5 years!
Exactly 5 years ago today, we chose the name ‘Ôdô’. We wanted to found a dôjô for the transmission of Shiatsu, with very precise values, rooted in Japan and Eastern reflection on the Universe, the human being and health.

The Way

That it was a Way was clear. Way is said ‘dô’ and spelled 道 .

Etymologically, when we unravel the ideogram, we see a head moving forward, a prince at the head of his armies and, by extension, the meaning of a journey under someone’s leadership. The left-hand side of the ideogram shows this unstoppable movement. This movement is the ceaseless motion of energy, directed in some way by an intention. In this sense, we are indeed on a Way.
Jean-François Billeter’s translation of ‘dô’ (Tao, it’s the same word in Chinese) is even better: the natural functioning of things. Dô’ is what makes the whole Universe go round, animating our lives down to the smallest of our cells… So all we have to do is align ourselves and follow the flow to be in harmony.
The Way, yes, but the Way of what?

The Royal Way

Considering the Universe within us and around us, we recognized the universality of the ternary principle: Heaven Man Earth. So we needed a word to represent this, and that was ‘Ô’ 王 (in Chinese, Wang), which is translated as King.
Ôdô is therefore written 王道.
René Guénon, in his book ‘La Grande Triade’, describes in detail all the connotations attached to this character. If the Wang is indeed the King, in the true sense of the word, he is also something else at the same time.

The 3 horizontal lines, like the trigrams in the I Ching, clearly represent the 3 levels of Heaven Man Earth.

And, as René Guénon puts it, “the King’s function is to unite, by which we mean above all, because of the very position of the vertical line, to unite Heaven and Earth”.
The vertical axis is the bridge that links Heaven and Earth, the human state and the supra-individual state, the sensible world and the supra-sensible world. The King’s role is therefore that of Pontiff, i.e. bridge-builder between all these levels of energy.

The Way of the King is, says Guénon, the Way of Heaven.


“The Way of Heaven is yin with yang, the two complementary aspects being indissolubly united.”

Applied to Shiatsu

We apply this profound understanding to Shiatsu, its practice and transmission. All reflection is only meaningful if applied to practice.
To refer to the function of the King is not to place oneself above others, to reign and feed an ever-expanding ego, but on the contrary to place oneself at the service, to watch over harmony, to unite Heaven and Earth. In this way, Shiatsu touches all ‘levels’, from the most corporeal to the most spiritual. The Japanese translate this into a single, inseparable word: Shinjin 身心, or Body-Spirit.

If, politically, there can only be one sovereign, as Serge Desportes reminds us in his book ‘L’Homme sous le Ciel’, ‘L’Homme ordinaire (i.e. all of us) is invited to contact the imperial function by looking after his health’.

This is our mission, our ‘celestial mandate’. From the middle line, we are invited to observe, to align ourselves with Heaven, to care for the Earth and all those who wish to pass through our hands.
So, when Ôdô was born, our Master told us: “Heaven will always be watching you, no matter what you do”.

And so these are the profound axes at the origin of Ôdô:

  • Feeling, understanding and aligning with the laws of the Universe
  • Enter into relationships and exclude nothing on the basis of a fixed duality
  • See that all is movement and impermanence
  • Observe when necessary and care when necessary
  • Maintain verticality at work
  • Follow the natural course of things


This is what Great Health is all about. And so we practice Shiatsu with the intensity of a sincere heart.
If this spirit of practice speaks to you, join us for a course, a workshop, a sharing…