Postgraduate Clinical Shiatsu Studies

A one-year training with master instructor Michael DeAgro

Four Intensive Weekends - September 2016 - July 2017
Zen Shiatsu Chicago, 825A Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202


  • Students attend an intensive weekend every 2-4 months for 10 months. The time in between is devoted to application and practice of the methods, with online study and supportive mentorship.

  • All hours approved for NCCAOM PDA credit and NCBTMB CE hours (30 hours per weekend, 120 hours for the full program).

  • All classes also count towards CE hours for renewal of IL licenses for massage therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, naprapathy, nursing, occupational therapy and social work.

Program participants must be professional Asian Bodywork Therapists or Acupuncturists, or have at least 100 hours of student training in an ABT discipline.

For practicing Asian Bodywork Therapists, one of Michael’s passions is elevating the clinical and economic success of dedicated Asian bodywork practitioners. Clinical results are the key to developing a thriving word-of-mouth practice. This program is designed to help you deliver clinical results across a broad spectrum of pathologies and achieve the practice of your dreams.  The clinic at Zen Shiatsu Chicago has doubled in size since practitioners concluded the first Postgraduate training in 2015.  We hope to share this success with many more therapists in 2016.

For acupuncturists, this program provides access to the empathic sensitivity and felt sense of qi that you may not have connected to during your entry-level studies. You will learn to practice using empathic ability and your body’s guidance. You will learn to perceive and affect qi directly through touch and clarify the unique benefits of treatment with touch in contrast to needling technique.  You will learn to directly feel and utilize the collateral channels (Sinew, Luo, Divergent, Extraordinary) that are under-examined in entry-level acupuncture education, and are the key to treating chronic immune system dysfunction and degenerative illness.  The Ling Shu says the following about the Divergent channels: "...they are the very breath of the superior physician."  Come learn why this is true.  

Download the Complete Brochure Online

An AOBTA-Endorsed Educational Event

All weekends run Friday-Monday, with timeframes as follows: Friday/Saturday 8:30am-6:00pm, Sunday/Monday 8:30am-5:00pm

Intensive I: Sinew Channels, September 16-19, 2016
Intensive II: Primary Channels, November 4-7, 2016
Intensive III: Divergent Channels, April 28-May 1, 2017
Intensive IV: Extraordinary Vessels and Integration of Channels, July 14-17, 2017

Full Seminar (120 hours): $3500 via payment plan, $3350 paid in one sum
Per Intensive (30 hours): $1095
Payment Plan 1: $500 at registration, $300/mo. 9/1/16 - 6/1/17 (0% APR)
Payment Plan 2: $500 at registration, $136/mo. 9/1/16 - 8/1/18 (8% APR)

Early Registration
Save $100 by paying the deposit on or before 8/16/16. (Deposit $400 instead of $500)

Introductory Offerings for Prospective Students: 


The Primacy of Touch and the Life Principle
Free Lecture - Friday July 8th, 7-10pm

Register Online 


In this presentation, Michael DeAgro discusses the extraordinary capacity of touch and how it is uniquely suited for restoring and nourishing the connection to life. Sharing insights from both classical Chinese medicine and modern neurobiology, Michael explores how human touch offers possibilities for growth and healing that cannot be matched by any other instrument. Human touch both receives and transmits force, resonance, and information, enabling the integration of diagnosis and treatment into a unified activity. He shares his discoveries about the internal dynamics of touch as a direct transmission of the Heart, which allows it to harmonize the life principle of Heaven and Earth. Michael shares his findings and reflections on what it means to sense “Qi” directly through touch and how to regulate the “channels of Qi” with effortlessness and immediacy. His insights into the practice of touch as medicine come from twenty-five years of practice as a shiatsu practitioner and somatic psychotherapist. Following the lecture will be a question and answer session about the content and objectives of the Postgraduate Clinical Shiatsu Studies Program.


The Touch of Intrinsic Qi: Maximal Effect With Minimal Effort
Hands-On Introduction - Saturday July 9th, 9am-4pm

Tuition: $120 - the cost of the workshop can be credited towards the $500 program downpayment.

Register Online 


In this workshop, Michael DeAgro teaches a clear and simple method for achieving tangible results in the "channel qi" with effortless touch. We will explore the effects of light touch combined with specific changes in spacial perception for facilitating the patterning of qi. This process teaches the participant how to take the gross motor skills of shiatsu technique and transform them into the refined touch of the intrinsic conveyance of qi. Instruction will include demonstration and practice, practice, practice.

