The Four Seas

Shiatsu & Qigong Seminar with Chris McAlister in Amsterdam

The Four Seas Shiatsu & Qigong Seminar with Chris McAlister 13-15 september Amsterdam

Huang Di wants to know more about the 4 seas and the 12 channels.

Qi Bo says the 12 channels flow in all directions and converge in the 4 seas.

The seas of Qi, Nutrition, Blood, Marrow.

(from: Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu – Pivotal Spirit – Ch 33: Treatise on the Sea)


After Sweden, Israel, Italy, France, Greece, Hungary and Portugal, finally now in Amsterdam!

Chris McAlister, a longstanding practitioner and teacher of Shiatsu & Qigong, now the president of the European Shiatsu Federation and author of two book, is finally coming to teach a 3-days Shiatsu & Qigong seminar on The Four Seas!

This seminar is designed for Shiatsu practitioners, students who completed at least one year of basic Shiatsu, and teachers.

What are the Four Seas?

The Four Seas are named after aspects of the bodymind. From deepest to most superficial, they are: Marrow, Blood, Nutrition and Qi. They constitute one harmonious sea with four depths. Each depth has a specific atmosphere. Upwards & downwards movement is constant. Resources move inwards & outwards within the energy system.

The Sea of Marrow, naturally enough, goes to the very depths of the human organism and can rectify pathology associated with our pre-natal energies. In this sense it is linked to the skeleton, spinal cord, back brain and ancestral patterns stretching far back in time.

The Sea of Blood, slightly more superficial and marginally more rapid in its flow, is associated with deeply submerged emotional patterns, lost memories and, of course, deeper levels of nutrition. The uterus, diaphragm and blood vessels are key organs with enormous relevance at this level.

The Sea of Nutrition takes us to a level of relaxation that is more accessible on a moment-to-moment basis. It regulates those “oasis” moments of rest and regeneration that we need to feel during the day – quiet moments of cocooned personal space when we have no need to monitor external events but can sink inwardly for a brief respite, enjoy our inner worlds and fill our tanks at the parasympathetic pit-stop.

The Sea of Qi is the most superficial of the levels. This is where we stretch, open our eyes and receive the stimuli of the outside world. Our lungs, skin and antennae awaken and extend to receive signals coming towards us from external sources. We are fully alive, keen and curious to interact with the world around us – whether in play, work, exercise or general spatial awareness. We find ourselves in full sympathetic mode and are ready for dialogue with our surroundings.

Each of these levels has clinical significance and each can be used to strengthen the other.

The four Seas shiatsu and qigong with chris macAlister Amsterdam

About the seminar

Both the Shiatsu treatments and the Qigong program have helped to create a more fully integrated concept of how the myriad physical and energetic aspects of the bodymind combine and interact with each other: meridians, points, structures and function combine in an easy-to-comprehend model of the human being in four modes of activity, rest, storage and development.

Key benefits

One of the key benefits of this course is that it is not only dense and rich but also simple, conceptually speaking. It is also immensely practical from the very first moment. The practical aspects include:

1) A Root Treatment that takes you and your client effortlessly into the depths of their being, layer by layer

2) A full-length Qigong sequence that gives you the experience of each sea in turn through your own bodily sense

3) Katas for each of the seas. Each kata is composed of four to five units that can be used separately and interchangeably.

Finally, this course will guide you all the way through the four layers of your bodymind, from superficial (Sea of Qi) all the way down through the progressively deeper levels (Nutrition & Blood) to the very bedrock of your existence – the Sea of Marrow itself.

About Chris McAlister

As a Shiatsu practitioner and teacher, Chris has a unique background. During the late 1980’s and early 90’s he studied in Japan and China for a total of six years with teachers at the height of their powers.

His main Shiatsu teacher for three years was Takeo Suzuki, whom Masunaga trusted to run classes at the Iokai Centre as his own health began to fail. Chris then went on to study with half a dozen Shiatsu teachers when he came back to Europe by inviting them to teach classes for him in Sweden. He also entered a collaboration with two colleagues: Jan Nevelius and Jeremy Halpin, with whom he wrote Touching the invisible: Exploring the Way of Shiatsu.

While in Asia, Chris also studied acupuncture. His first teacher was Peter Yates, himself an Englishman with many years’ experience of Shiatsu, Qigong and martial arts. Chris continued his studies with Kimiya Gotoh, an expert in Ryodoraku – a modern hybrid acupuncture method incorporating aspects of Western medicine in its philosophy, diagnosis and practice.

Chris studied Taiji Chuan for seven years with three different teachers before finally becoming a student of Chen Pei Shan, lineage holder in the Chen family taiji tradition. He studied Xing Yi Chuan in Canton, China as student in residence with a master of the Chinese internal martial arts, Liu Guo Hua (“Wa Guo”).

He also studied Qigong, not only with Peter Yates and Master Hua, but with a then living treasure in the form of Daoist priest, S.K. Lew. Chris was part of a small group of students who had the privilege of studying once every year for five years with Master Lew. Each year they would learn one more aspect of the Dao Dan Pai monastic system from the Yellow Dragon temple in Guangdong province, China. Master Lew passed a few years ago at the age of 97, actively teaching students and treating patients until a week before his passing.

On returning to Europe, Chris enrolled in Ted Kaptchuk’s classes in Amsterdam and studied Chinese herbs with him for two years. Ted was undergoing an intense period of re-evaluation of the history and traditions of Chinese medicine and gave Chris valuable tools leading to insights that inform his approach to study, practice and teaching to this day.

Chris has put many tens of thousands of hours of observation and practice into building up an approach to the Internal Tradition, which we may call Alchemy. He has taught hundreds of students in many countries, he has treated all kinds of people from the hyper healthy to the dying and experienced a wide range of abilities and gifts, sensitivities and powers in both his patients and his students.

These experiences keep his awareness clear – everyone is his teacher and life is a constant learning process. The Poetry of Touch: Alchemy, Transformation and Oriental Medicine is the most recent manifestation of this awareness.

Fare & Registration:

Via email to stating ‘Four Seas seminar’. Early bird fare (until 15 May): € 350, after that date: € 395. Your registration is final after having received either the one or the other full amount.


The seminar is accredited by the Shiatsu Association Netherlands.

Time & Place:

Friday 13, Saturday 14, Sunday 15 september 2024, from 9:30-17:00

De Meditatietuin 6, Amstelpark Amsterdam, NH, 1083 HZ Netherlands (map)


This seminar is organized by Cordula Quadt together with Yvonne van Remmen from Shiatsu Nascholing