About the School


We have been running courses in Cork, Ireland since 1995 as an affiliated branch of the European Shiatsu School (ESS) founded in 1985 in the UK.

Over the years the school has developed a solid reputation for teaching the skills required for success as a professional shiatsu practitioner.

The ESS was founded by internationally renowned Shiatsu teacher, Chris Jarmey, and offers study facilities in England, Ireland and Spain.

We offer an unique approach to our students, comprising an in-depth understanding of Chinese Medicine combined with the Zen Shiatsu innovations introduced by Shizuto Masunaga as the theoretical body informing the Shiatsu practice.

Our teaching puts a strong emphasis on the experiential learning aspect, bringing Zen and Chinese medicine alive in the body for each student. Our aim is to help you perfect your skills to give clinically effective shiatsu on which you can build your own successful practice.


The school has a long tradition of inviting teachers from the wider European Shiatsu School community as well as from within Ireland. to teach for us here in ESS Cork. In the past we have had the privilege of teachers such as Chris Jarmey, Paul Lundberg, Julie McBride, Jane Pollard, Tim Mulvagh, Harriet Devlin, Idit Hourigan, Andy Jancewicz, Liz Welch, Dianne Cheong, Sybylle Walters, Andy Parfitt, Finnuola O’Hare, John Garvey, Julien Joly, Susan O’Toole, Betty O’Toole, Julie Decarroux,  Eddie Cox.

SHEENA WOODS | Shiatsu Practitioner & Teacher

Sheena currently runs the teaching programme at ESS Cork. Herself a graduate of CSS, a branch of the European Shiatsu School founded by Chris Jarmey. Sheena is registered with the Shiatsu Society of Ireland as both a practitioner and teacher.

Sheena has been offering shiatsu in west Cork since 2000, for some years providing shiatsu to members of the M.S. Society. Witnessing through clinical practice what shiatsu has to offer and wanting access for all who could benefit, Sheena began teaching in 2010.

“Enjoy witnessing part of the student’s journey of awakening to the tangibility of Qi and how the meridian network offers Shiatsu unique, creative access.”

Sheena has a special interest in Soaring crane and Essence Qigong for health and self–healing. Blessed with many wonderful teachers in both shiatsu and qigong, the practice of which strengthen and inform each other and underpin the teaching.

MARIA EXPOSITO | Shiatsu Practitioner & Teacher-in-Training

Maria’s interest in Shiatsu emerged through Tai Chi which she had been practising for a number of years before discovering this Japanese form of bodywork. Today she is a qualified Tai chi  Instructor with Master Ding’s Academy and a Teacher in Training with the ESS in Cork.

Prior to becoming a full-time Shiatsu practitioner Maria had been working in a corporate job for the most part of her professional life. Working in such an environment never resonated with her and for years she was looking for a radical change of direction but was unsure where to go next until she discovered Shiatsu.

As far as she can remember, healthy lifestyle and eastern philosophies have always been among her most cherished interests, stirring her deepest curiosity and eagerness to learn . This passion of hers led first to the practice of Tai chi, the ancient martial art she fell in love with from the very start and now has the privilege to teach. A Few years later, and merely by accident, she found about Shiatsu through a book about the Qi she was gifted. That was it! the missing piece of the puzzle was right there before her eyes. Shiatsu was the perfect complement to Tai chi, both practices deepening their roots in the Daoist philosophy, and the path to follow.

Maria started her Shiatsu studies in 2011 and never felt happier about making a decision. When she qualified in 2015 , felt reluctant to break her connection with the school and soon began informally assisting with the training. It didn’t take too long for her to realise that education was going to be a part of her career as a Shiatsu therapist so she is currently undergoing formal training as a Teacher with the Cork School of Shiatsu.

As a Teacher in Training she takes active part in the teaching and organisation of most classes and workshops offered by the school.

SARAH ZUGNO | Shiatsu Practitioner & Teacher-in-Training

Sarah’s healing journey began before she knew it with a difficult childhood dynamic. She was led to spend six months in a Dzogshen Buddhist community as a teenager. The friendships and principles of the heart she learned there form the bed rock of her various skills.

Sarah is qualified in Tibetan Reiki, Indian head massage and ITEC holistic massage.