Following the workshop will be a question and answer session about the content and objectives of the Postgraduate Clinical Shiatsu Studies Program.


Why Postgraduate Shiatsu Studies?  - An Interview with Michael DeAgro

...”To have a successful clinical practice I think you’ve got to be able to accomplish two things.  You’ve got to make good relationships with people and you’ve got to get them results.  And then beyond that the building of a private practice is word of mouth.  If you’re getting people good results and they’re going out in the community and talking about it then you’re getting referrals.  So, I really think the key to business success is getting good clinical success.  To get good clinical success I think you have to train with teachers that are getting good clinical success.  That’s the start right there. I think Shiatsu is really an extraordinary healing practice, an extraordinary medicine, and I think a lot of Shiatsu practitioners are doing really wondrous things in their practices.  But, from my interactions with lots of therapists across the country, I think they’re also just scratching the surface. They can do a whole lot more.

Watch the full interview online

Program Objectives:


  • Learn how to work with multiple levels of the channel system to efficiently restore the natural and innate functions of life and healing.
  • Expand your range of empathic perception for diagnosis and treatment to elicit effortlessly spontaneous shifts in the patterning of antipathogenic qi.
  • Discover dynamic models of treatment that expand the scope of modern TCM training and extend the foundation training of Asian bodywork education.
  • Explore the Dao Yin cultivation practices that enable you to give healing touch with greater proficiency and ease.
  • Create a sustainable bodywork practice by increasing your clinical ability to restore life in the presence of illness, disease, and disharmony.


Learn how to choose the most appropriate channel system for treating a given pathology.

The program investigates the multiple systems of channels and vessels at the core of classical channel theory. Entry level training in shiatsu therapy typically emphasizes the study and use of the primary channels for treatment. This program explores the use of all the channel systems within the classical tri-level framework of the three qi levels: wei qi, ying qi, yuan qi. These three levels encompass the total channel/vessel network: sinew channels, primary channels, luo vessels, divergent channels, and eight extraordinary vessels.

Learning to work with all levels of the channel systems offers practitioners more dynamic treatment options, which are especially valuable for addressing the deepest roots of disease, mobilizing antipathogenic qi and empowering radical transformation in the growth and healing process of an unfolding life. Study of the distinct functions of each channel system provides practitioners with a broader framework for sensing - through empathic touch - the most optimal place to catalyze change.  Our goal is not to focus on altering disease manifestations but to elicit the total dynamic functioning of  the life principle as it expresses through the life cycle.  This approach aligns us with the strongest potential for spontaneous healing according to the client’s natural momentum.

We will discuss the psychophysiology and distinctive pathologies of each channel system, and the appropriate shiatsu methodology for optimal treatment of each channel system. Each intensive includes basic instruction in both the theory and clinical application of one or two channel systems. Emphasis will be given to translating Chinese medical concepts into tangible, observable phenomena. The aim is to develop an embodied understanding of the material through experiential training and clinical practice.

Expand your range of energetic perception for diagnosis, and learn techniques to radically shift the patterning of qi.

Special consideration will be given to the cultivation of empathic sensitivity and treating with intrinsic qi. Treating with intrinsic qi is the ability to treat through touch without relying on the physical movement of touch, often referred to as “qi before strength”. It enables us to achieve maximum effect with minimal effort. When combined with a refined understanding of the total channel network, we can stimulate radical shifts in the patterning of qi.

Michael will introduce his own shiatsu method, Zenki Soho Shiatsu, which he originated from the combined influences of his long-time studies of Quantum Shiatsu with Pauline Sasaki, his contemplations of the classical teachings, and Daoist internal martial arts practice. Zenki Soho Shiatsu approaches diagnosis as a perception of spacial dynamics rather than a “movement of qi”.  Treatment is approached as the regulation of contraction/expansion of the spatial field through empathic resonance. His method often produces tangible and immediate results with seemingly no effort.

Learn the Dao Yin qi cultivation practices that prepare you to give bodywork at a master level.

Dao Yin translates as “guiding and leading”. Dao Yin practice is the specific skill cultivation of “guiding and leading” qi in the body. Our Dao Yin practice will involve specific internal movement processes that train the unique sensitivity required for facilitating the optimal movement of qi with the least amount of physical effort. This self-cultivation process is key to directly perceiving and differentiating the channel networks and infusing our shiatsu technique with intrinsic power.

