Shiatsu is rooted in the traditional Oriental philosophy and health education, specially in China and Japan.
In Japan, Shiatsu is officially recognized since the end of the 1964 as a profession, an independent method of treatment, and has continuously expanded and further developped in Europe and worldwide. It has adopted its own form in the western world.
In the tradition of Shiatsu the following personalities with their individual Shiatsu styles are particularly significant:
- Tenpeki Tamai founded the name Shiatsu in 1919 as the therapeutical application of traditional manual techniques.
- Tokujiro Namikoshi (1905 – 2000) developed a Shiatsu style based more on the physical structure of the body and on the framework of Western medical science. He combined these principles with the traditional Oriental knowledge of energy. Tokujiro Namikoshi’s style reached high levels of popularity mainly in Japan and in 1964 obtained the state recognition as an independent form of therapy.
- Shizuto Masunaga (1925 – 1981) already a teacher in Namikoshi school, founded IOKAI style, focused on traditional manual techniques and chinese health theories. Furthermore he integrated philosophical and psycological aspects in his Shiatsu work. He enhanced the theory of meridians and developed additional Shiatsu techniques. His style expanded mostly in Western countries.