Children» Hospitals» Palliative Care

Shiatsu therapy is a manual discipline derived from traditional Chinese medicine, but elaborated through Japanese culture, also tinged with the influence of Zen and the practice of martial arts. It has been defined and recognized as a therapy in its own right in Japan since 1955. Today, it continues to develop as a particularly effective means of alleviating the stresses of modern life such as stress, burnout, chronic fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders.

For some time now, several doctors here in Paris have been prescribing Shiatsu for their patients, fully aware of the benefits it can bring when chronic illness sets in. During my 42 years of practice, I have participated in a number of successful projects in the area of “diseases of civilization” in liaison with personnel the medical world.

Since September 2003, our school, the Ecole de Shiatsu Thérapeutique de Paris (EST) and the Association Internationale de Shiatsu Traditionnel (AIST), have been working in partnership with hospitals in a number of locations around Paris to spread this oriental discipline.

In the Spotlight

Bernard Bouheret

DE physiotherapist
Therapeutic Shiatsu practitioner – graduate of the Hakko School (Japan)

Bernard was born in 1955 and is a Shiatsu practitioner and kinesitherapist. He began his professional practice in 1981 after a stay in Japan, living in his master’s house for several months as an uchi deshi. On his return to France, he began practising Shiatsu intensively, and opened a martial arts Dojo in Montpellier.

Relocating to Paris, he founded an association that worked with 10 Parisian hospitals, which eventually went on to transmit Shiatsu in Peru, India, Spain, Benin, Madagascar and very soon to Ghana. After 20 years of practice, he created his own style called Sei Shiatsu Do, the way of sincere Shiatsu. He is the author of 4 books, including a Vade Mecum, considered to be the “bible” of the therapeutic art of Shiatsu.


One of the first workshops to be set up was with a group of patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, in collaboration with the Association Française de la Polyarthrite (AFP), following a meeting at Lariboisière Hospital in March 2003. These patients have now been receiving our care on a bi-weekly basis for 20 years. This workshop is particularly appreciated, since it enables patients to better resist, the impact of this painful pathology, both physically and psychologically. French television has twice reported on these therapeutic workshops (TF1 and France 2).

Other interventions have involved hospital nursing staff:

  • Saint Camille de Bry-sur-Marne hospital (2006)
  • Saint Vincent de Paul hospital (weekly workshops, 2009-2011)
  • La Pitié hospital (October 2010-March 2013)
  • Jean Jaurès hospital (since 2012)
  • Cochin hospital (twice-weekly workshops since April 2013)
  • Broca, La collégiale and La Rochefoucauld hospitals (since April 2014).

Jean Jaurès Hospital: In 2012, one of our students completed a 6-month internship in a palliative care unit at the Jean Jaurès Hospital, and has published a rich memoir recounting the experience.

La Pitié: In agreement with Professors Lamas and Tankéré, a dispensary workshop was launched at La Pitié in October 2010 for patients suffering from ENT disorders (vertigo, facial paralysis, tinnitus). The workshop ran until March 2013. Since then, a Shiatsu dispensary has been opened and is still in operation 10 years later. It enables advanced students to “rub shoulders” with difficult cases and gives people in need access to Shiatsu for a modest fee.

La Pitié: An initiative was launched in April 2014 at David Cohen’s Child Psychiatry department at La Pitié hospital with children and teenagers. This workshop was filmed by channel 5 in “Enquêtes de Santé.” It continues to this day, to the great satisfaction of the supervisory staff and the teenagers, who are great fans of our manual art. According to the department’s psychiatrist, Shiatsu has become an essential part of their treatment.

Interview with Bernard Bouheret

Necker hospital: In September 2015, a project was launched with the Necker hospital, which included a good number of caregivers at St Vincent de Paul hospital. Three weekly time slots have been defined to accompany the staff. Between Necker and Cochin, no fewer than 300 Shiatsu treatments are given every month, and our group is very proud to provide 6,000 treatments a year!

Cochin hospital: The people in charge of continuing education at Cochin hospital came to us in March 2015 with a view to providing 4 days of training for nursing staff. These days were such a success that from September onwards we provided 8 additional days (Sept 2015-June 2016) to introduce nursing care staff, including midwifery assistants to a helping relationship through Shiatsu. It was at the request of the nursing staff that this training was carried out. Beginning in January 2024, we will be doing the same in a clinic with the agreement of the doctor in charge, who is an onco-geriatrician.