Intensive I: Sinew Channels, Wei Qi & the Exterior

The first intensive provides an investigation of surface energetics, which is regulated by the sinew channels. Unblocking the sinew channels facilitates the flow of wei qi as it is expressed through the sensory orifices, the skin, and the myofascial network. Successful treatment of the sinew channel system supports our exchange with the world around us. The free flow of wei qi is essential to creative expression and the management of boundaries in life. Effectively treating the sinew channel complex is critical to healing many immunological challenges such as allergies and infections, neurological and orthopedic conditions such as pain syndromes and musculoskeletal injuries, and psycho-emotional disharmonies involving chronic myofascial constriction. Skillfully treating the sinew channels is critical to enhancing resiliency and expressivity in our basic movements in the world.

We will discuss the classical six divisions of yin-yang zones (taiyang, shaoyang, yangming, taiyin, shaoyin, jueyin) as the fundamental movement patterns of life. Focus will be on assessing the six divisions and finding the most dynamic points for immediate release of the sinew and unblocking the flow of wei qi. Focus will be on the application of shiatsu technique to release holding patterns in the sinew channels without the need for physical manipulation of the tissue, restoring the responsiveness of life in the surface. 

Intensive II: Primary Channels, Luo Vessels & Functional Illness

The second intensive extends our understanding of the functional energetics of the ying qi level, which is expressed through the primary channel and luo vessel system.  The primary/luo channels are responsible for generating and managing the flow of ying qi (post-natal qi/blood) and closely associated with the zang-fu organs. Learning to effectively treat the primary channels helps us support the continuous creation of life, restore health to visceral disharmonies, and nourish all of the body’s tissues. We are most familiar with the functions of this channel system from our foundation studies in TCM models of physiology.

This intensive presents lesser-known models of physiology from classical Chinese medicine such as Six Spheres of the Shang Han Lun and the Fire and Water model of the Fire Spirit school.  These models increase our understanding of the regenerative cycle of life and how to restore the innate momentum of the qi dynamic. Effective treatment of the primary/luo channels is especially important in resolving illnesses of the body’s qi and blood production such as digestive, respiratory, gynecological, and sleep disorders.

Our shiatsu training with the primary channels will explore a unique and alternate method of quickly restoring the post-natal cycle of ying qi for self-healing and nourishing life. This antipathogenic approach to primary channel treatment is not based on the perception of disease manifestations. It follows the perception of the ying qi cycle itself and targets the channel that will most effortlessly restore its intrinsic movement.


Intensive III: Divergent Channels, Trauma, Chronic Degenerative Illness

The third intensive in the series will explore the role of the divergent channels and the eight extraordinary vessels in psychophysiology and pathology. The divergent channel system is often the least understood of the channel systems and the most important system for regulating our instinctual nature and increasing our spontaneous adaptation to life’s challenges. The divergent channel system governs the interaction between yuan qi and wei qi. It is responsible for the balance between spontaneous expression of our essential self (yuan qi) and the innate protection (wei qi) of our life cycle. As such, it is both the source of our core power and the place of our deepest tensions and unresolved conflicts. Learning to work with the divergent channels is key to resolving a wide range of chronic and degenerative illnesses including auto-immune diseases, post-traumatic stress disorders, endocrine diseases, cancer, and many unexplainable psychosomatic conditions. Some of the most dramatic healing responses are a direct result of affecting the divergent channel network.


Intensive IV: Extraordinary Vessels, Life-Threatening Illness and Integration of the Channel Systems

In our final intensive we will examine the extraordinary vessels as the constitutional foundation for life. Being conduits of yuan qi (or jing), they represent the primal innermost organization of life and key developmental cycles. Traditionally, these vessels were not used to deal with ordinary circumstances. They are called upon under extraordinary circumstances such as life-threatening illnesses, major life altering events, or critical developmental transitions in the life cycle of birth, growth, and completion. We will develop adaptations of our shiatsu technique to invoke the special influence of these primordial vessels.

Also in our final intensive we will practice a method of multi-dimensional diagnosis through hara and channel scanning using the empathic sensitivity cultivated through the program. With new understandings of the total dynamic functioning of the channel networks, we will practice designing a treatment process and long-term treatment plan that facilitates greater integrity in the restoration of health and human potential. Time will be given to learning how to behold and tell the story of an individual’s transformation as reflected in the embodied spirit’s movement of qi.


