Following are some definitions to help you understand terms that I have used on my site that you may not be familiar with. Many of these terms describe forms of therapy that I have studied and I have tried to get the definitions directly from the organizations of practitioners who teach and practice these techniques. Other terms are Asian words that don’t have corresponding  English words or words that we use a bit differently within the context of this subject.

ABT (Asian Bodywork Therapy)

Is the treatment of the human body/mind/spirit, including the electromagnetic or energetic field which surrounds, infuses and brings that body to life, by using pressure and/or manipulation. Asian Bodywork is based upon Chinese Medical principles for assessing and evaluating the body’s energetic system. It uses traditional Asian techniques and treatment strategies to primarily affect and balance the energetic system for the purpose of treating the human body, emotions, mind, energy field and spirit for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health.

Chi Nei Tsang

An entire system of Chinese deep healing that makes use of the energy flow of the five major systems in the body: vascular, lymphatic, nervous, tendon/muscle, and acupuncture meridians. With this practice one is able to increase the energy flow to specific organs through massaging a series of points in the navel area. Chi Nei Tsang frees the energy blockages in the navel and then guides the healing light energy into other parts of the body. Chi Nei Tsang was brought to America by Master Mantak Chia.


Bands or sheets of fibrous connective tissue that envelopes, separates and binds together muscles, organs, and other structures. There is some speculation that it is the fascia that acts as the conductor for qi.

Gua Sha

An Asian medical technique for removing blood stagnation from the surface tissues of the body. When press stroking is applied in even repeated strokes small red dots called petechia appear. This is also called sha. Pain immediately shifts and the small dots begin to fade into blended reddishness.

Jin Shin Do

Combines gentle yet deep finger pressure on acupoints with simple body focusing techniques to help release physical and emotional tension. It promotes a pleasurable trance state during which the recipients can get in touch with their body and access feelings or emotions related to their physical condition. This body-mind approach is a unique synthesis of a traditional Japanese acupressure technique, classical Chinese acupuncture theory, Taoist philosophy, breathing methods, and Reichian segmental theory. Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® was developed by Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, Psychotherapist.

Macrobiotic Shiatsu

Founded by Shizuko Yamamoto and based on George Ohsawa’s philosophy that each individual is an integral part of nature, Macrobiotic Shiatsu supports a natural lifestyle and heightened instincts for improving health. Assessments are through visual, verbal, and touch techniques (including pulses) and the Five Transformations.  Treatment involves non-invasive touch and pressure using hand and barefoot techniques and stretches to facilitate the flow of Qi and to strengthen the body-mind. Dietary guidance, medicinal plant foods, breathing techniques and home remedies are emphasized. Corrective exercises, postural rebalancing, palm healing, self-shiatsu, and Qigong are included in Macrobiotic Shiatsu.

Medical Qigong,

An ancient branch of Chinese Medicine, has existed for several thousand years. Like Acupuncture and Tuina therapies, Medical Qigong is based on meridian and point theory, as well as ancient Chinese philosophy. Medical Qigong refers to a wide series of therapeutic methods, including but not limited to: breath training, psychosomatic exercises, meditation, and guided visualization that direct the practitioners to create a place of health and balance in their clients. Medical Qigong practitioners are trained in Qi transference and replenishment to be used as a healing art different from self-Qigong exercises taught for personal use.

Nuad Bo Rarn

Is the traditional Thai medical bodywork form. Thai bodywork is based upon an integration of Indian Buddhist medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Thai bodywork utilizes hand techniques and a unique approach to passive movement and stretching in order to open up the veins or energy passages and release chronic tension from the body. Nuad Bo Rarn incorporates a spiritual dimension in its gentle and focused approach to ABT.


The energy that flows through the body and is subject to treatment in both acupressure and acupuncture. Qi can also be defined as everything. Solid things are the coarsest and heaviest type of qi. Lighter types of qi form liquid and the most ethereal type of qi is the life force that animates living things. (pronounced chee)


Literally means finger (Shi) pressure (Atsu) and although Shiatsu is primarily pressure, usually applied with the thumbs along the meridian lines, extensive soft tissue manipulation and both active and passive exercise and stretching may be part of the treatments. Extensive use of cutaneovisceral reflexes in the abdomen and on the back are also characteristics of Shiatsu. The emphasis of Shiatsu is the treatment of the whole meridian; however, effective points are also used. The therapist assesses the condition of the patient’s body as treatment progresses. Therapy and diagnosis are one.


Is a method of Chinese bodywork characterized by the smooth gliding or rolling movements of the hands and arms. Through Tui (push) and na (grasp), kneading, pressing, rolling, shaking, and stretching of the body, acupoints are opened and qi flow is realigned in the musculo-tendon meridians. Tuina techniques are used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and internal organ disorders by opening stagnant meridian channels and encouraging the flow of qi into deficient areas. Tuina utilizes Chinese Medicine theory in assessing energetic and functional disorders. In addition, the use of external herbal medicines and therapeutic exercise is also included.

Yoga therapy

Is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of yoga.

Zen Shiatsu

Is characterized by the theory of Kyo-Jitsu, its physical and psychological manifestations, and its application to abdominal (Hara) diagnosis. Zen Shiatsu theory is based on an extended meridian system that includes, as well as expands, the location of the traditional acupuncture meridians. The focus of a Zen Shiatsu session is on the use of meridian lines rather than on specific points. In addition, Zen Shiatsu does not adhere to a fixed sequence or set of methods that are applied to all similar client needs. It utilizes appropriate methods for the unique pattern of each individual. Zen Shiatsu was developed by Shizuto Masunaga.Yoga Therapy


Karen Kessler, Licensed Massage Practitioner, Asian Bodywork Therapist

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