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What is the Shinzui Bodywork Method?

A unique approach, integrating East and West

The Shinzui Bodywork Method is a unique way of working, practiced and taught by the Shinzui Bodywork International Institute.

It's a whole-body manual therapy, firmly rooted in Eastern bodywork traditions, with special focus on abdominal work and meridian work, enriched with Western visceral, fascial and musculoskeletal bodywork.


Shinzui is a Japanese word meaning 'essence'. The Shinzui method is all about reaching one's essence -- communicating with the body’s innate intelligence -- through touch.

We combine the Eastern medicine approach - understanding the body as an inseparable, interconnected whole - with a 'western' musculoskeletal, visceral, neural and fascial anatomy approach.


This opens a new way to see and treat the body. It offers us an integrated way to work with the body’s different layers of intelligence, listening to and attuning the different rhythms in the body (the organs, cranial sacral, heart, breathing), with particular focus on the abdomen or ‘Hara’ - our ‘second brain’ - and the different vessels and meridians in the body.

What are 'layers of intelligence'?


The different layers of intelligence can be seen as different maps or perspectives to look at the body.


Manual therapists are often trained to see one perspective and treat the body according to their specialization. This has its strengths, but inevitably also its limitations. The Shinzui Bodywork Method offers an understanding of the body’s different structures and their interrelationships. 


It is built on a body of knowledge going from the present day, right back to the great classics of Oriental medicine. If you are a manual therapist it will enrich your manual therapy practice with an integrated perspective and allow you to build on what you already know.


It is not about learning yet another therapy. Or just adding some more techniques. It is about being able to work very precisely and communicating with the different structures in the body while maintaining a truly holistic view.     

A scientific method with traditional roots


The Shinzui Bodywork Method is rooted in ampuku, and is closely related to shiatsu. You could say that the method is an evolution of ampuku-based shiatsu, strongly influenced by modern scientific knowledge about our anatomy.

Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese manual therapy involving pressure along the body's meridians using the fingers, thumbs, elbows, palms of the hand and meridian stretches.

Ampuku is a body treatment that focuses on working and freeing the Hara. 'Hara', meaning the belly, gut or abdomen, is the body's main energy center. Ampuku was initially a branch of ancient Japanese therapy derived from 'Anma' traditional Chinese massage.



Known in Japanese culture as our core or abdominal powerhouse. The many Japanese arts, whether medical, martial or artistic, all consider the Hara as the source of life and movement. In the west it has gained awareness as "the gut, our second brain" and has been the subject of scientific research. Research that has proven the Hara’s importance in our overall wellbeing.

Different layers of intelligence directly worked on
in the Shinzui Bodywork Method

  • Meridians and vessels – The body’s energetic pathways: the Acupuncture, Zen and Sinew channels and Extraordinary vessels.

  • Internal organs – Zang fu organ network: Oriental organ work, visceral osteopathy organ motility and mobility.

  • Bone structure and myofascial lines –muscle, fascia, tendon, bone connections. Fascial work, sinew channels and functional anatomy.

  • Circulatory system – heart and blood vessels.

  • Pulses, visceral vascular anatomy.

  • Craniosacral and neural system – the brain, scull, spine, spinal fluid and nerves.

  • Cranial wave, cranial, spinal and neural anatomy.


This list not exhaustive since by working one of these layers we will also affect the hormonal, the psyche, the emotional, the lymphatic, … parts of our being.



Benefits for the whole body and the whole person

The aim of the Shinzui Bodywork Method is to improve the receiver's overall health and wellbeing. It does this by stimulating the energy flow and correcting disharmonies throughout the body.


In more scientific terms, the purpose is to stimulate the hormonal, circulatory, musculoskeletal and lymphatic systems and to regulate the automatic nervous system activity.

The treatment is deeply transformative. It stimulates the body's self-healing capabilities and can help relieve pain and illness, heal common ailments and conditions, and reduce stress.


Many people can benefit from Shinzui Bodywork Method treatments. The disorders we address are: musculoskelatal (such as acute or chronic back pain, neck pain, sciatica, tendonitis, etc.), respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, depression, burnout, fibromyalgia, headaches, etc.


However, we don't just focus on a specific disorder; but rather on the whole body, mind and spirit.


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