Online Assignments and Mentoring

Online tutorials are offered bi-weekly, allowing for regular supportive mentorship throughout the program. Each online session is 2 hours of live streaming providing visual review of technique, clinical case discussions, and ongoing coaching. The online support offers an additional 30 hours of contact time.  Optionally included in the program is access to supervised practice in Michael’s teaching clinic in Traverse City, MI. (Students are responsible for their own travel and lodging.)


Perspectives from Graduates of the 2014-2015 Postgraduate Studies

Ninetta Keenan

Ninetta Keenan - Recent Shiatsu Graduate

I was so enthralled with what I had already learned through my entry-level training that I wanted to learn more.  When this program came up, there was a potential to help people who had chronic diseases, degenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases.  And since I know people who have those challenges it really gave me the impetus to sign up and do it.

I have one client in particular with whom I have working with the divergent channels.  She came to me very reluctantly and fearful about being touched by strangers, fearful of anything medical.  A couple of months later, she no longer has those fears.  Her relationships with her family have improved.  She is looking to become a social worker to help people.  This client is a marvel for me to see, I have seen her blossom into this person who is more social and happy and welcoming of new things.

To anyone who is just finishing their shiatsu training and wondering if their ready to take this next step, I say you are ready!  Take it!  I feel there is a benefit to taking this program right after or while still in an entry-level program because I didn’t have a set way of doing things, I was still learning and still trying to figure out.  And this practice expanded my horizons.  I didn’t have any preconceived notions about anything and it was just a natural progression for me.  So if anyone is on the fence about it or thinking about it - “Should I?  Shouldn’t I?” - I’d say just do it! You won’t regret it!

Karen Broyles

Karen Broyles - 20 Year Veteran Shiatsu Therapist

Shiatsu is poetry! Shiatsu is philosophy.  There’s never a time at which the line of inquiry stops.  This is a fascinating line of inquiry.  It has deepened and enriched my practice, and I feel I have many many more years of inquiry to pursue along this line.  This whole program has just been really fun for me.  I’ve really enjoyed it and my kids are tired of me talking about it.  I do not regret one moment of it.  It’s been wonderful.

I was particularly interested in this work because I had several clients who were dealing with traumatic memory, and they knew that it was underlying their symptoms.  One client had made so many different changes, but there were parts of his lifestyle that he just seemed powerless to change, though he knew were undermining his health.  Suddenly he was able to change them.  He was able to change his sleeping patterns, he was able to change the way he was eating, he even changed his job.  And when he walked in the day that he changed his job, he looked five inches taller, it was just wonderful to see.  This barrier that he broke through really coincided with our introducing the divergent channel work.

Courtney Cowie

Courtney Cowie - Tui Na Therapist

I feel that the investment I made has been well worth it in so many ways. Some of the things I am realizing and the way I interact with people are totally different than they were a year ago.

With long term clients that have been with me since the beginning of my practice, issues that had not completely resolved are starting to respond better to these techniques.  There will be landmark moments where they’re like “Wow. I had a different experience with you this time and I can’t explain it and I don’t know where it came from but that’s awesome.” 

In six months or less I have seen this level of results which is pretty incredible.  That’s how powerful these techniques are, and that’s the potential you have as therapist if you really step into this practice and apply it.

Initially coming into it, I thought “Oh gosh, I don’t know if I could do this without the shiatsu background".  I think if you’ve got the basic Chinese Medicine foundation as any Asian Bodyworker, you’re going to be fine. Not only that but I think that it really does open your perspective up as a therapist as to what’s possible.

Bridget Schrank

Bridget Schrank - Acupuncturist

I started using shiatsu while I was still an acupuncture student to give myself a better understanding of touching the channels.   With acupuncture we don’t always get this training to look at the difference between each channel system, Primary, Sinew, Divergent, Extraordinary, and the vibrational quality of each.

The curriculum that Michael was using, especially with the extraordinary vessels and the divergent channels, has been really helpful, and went far beyond the applications and theory I was taught in acupuncture school. I now understand how to perceive those channels energetically and work with them clinically.

I’ve gotten some incredible results, sensations within my own body and just knowing, and then getting feedback from clients during the treatment that “yes this is what’s happening.”  So what I’m feeling, they are feeling as well.  We’ve been experiencing some incredible leaps forward in their healing process.  Psychoemotional conditions respond very well, for clients dealing with anxiety and past traumas, and helping to release what’s affecting the body somatically now.