In more recent years she has found the ancient and subtle art of Shiatsu allows all these skills to be used in concert for your benefit. She has also found an affinity with the art of Qigong, associated with good health and longevity as well as Shaolin Kungfu, giving robust strength and complementing the more gentle aspects of her healing arts.

Treatments with Sarah will allow for a safe space where physical, emotional and energetic imbalances can be brought to an equilibrium, resulting in relief, peace and restoration.

She is honoured to now assist in teaching Shiatsu in accordance with her treasured Buddhist wisdom.

Shiatsu Practitioner, Author & Qi Gong Teacher


, Joanne Faulkner is a Shiatsu practitioner specializing in the energy of food in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

She runs a busy Shiatsu practice in Dublin plus Online Consultations. She blogs regularly on her food and health focused website joannefaulkner.ie and is published author of “Shiatsu & the Art of Conscious Cooking” and “Good Food, Better Sex”; which are modern cookbooks full of recipes, ancient traditional medicine, acupressure points and meditations.

She has taught a wide range of people, over many year, to use the Five Element System of Chinese Medicine for maintaining health, balance and wellness.

“We are energy made manifest and as such we are constantly changing. To maintain balance and understand the ever-changing body’s we can use the Five Element system of and let food be our guide.”

Joanne shares recipes that have health benefits, but more than that she illustrates how we can love and cherish ourselves with food, acupressure and Qi Gong, energy exercise.

She runs “Chi Flow with Jo” offering a daily online Qi gong practice, health talks, wellness and qi gong retreats.

Joanne is currently the Irish representative to the European Shiatsu Federation, and was previously Chairperson to the Shiatsu Society of Ireland.


Experiential Learning

We are passionate about teaching the theories of Zen and Chinese Medicine in a way that will makes sense to you through your own direct experience and will apply concretely to your shiatsu bodywork.

Every class typically starts with some form of experiential movement where we explore how different parts of our bodies relate to various meridians and their physical functions as well as emotional and mental aspects of our lives. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong also play an important role within this.

Through discussion we can begin to relate these experiences to the theories of Chinese medicine, bringing them to life in a tangible way for our students that is beyond pure intellect (and readily applicable to life and ourselves).

A profound understanding of
Chinese medicine & Zen model

  We concentrate not only on Yin/Yang and 5 elements theories but also on the concept of disease through Zen and TCM. You will learn how to diagnose and treat using this ancient and profound understanding of the body.

At ESS Cork we believe that by studying the classical concepts of Chinese medicine in-depth and by applying these in a concrete way to our bodywork, we will best equip ourselves to understand all of these approaches.

We will also have a wealth of resources at our fingertips enriched by the Zen form of bodywork that depends for its success on a meditative activity of the practitioner, who mindfully attempts to restore the state of homeostasis in the body by skillfully stimulating the imbalanced meridians.

The fundamental purpose of Zen is to achieve total enlightenment through the discovery of one’s basic nature. Its principles and approaches can be applied to numerous human endeavours. In this case, it is applied to physical therapy. This can help in turn to make our shiatsu more effective in the clinic.

Finally should you want to go on to study Acupuncture or Chinese Herbal Medicine, having studied at ESS, you should be able to reduce your studies by up to 1 to 2 years

Clinically-effective Shiatsu

A large proportion of our curriculum is dedicated to applied learning. This takes the form of hands on, clinical experience during our student clinic days as well as focusing on the skills necessary to deal with commonly presenting problems, such as pain (frozen shoulder; migraines; menstruation pain etc.), digestive disorders, anxiety and insomnia etc.

[expander_maker id=”1″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]At ESS whilst we acknowledge the profound importance of working with the subtlest aspects of our disease, we also see that this is not the whole picture. We need techniques that can work with the acute manifestations of disease as well as deeper energetic work.

We therefore teach a wide range of Shiatsu skills and techniques from the more strong and physical to the subtler, holding and connecting energies. We believe that both are invaluable in treating the whole person. There is no Yin without Yang.

We wish foremost to teach you the skills necessary to deal with commonly presenting problems that you will most likely encounter in your everyday clinic, such as pain (from back to shoulder pain to Migraines and period related problems); digestive disorders; emotional and stress related problems; insomnia, etc.

We are happy to say that the list of what can be successfully treated or at least ameliorated with good Shiatsu is long!

All our teachers draw from a rich clinic experience and are continuously exploring what works in practice. We hope to inspire you and pass on this rich knowledge.