The Meiken effect in Shiatsu – part. 2

30 Jan, 2023
Reading Time: 9 minutes

In this second part of his description of the Meiken effect, Bernard Bouheret shares numerous anecdotes to illustrate what happens when this post-processing effect is triggered. Drawing on his many years of experience in this field, he has put together a synthesis in the form of five laws, enabling us to better understand what’s at stake and how to approach this very special issue.

As a reminder, I began practicing Shiatsu professionally in 1981 in Montpellier, and I was immediately confronted with this Meiken effect, leaving me lost and sometimes worried. Those were the first disturbing experiences, as if life was saying to me: “So you really want to go down this path of healing? Do you know human nature? Do you want to learn and understand it?”

I remember the session I had in Montpellier with a friend of my parents, André H., who suffered from chronic migraines and wanted to try Shiatsu to stem his pathology. It came as no surprise to me, as I struggled to soothe him, to see his familiar and dreaded pains suddenly appear in the very midst of the session. He got up from the futon to rush for his medication, claiming that if he didn’t stop this migraine immediately, it would become terrible!

Helpless as I was, so disappointed at not being able to stop this damned migraine, I witnessed this disappointment without understanding the mechanism. I got part of the answer a few years later in Paris, when Dr. Borsarello, an eminent acupuncturist whose training I followed in 1983-84, told me during a consultation that a migraine sufferer saw his or her condition increase before it diminished. If the migraine stops or lessens during the session,” he told me, “it’s purely psychological, and it’ll start again!

Dr Jean-François Borsarello

I began to make progress in my little budding therapist’s head. So that was the Meiken effect!

Another time, a young man came to me with “beautiful” bone exostosis[i] and I remember, while I was working out a very sophisticated reasoning using the marvelous Yin and Yang Qiao Mai vessels, he began to revive during the Shiatsu a forgotten episode of his, namely, an attempted rape when he was 12 years old. A truck driver was chasing him, and he was trying to run away! These same legs were covered with exostosis!!!! Fear is harmful to the kidney, isn’t it?

He began to twist and curl around himself so impressively that I was completely panicked. The body’s memory was cathartically exuding memories. It was like an exorcism scene!

As you can well imagine, It was an overwhelming experience!

The Hector Durville books that I devoured in 1992 (introduced to him by a kind patient named Nicole S.) made me understand what Hector Durville himself had experienced in his time. The patients he worked so hard to treat were suddenly struck by old afflictions that came back to them in an amplified form. It took him years to understand this phenomenon, and he named it “healing crises”, because he noticed that soon after these crises, healing took place and the symptoms often disappeared for ever, always. He even verified that the further back in time the symptoms went, the more intense and profound the healing power of the session. And this is something I’ve been able to confirm throughout my years of practice.

Examples of Meiken effects

That’s why today I decided to share my experiences of therapeutic Shiatsu in the same way as Durville did with magnetism.

  • Danièle F., who suffered from psoriatic rhumatism, saw her body covered with a giant eczema after one session. Her doctor almost hospitalized her.
  • After a Shiatsu session, Sabine V. suffered a terrible headache that radiated into her eyes. Together, we realized that she didn’t wear glasses for coquetry reasons, even though she worked constantly on a computer screen as an architect, and that her eyesight was steadily deteriorating.
  • Francis H. and Nicole H., husband and wife, both psychiatrists, experienced a totally different situation when they came together to receive Shiatsu in the morning. When Francis slept in the afternoon and into the next day (parasympathetic branch of the ANS), Nicole was overexcited and couldn’t sleep at night ( orthosympathetic branch of the ANS).
  • When Madame D. was given a Shiatsu treatment, the very next day a tangerine-sized furuncle appeared on the VB meridian at Feng Shi (31GB). She blamed me vigorously (this happened 3 or 4 times!) until we discovered a beautiful, badly placed and dangerous anal fistula. The naturae medicatrix had done its job, opening a way to the outside world and protecting the organs.
  • When François B. (55) came to see me, he was suffering from severe back problems. He had undergone a transplant as a teenager following an infectious disease. Thinking we could work together for as long as it took to improve the situation, I began a course of treatment aimed at achieving a better balance, and asked him to call me to let me know how things had gone. I didn’t see him again and didn’t hear from him until 6 months later from my parents. He was at his worst, his back was failing him and so were his legs. I had the lightning intuition of the Meiken effect and urged him to come back (he was also a family friend).