I would absolutely suggest this to any type of practitioner.  It can only deepen your practice and your faith in the medicine. 



The Instructor: Michael DeAgro

Michael DeAgro began his career as a visual artist, psychotherapist, and expressive arts therapist with a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1985 and an MS in counseling psychology from Loyola College in 1990. Early in his career he practiced psychodrama and many somatic psychotherapies.

In 1993, he began his studies in shiatsu and Chinese medicine at the Baltimore School of Shiatsu, studying Zen Shiatsu with Rosemary Scavullo and Integrative Eclectic Shiatsu with Barbra Esher. He continued his studies with Pauline Sasaki committing himself to the study and practice of Pauline’s Quantum Shiatsu method, which evolved from her direct studies with Shizuto Masanaga and Akinobu Kishi. Michael also researched the classical channel teachings and roots of bodywork therapies in Daoist medicine traditions.

In 2002, Michael began his studies in Chinese herbal medicine. He completed two years of private study and mentorship with Gonzalo Flores of GroundSpring Healing Center in Portland, OR. In 2014, he completed the White Pine Institute’s two-year Graduate Mentorship Program with Sharon Weizenbaum. Currently, he is continuing his studies of the Shang Han Lun herbal tradition with Dr. Feng Shi Lun of the Hu Xi Shu Classical Medicine Research Association in Beijing, China and Yaron Seidman of the Hunyuan Institute. He has also studied the Shang Han Lun tradition with Dr. Huang Huang and Alex Tiberi.

Michael also studies both Chinese and Japanese martial arts. He studies T’ai Chi Chuan and Daoist internal martial arts with Scott Phillips of Northstar Martial Arts in Boulder, CO and Aikido and Iaido with Roo Heins of Northwest Michigan Aikikai in Traverse City, MI. He credits his studies of internal martial arts as key to his understanding of effortless power and the spontaneous transformation of qi.

Michael is director of the Zenki Lotus Institute where he maintains a full-time clinic in Traverse City, Michigan. He combines the practice of psychotherapy with Asian bodywork therapies and Chinese herbal medicine. He also researches and teaches Asian bodywork therapies as touch medicine. In addition to his teaching and clinical work, he provides professional coaching and clinical supervision to both counselors and bodywork therapists. Michael holds a special interest in elevating the clinical and economic success of dedicated Asian bodywork practitioners. He is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Michigan, a board certified Diplomat of Asian Bodywork Therapy with the NCCAOM, and a Certified Instructor member of the AOBTA. He has served on the AOBTA board as Director of Education and is currently a member of the AOBTA Peer Review Committee.


Interested in the Program?

Here are the next steps you could take:

1.  Call us at 847-864-1130 with any questions, or email

2.  Add your name unpaid to the provisional student list using the form below.  We will contact you to review questions, verify prerequisites and go over any details related to payment plans, including a credit check for Payment Plan 2, as appropriate.


Phone (day)
Phone (night)
Please enter any questions you may have at this point.

3.  Register for the free workshop Demystifying Qi and the Channels, Friday July 8th, 7-10pm.

4.  Register for the one-day workshop The Touch of Intrinsic Qi, Saturday, July 9th, 9am-4pm ($120 tuition will be credited towards the full training tuition if you go on).

The Touch of Intrinsic Qi - $120 (applicable to program tuition)

5.  Pay the $500 deposit (minus $100 early registration discount through 8/16/16), and let us know which payment plan you intend to use.

Payment Plan Type

Full Seminar (120 hours): $3500 via payment plan, $3350 paid in one sum
Payment Plan 1: $500 at registration, $300/mo. 9/1/16 - 6/1/17 (0% APR)  $3500 total
Payment Plan 2: $500 at registration, $136/mo. 9/1/16 - 8/1/18 (8% APR)  $3764 total including interest
Or pay per Intensive (30 hours): $1095 x 4  $4380 total

A $500 deposit holds your place. Students planning to pay in one sum can pay the balance of $2850 on September 16th. Students using Payment Plan 1 can put a credit card on file to be charged on the first of each month beginning 9/1/16. Use of Payment Plan 2 (2-year financing) is subject to a credit check. A $25 fee applies to cover the cost of the credit check.  A $100 early deposit discount applies until 8/16/16.

All students registering for the program must have their qualifications verified by Michael DeAgro.  Program participants must be professional Asian Bodywork Therapists or Acupuncturists, or have at least 100 hours of student training in an ABT discipline.