Lovely that you are visiting our website. On this page, you will find concise English information about the Zen Shiatsu School in Amsterdam and the book “Softening our Gaze, shiatsu and the inner landscape” by Joyce Vlaarkamp. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@zenshiatsu.nl.

Softening Our Gaze, Shiatsu and the Inner Landscape

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More information about the book

Softening Our Gaze, Shiatsu and the Inner landscape

Shiatsu, Japanese manual meridian therapy, embodies in all its benevolence a rich background in the comprehensive wisdom of Eastern medicine. In Softening Our Gaze, Joyce Vlaarkamp describes the landscape from which shiatsu originates and where it engages and interacts, with particular focus on the symbolism of the meridians and organs represented in this landscape. You will find descriptions of meridian trajectories, specific characteristics, qualities of the various provinces within the body, emotions, spirits, colours, and approaches for shiatsu treatment.

After reading this book, you will understand how, by cultivating relationship with your own Inner Landscape and the three dantians and treating from this symbolic perspective, you can beneficially influence the flow of Ki – with the aim of converting potential into manifestation. Written both for the practitioner and the interested receiver.

Originally penned in Dutch as “Met zachte ogen, shiatsu en het innerlijke landschap“, the book has been available in English since 2023.

Wonderfully translated by Kevin Sliva and edited by Dinah John.

Having just turned the final page of Joyce Vlaarkamp’s literary masterpiece, “Softening our Gaze, Shiatsu and the Inner Landscape,” I find myself entranced in a world of beauty and enlightenment. This book, a true work of art, beckons the heart and mind with its prose, woven delicately like a love letter to the soul.

Within its pages, I discovered a symphony of words, each note resonating with the sweet melody of wisdom. The author’s storytelling flows like a gentle stream, guiding the reader through the enchanting forest of Shiatsu’s inner landscape.

What truly captured my heart were the illustrations, like hidden gems in a sunlit meadow. They whispered secrets I had yet to uncover, each stroke and shade an ode to the sublime beauty of this ancient practice. Unknown to my eyes, they danced upon the pages, igniting a passion for the artistry of Shiatsu.

This book is not just a mere collection of words; it’s a gateway to a world of wonder and self-discovery. It invites all, whether a seasoned practitioner, a curious student, or anyone with a yearning heart, to embark on a journey into the depths of Shiatsu’s holistic knowledge, where body and soul unite in a timeless embrace.

If your heart yearns to be serenaded by the secrets of Shiatsu, you can find this exquisite book waiting for you on Amazon, a treasure to be cherished and shared.

Emilie Fourmestraux / Shiatsu practitioner

Just reopened your book, it’s so rich and vivid. A true piece of art, genuinely moved by it.

Incredibly valuable for everyone, and for me as a practitioner, the book serves as a reminder of the essence of the profession. Thank you so much!

Karlijn Eickmans / Het Shiatsu Huis

I have also found great joy – as well as easy to digest information – in how Joyce has laid this out. Her easy writing and its well-woven wisdom have brought both inspiration and some wonderful quotes from the classics that I have already shared when returning to my students.

This book is also a treat for the eyes – richly illustrated with wonderful full-page classical Japanese paintings, photographs of extraordinary menacing temple guardians and beautiful calligraphy. 

– Book review in the UK Shiatsu Society Journal

Sebastian Deans / ShiatsuSociety.org

Joyce Vlaarkamp recorded a podcast about The inner landscape and the three tressures (three dantians) with Michael Max of QiLogical. Listen on his website, podcast number xxx (will be published soon): https://www.qiological.com/podcasts

Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Joyce Vlaarkamp: founder, teacher, writer and international speaker

From physiotherapy, I became acquainted with shiatsu, and this has become the guiding thread in my existence. I studied under as many teachers as possible, but the Zen Shiatsu style was my favorite due to its simplicity, flexibility, and effectiveness. In 1996, I founded the Zen Shiatsu Training, where Zen Shiatsu is taught based on Japanese meridian therapy. Shiatsu is beautifully sensitive and simultaneously powerful and effective. Its endless variations and possibilities will always captivate me in both treatment and teaching. 

In addition to shiatsu, I also like to practice moxibustion and Toyo Hari, Japanese acupuncture. 
And I published shiatsu books. Most of them in Dutch, and one in English (see above).

I also love teaching in various schools and speaking at conferences about the Inner Landscape and the three treasures/dantians. In all my teachings, I incorporate:
1. a hands-on approach.
2. the symbolism and understanding from Taoism and Zen.
3. the roots of Zen Shiatsu by Masunaga. I continue to learn by taking lessons from this original lineage, particularly delving into body-stretches and working with knees and forearms.

Zen Shiatsu School – Amsterdam

Great to see your interest in shiatsu! Shiatsu is a form of manual bodywork rooted in Eastern Medicine, developed and refined in Japanese culture. We are one of the first shiatsu schools in the Netherlands and still maintain a direct connection with our Japanese Zen Shiatsu (Masunaga) style from Tokyo.

The Zen Shiatsu training is the ideal place to learn this craft, as we have been training wonderful therapists for 25 years. Our four-year part-time program is at the ‘HBO level’, encompassing a significant amount of craftsmanship and bodywork. However, Eastern medicine is based on a rich science and knowledge, so there’s plenty of theory to delve into! You’ll learn the craftsmanship hands-on, focusing on your hands, your movement, your power source—everything necessary to become a well-trained shiatsu therapist with an eye for balance. Our profession’s focal point is the human being in the broadest sense: physical, emotional, mental, and energetic aspects—all together, embodying the collaboration that defines our humanity.


Our workshops and courses

You’re invited to join our shiatsu introduction course and five elements workshops, both available in English.

While the full school program’s lessons are in Dutch, we have experience accommodating non-Dutch-speaking students. Please contact us via info@zenshiatsu.nl.