No one had made the connection, but someone had whispered it in my ear! Indeed, on the evening of the 1st session, he told me that he had felt a change in his statics, with a clear improvement that only lasted a short time. On the contrary, the following day, a clear worsening set in that had been going on for 6 months. He thought it was pointless to continue and didn’t bother to call me for fear of disappointing me. I gave him another session, and everything settled down that very evening. He had received an impulse that needed to be maintained by a 2nd session, which should have taken place within a maximum of 10 days. After some questioning, it emerged that the pain felt after the 1st session was that of the after-effects of the transplant when he was 15 years old. A 40-year Meiken effect!

The 5 laws of the Meiken effect

1. The first law of the Meiken effect is that it transcends conventional space-time.

With this Meiken dynamic, the future returns to the past in order to create another future.

This is Spatio-temporal Meiken.

The present is a double-entry gateway that can lead to the past or the future.

40 years can be erased in 40 minutes.

One minute, one year…this is analogical reasoning, and this is how astrologers work with what are known as “primary directions” (a forecasting technique which postulates that one zodiacal degree equals one year of life, and secondary directions that one day equals one year).

Awareness of this Space-Time phenomenon is the demand of this 1st law. Without this awareness, everything can be distorted, leading to therapeutic misinterpretation.

2. The second law is that the healing power of the Meiken effect is guided by the Universal Life Force (or Qi) that holds everything together.

We can refer to this as the intelligence of Life.

Everything obeys a Supreme Intelligence. The Tao is there!

Is life passing through my recipient’s body?

Is he or she being properly experienced by life?

Is any obstacle blocking Life?

When we give a treatment, let’s think about the Life Force at work, and let’s disappear as a person. This is what the 2nd law requires. It’s life that does it, not me!

3. The third law is that of homeostasis.

Everything must remain in equilibrium, and a restoring force comes into play when we move away from this equilibrium. The greater the deviation, the greater the Meiken effect. Illness is, one might say, the ultimate Meiken effect to restore the balance. It’s the return to the Center. Chronic illness is a constant effort to stay in balance. 

Here too, as therapists, let’s trust in the balance towards which everything tends. It’s as if a vortex bringing everything back to the center is at work with every maneuver we make.

The 3rd law asks us to be aware of this.

4. The 4th law is that each person’s nature predisposes them to a particular Meiken effect in relation to their inner need.

The nature of Fire does not react like the nature of Water, the nature of Wood does not react like the nature of Earth. The therapist needs to know his recipient’s terrain in order to work intelligently and appropriately.

In this way, the patient teaches us our job and helps us progress along the path of treatment. The patient is our master is the essence of the 4th law.

5. The 5th law is that everything converges towards Unity.

Illness is the fragmentation of the whole; health is integrity and the return to Unity. The Shiatsu therapist, through his manual intervention, is the vehicle of non-separation. The giver can feel the Meiken effect of the receiver, or predict its later effects.

Let’s look at illness with the eye and wisdom of Zhuang Zi [ii], who teaches us in chapter 2 :

    “Prosperity and ruin, successive states,

    Are but mere phases, all is ONE.

    But this only great minds can understand”.

The principle of Non-Separation is the key to the 5th Law: nothing is separate from nothing.

When Giver and Receiver become One, Heaven and Earth are at peace.

Meiken is their best messenger, their best servant.

(to be continued)


  • [i] Zhuang Zi (369 to 288 BC approx.) was a Taoist philosopher and wise man, but this is also the name of his work, cited here by the author.
  • [ii] Exostosis is the development of an ostheochondroma, a well-differentiated bony outgrowth that leads to the development of new bone on the surface of a bone. It may be caused by trauma, inflammation, or be hereditary in origin. Produced by a germinal cartilage cap during growth, it is the most common benign bone tumor.


Bernard Bouheret
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François-Rémy Monnier
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