Hospital nursing staff need help in these hard times. The testimonials we have received from our patients speak volumes about the support and help they have received from Shiatsu. It seems obvious that if hospital staff, nurses and orderlies are calmer, their tasks will be carried out more calmly and patients will receive better treatment. We also believe that Shiatsu could reduce the risks associated with overwork and permanent stress, and that it could therefore be part of a genuinely preventive approach.

In 2014, we were able to testify to this at the Congress of Emergency Physicians, through the impetus of the Cochin emergency nursing executive, who were already convinced of this fact.

Necker Hospital: In September 2016, echoing the adolescent workshop at La Pitié, several departments at Necker Hospital granted us access to a group of young patients for an effective collaboration to be evaluated within the hospital. This is a major step forward for the recognition of our discipline. This collaboration is currently being revived at Hôpital Saint Anne in a unit for 10-15 year olds, who have suffered the full force of the COVID crisis. This will commence in January, 2024.

St Antoine hospital in Paris opened its doors to us in October, 2017, and in January 2018 it was the turn of Hôpital Corentin Celton in Issy les Moulineaux.

In May 2018, a documentary film entitled The Way of Shiatsu was released, along with a book of 14 interviews prefaced by Pr Baumelou, in which numerous testimonials from the medical world highlight the place our discipline could take in collaboration with official medicine. The Maison du Japon has shown the film. (English translation available).

Cochin, Necker and Hôtel-Dieu hospitals: In April, May and June 2020, the Cochin, Necker and Hôtel-Dieu hospitals called on Shiatsu teams to relieve nursing staff exhausted by the Covid 19 health crisis. Six hundred Shiatsu sessions were offered on a completely voluntary basis. The event gained such momentum that government health offices spread the news of this magnificent adventure.

Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital: A hospital-based clinical research project is currently underway, in agreement with a neurologist from the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, to treat patients suffering from progressive multiple sclerosis and assess the impact of Shiatsu on fatigue. We are progressing step by step with our application. This experimental study, coupled with publication in medical journals, could be a major step towards recognition of our discipline. To date, the project has not been accepted by the department’s new head, but it could become active at any time.

Since 2023, requests for collaboration have resumed:
A future partnership with the Corbeil hospital for an internship site,
Another partnership with unit 10-15 of the St Anne hospital for fortnightly workshops
A permanent internship and future training for nursing staff at Clinique du Perreux sur Marne.


Shiatsu is like a key that opens the body and the heart. That is where we start and that is what we love manifesting. When a person lies close to the earth and the Shiatsu practitioner treats their body, the experience of non-separation draws giver and receiver into the same benevolent energy. This has animated me throughout all my years of practice.

In conclusion, here is a testimonial from a recipient at Cochin, which sums up the spirit of our workshops:

“Just a quick e-mail to thank you and the Shiatsu givers, in particular Christine, for your support throughout my pregnancy. Being able to benefit from your care and kindness has been a real joy during these nine months. Each session was a true liberation, allowing me to forget my aches and pains, relax, regain serenity and begin communicating with my baby.

I was even lucky enough to be able to go to my last session… two days before giving birth!

And then my little Victor was born on May 17 at 11:52pm! He’s a real angel, and, as promised, I have the impression that he’s a real “shiatsu baby”, who sleeps almost all night and very lively during the day. His eyes were already wide open from birth and he makes lots of pretty faces all day long.

This e-mail is also an opportunity to thank you for all you do. This wonderful partnership with Cochin is a real blessing for the staff. I’ve talked a lot about Shiatsu to people around me and several are curious to discover this discipline for themselves.

After moving and being transferred out of Cochin, I will unfortunately no longer be able to benefit from this program, but I intend to go back to see Shiatsu givers from time to time for my well-being. I am won over by this beautiful discipline.”

Nathalie C

“The Earth is not round, it has the shape of our heart” said the poet.

Shiatsu is like a key that opens the body and the heart. That is where we start from and that is what we enjoy manifesting. When a person lies close to the earth and the Shiatsushi treats their body, the experience of non-separation draws giver and receiver into the same benevolent energy. This has animated me throughout all my years of practice.


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