A New Model of Shiatsu Energy-work (Cliff Andrews)

I was really excited, I had been invited to present at the Italian Shiatsu Federation Congress. It isn’t often that you get the chance to work with a group of over 300 students, and to work with a leading Physicist specialising in the latest scientific explanations of energy-work. I had first met Emilio Del Giudice a few years before at a Quantum Shiatsu conference in Rome, and now here I was, sitting next to him in a vast room surrounded by the largest expanse of Shiatsu students that I had ever seen.

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After Emilio’s introduction which covered the differences between the classical and quantum physics view of the world, it was my turn to lead some exercises. I always like to keep things practical and let the student learn from their own experience – and what an experience turned out to be.

More that 300 people certainly amplified the exercises as we bounced off each other, contracting different parts of our body acting as if we were individual particles, and then created a more harmonious energy field by all walking in a circle together – experiencing the feeling of connection around the circle as we relaxed and centred ourselves.

Emilio soon had everyone laughing as he described how an accident led to the discovery that light is emitted by living thing. One day in the lab a new photon detector that hadn’t yet been switched on mysteriously started to register photon emissions. A bag of shopping containing peas,  that someone had left on top of the machine had set it off. The man who discovered this, Fritz-Albert Popp (1994) is now benefiting from the commercial applications. But how can the feeling of one-ness walking in a circle with others and light-emitting peas bring us nearer to understanding how Shiatsu works?

The classical idea of the universe, one that is composed of empty space filled with separate particles doesn’t come close to explaining Shiatsu (Green 2004 p.77). The idea that mind and body are separate (Descartes 1596-1650, 1968), underpins the difficulty that Western science has in linking the physical body, emotions, mind and spirit. The quantum view of the world – where all of existence is simultaneously made up of waves and particles, and where connection is an integral part of nature makes sense to us involved in Shiatsu (Damasio,1994; Del Giudice, 2005, p9)

We “tune” into tsubos, we “harmonise” meridians, the mind leads the Ki, and the Ki leads the Blood. All of these descriptions are of wave-like experiences of interconnection between different parts of our Ki and the Ki of others.

So what might actually be happening when we work a meridian? We could retreat into the classical Chinese model (Mulvagh, 2005) and restrict ourselves to TCM concepts such as Qi and Blood.  But why should we ignore a chance for Shiatsu to be part of the latest understanding of the nature of life itself?

The meridians act like quantum coherent domains in the body tissue. (Del Giudice, 2005 p10) What does coherent mean? You know the feeling of Shiatsu or Qi Gong group exercises with the whole group working as one? You know that feeling when you seem to almost lose your own awareness and merge with a greater feeling of the group? That feeling is one of coherence, or being in phase with the others. Living organisms are always going in and out of a coherent state, and energy is emitted in the form of light to create this coherence, hence the mystery photon – popping peas. So what are tsubos? Tsubos can be explained as in-coherent domains in the body tissue.

By the end of the day with Emilio at the Italian Congress my mind was reeling – there just had to be something in this – I was sure of it.  The quantum interpretation explains so much that we take for granted with Shiatsu, and it gives an explanation for many of things that we do that sound positively weird to those outside the world of Shiatsu, and even to some inside it (Carrington, 2004). Most of us have unknowingly internalised a classical world-view which is of no use at all in trying to understand what happens when we work with Ki:

“The concept of psycho-emotional unity of a human (and more in general a living organism)…. classical physics and the other “hard sciences” that are based on it such as modern molecular biology are inadequate to deal with this fundamental notion.” (Del Guidice 2005 p1)

Here are just a few questions that can be answered by a quantum coherent model of the meridians.

  • Why haven’t the meridians been found anatomically? Because they represent a quantum state of the existing body tissue (Del Giudice 2005 p10)
  • What is the mechanism behind the experience of the two-handed connection technique? (Masunaga, 1977 p 49) The two handed connection is the direct experience of the phase state or coherence of the meridian pathway.
  • How does working a tsubo balance a meridian? By pressing a tsubo we introduce energy into the system – only a small amount of energy is needed – especially if it is the correct type or phase, to switch the body tissue from an in-coherent to a coherent state – which is why often a relatively small amount of work on a tsubo can create a large effect on the meridian connection.
  • How is it possible to feel tsubos away from the physical body? The electromagnetic field around the coherent (balanced” or “flowing” parts of the meridian) and in-coherent domains – (the tsubos or areas of “blockage” in the meridians) would differ – the electromagnetic field would be disrupted over the incoherent domain (the tsubo) and would then smooth out at it was put back in phase and became coherent (the experience of the tsubo “disappearing” once the meridian is “balanced”).

And that is just for starters. How about tuning in on different levels? (Andrews, 2001) Modelling? Using mindset? All these techniques that are tools of the trade for us as Shiatsu energy- workers suddenly become explainable if we start thinking in terms of a wave based quantum connected world (Green, 2004 p77). Many of our experiences that we usually think of metaphorically would literally be happening. “It is like everyone is in phase” commented Emilio interestedly as 300plus Shiatsu students made an impressive display of tuning into each other’s Ki … “ no wait a minute..” he corrected himself “they are in phase – that is exactly what is happening… their electromagnetic fields are in phase….”.

Later that day Emilio added “you know there was an experiment to measure the phase state of the fields of a group of individuals” – they found two of the individuals were exactly in phase – and couldn’t explain it, Emilio’s eyes twinkled “it turns out they were in love”.

Which brings us right back to Masunaga (1977 p51), who described the feeling of two lovers holding hands in the context of energy connection. Masunaga’s theory can be explained in Quantum terms. Masunaga’s work has made Shiatsu popular world-wide, he combined a deep study of the Chinese classics and interpreted them in the light of the latest scientific knowledge of life processes. Long may his spirit continue, or perhaps we should say – long may his spirit resonate (Zohar, 1990 p123).       


Andrews, C. (2001) “Teaching Vibrational Frequency in Shiatsu”. Available from www.shiatsucentre.net

Carrington, J. (2004) “Healing Hands”. Letter to Shiatsu Society News 89, pp 20-21

Damasio, A. (1994) “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain”. New York: Putnam

Del Giudice, E.(2005) “The psycho-emotional-unity of living organisms as an outcome of quantum physics”. Available from www.shiatsucentre.net

Descartes, R. (1968) “Discourse on Method and Meditations”. England: Penguin

Green, B. (2004) “The Fabric of the Cosmos”. New York: Vintage Books

Masunaga, s. (1977) “Zen Shiatsu”. Tokyo: Japan Publications

Mulvagh, T. (2005) “Classically Based Shiatsu”. Shiatsu Society News 94, pp 6-7

Popp, F. A., Gu, Qiao and Li, Ke-Hsueh, (1994) “Biophoton emissions: experimental background and theoretical approaches”. Modern Physics Letters B, 8(21/22): 1269-96

Zohar, D. (1990) “Quantum Self”. London: Bloomsbury


© Cliff Andrews is co-founder of the Shiatsu College in Norwich (GB) and direktor of the shiatsucentre.net, cliff@shiatsucentre.net, phone: +44 (1) 603 632555 (publisched in Shiatsu Society News Autumn 2005)