Operators – will be able to ask to “qualify” on the market by registering with the association and by issuing a certificate by the association that will describe all the qualifications. professional and the guarantees that are given to users. 

Small steps towards new possibilities for openness and collaboration. 

Image | Gianfranco Ferraro

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