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Kumiko Kanayama

Founder & Grandmaster

Kumiko is a shiatsu Grandmaster, educator, and the Founder of The Five Lights Center of Shiatsu, the oldest and longest running shiatsu foundation in America.


With over forty years of experience, Kumiko is a versatile practitioner who developed her own style known as Intuitive Shiatsu™ — a form of bodywork that can be used to treat many chronic conditions and may also relieve muscular and joint pain.

Her insight has been featured in Insider, You Aligned, Authority Magazine, The Village Voice, Shiatsu Milano Editore, Acupuncture Today, Shukan New York Seikatsu, Shiatsu Society Journal (UK), Elephant Journal, New York Weekly, MysticMag, Fierce Truths, Insider, and Harmony Power Broadcast and has received glowing reviews from clients such as Gisele Bündchen and Nicole Kidman.

"Thank you for being who you are. Each encounter is unique, each moment is different. Life is a circle, shiatsu is the continuous movement and movement is the Ki."
~ Kumiko

About Kumiko

Kumiko Kanayama is a practitioner and teacher of Intuitive Shiatsu™, a method which she developed after studying with her uncle, Ohashi, a pioneer of shiatsu in the West. After many years of teaching as a Certified Ohashiatsu® Instructor, Kumiko set out on her own to pursue her discoveries about the intuitive dimensions of Shiatsu and impart her growing knowledge to others.


Kumiko’s years of study and practice helped her develop profound sensitivity to and awareness of the Ki energy in self and others, the focus that gives us life. She came to understand that the state of Ki balance and harmony promotes and maintains the health and well-being of body, mind, and spirit.


Kumiko became a Certified Ohashiatsu® Consultant in 1991 to work with people of all ages, from all walks of life, and every ethnic and spiritual background. In 2001, she became an Instructor after experiencing 9/11 in NYC and its effects upon the New York City community. This event reinforced her decision to practice, teach and share shiatsu with the world, as Shiatsu became a vital tool to heal the immense trauma in her own community. She is also recognized as an AOBTA Certified Instructor member by the Asian Bodywork Therapy professional community in appreciation of her contributions and expertise as an instructor of Zen Shiatsu.


She has taught courses in both the US and Europe. Her intellectual curiosity and special interests led her to create and develop numerous elective courses and workshops: Review of the Elements, Neck, Curious Meridian, Hara Assessment, Tsubo Workshop, and many more for professionals and pre-professional students.


During and subsequent to her completion of training, Kumiko studied with many eminent teachers, including Dr. David Coulter, the author of Anatomy and Hatha Yoga, Domenico Bassi, Siegrid Maidorn, Silvia Marchesa Rossi, Mitchell Wolf, Sam Berlind, and Maureen Miller. Kumiko also studied with Jeffrey Yuen, Sister Jeanne Mera, Dr. Diane Connelly, the author of Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements, and Dr. Albrecht Heyer, who is a producer of Heyer Insights. One of Kumiko’s most inspiring teachers, Pamela Hannay, developed Shiatsu techniques for animals. Pamela, author of Shiatsu Therapy for Horses, describes her techniques as “the dance of celebration of the energy.” When the giver connects with the energy of the horse, the session flows, and there is no intellectual decision guiding the work; it is pure instinct and joy.


Kumiko has studied Sounds Vibrational therapy, Color Therapy, Dowsing Therapy, Reiki, Reflexology, Amma therapy, Tai Chi Chung, Aromatherapy, Moxa, medical astrology, Zen meditation, Sotai Movement, Yoga, and Buddhist training.


Early in her adult life, she was a student of the Zen arts of Japanese jewelry and ceramic making. She has also pursued studies at several holistic centers in the US: New York Open Center, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Himalayan Institute, and Integral Yoga Institute.  


By working with her clients and teachers, sharing with her students, and being with her young daughter, Kumiko continually hones her Intuitive Shiatsu™ technique. She talks through hands without words, and her hands-on approach is both comforting and enlightening for her clients, who receive bodywork while fully clothed, and in a state of serene peace.  By awakening the spirit by waiting, focusing, releasing, she restores the energy in the tsubos and meridian lines.


Kumiko founded Go Shiki Kan; the Five Lights Center of Shiatsu in 2012. She continues to practice and share her love of the art of Shiatsu in New York City. The Five Lights Center of Shiatsu, dedicated to her Mother, Yasuko Kanayama, and her Father, Naohiro Kanayama, is an expression of her focus on joyful and instinctive giving, strong community, and the light and energy of hands, both literal and symbolic.


Her work is characterized by her deep sense of spirituality and her strong commitment to working intuitively. Kumiko is a versatile practitioner, capable of exerting tremendous and focused power in her treatments, reducing the strongest of bodies to a pliant medium. Yet, her fluid physicality and receptive, gentle nature enable her to combine well-tuned lightness with the incisive pressure as needed. Her philosophy is deeply entrenched in her commitment to spiritual serenity and human touch communication as a means to harmony, not only in her own life but in the lives of those she touches.


Kumiko would like to offer the power of being in the moment, the NOW, for us all to discover our potentialities and all to be empowered to offer goodness to the others with whom we share our precious earth.

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