Massage, like rubbing and applying pressure on meridians and acupuncture points, has always been of great importance for the chinese population. In the 6th century AD the chinese medicine found its way into Japan, where the Japanese refined the techniques and ideas behind it. That way, concepts like Hara and Ki found their way into the theory of Shiatsu.

At the beginning of the 20th century the massage, which originally was performed by physicians, developed into a kind of massage which was then also performed at the emporors house as well later at bathhouses. 1925 Tokujiro Namikoshi founded the first Shiatsu School - a clinic for pressure therapy. Thanks to Namikoshis efforts Shiatsu has been accepted by the Japanese government as an independent method of treatment.

Shizuto Masunaga, a disciple of Namikoshi, brought Shiatsu into the West. He developed his own style, which he called "Zen-Shiatsu". He combined known Shiatsu techniques with the model of the meridians, psychological considerations as well as the western understanding of the physiology of the human body.

He developed an independent theory, which included western beliefs of disease and healing as well as eastern ones. Not only did Masunaga refine the traditional methods of touch-diagnosis on the hara and the back, but he also contributed big parts to the meridian system - the foundation of Shiatsu. Through intensive practice and exploration of the Ki-lines, he expanded the 12 classical meridians over the whole body.

Most of today's international well-known Shiatsu teachers were influenced by the work of Shizuto Masunaga. After his death in 1981, many of his disciples have started to teach their own interpretations of his work. Through their findings and discoveries Shiatsu stays a rich and living practice of manual body therapy.