Our Team

Our Team

We are experienced professionals in Zen Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Thai Acupressure and Bodywork, Chinese Medical Theory, Eastern/Western Anatomy and Physiology, Experiential Anatomy, and Bio-energetic Healing. We love what we do and we would love to share it with you.
“The cure always come before the illness…”
In spirit
Dr. Thau Van Nguyen
South Vietnam, 1963

Memoir of Thau and Quang Van Nguyen

Fourth Uncle in the Mountain  by Quang Van Nguyen and Marjorie Pivar  (St. Martin’s Press, 2006)  is a true story of an orphan adopted by a sixty-four-year-old monk, Thau who carries great responsibility for his people as a spiritual leader and village doctor. Thau manages against all odds to raise his son to follow in his footsteps and in doing so saves him, as well as an ancient lineage of medicine from being lost in the Vietnam holocaust. As wise and resourceful as Thau is, he meets his match in his mischievous son. It is an odyssey of a single-father folk hero and his foundling son in a land ravaged by the atrocities of war, a classic story complete with humor, tragedy, and insight, from a country where ghosts and magic are real.

Forth Uncle in the Mountain, by Majorie Pivar

Available on Amazon

Shiatsu School of Vermont Founders

Sarah West and Marjorie Pivar

Marjorie Pivar

Founder, Director, and Instructor of
Zen Shiatsu and Clinic
MA Holistic Health Education
Certified AOBTA Instructor








Marjorie Pivar studied under Wataru Ohashi, Pauline Sasaki, and Michael DeAgro, three of the master world teachers.  Marjorie has been practicing Zen style Shiatsu for over thirty years and is certified by the AmericanOrganization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia. She holds a masters degree in Holistic Health Education from Norwich University and has taught both privately and in the classroom. Marjorie is the author with Quang Van Nguyen of Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: The Remarkable Legacy of a Buddhist Itinerant Doctor in Vietnam (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006), which is recommended reading at many schools of Asian medicine.

Sheyna Rose Hoitsma

Co-Owner, Assistant Director, and Instructor of
Zen Shiatsu and Clinic
BLA from Bennington College
NECCA Nimble Arts Teacher Training Workshop
AOBTA Board Member: Director of Membership

My journey began as a child in receiving Shiatsu from my Mother. She taught me to feel empowered by my own body’s natural ability to heal. In 2009 I went on to study neuroscience, psychology and dance at Bennington College. My passion was to further understand and harness our innate healing potential. In 2013 I began working in mental health facilities while teaching aerial acrobatics privately. I noticed an incredible correlation fitness could have on mental, physical and spiritual health. In 2016 I began my professional career as a Shiatsu Practitioner and am now able to integrate my passion of movement and bodywork into one.

Michael DeAgro

Instructor of Zen Shiatsu, Chinese Medical Theory

Michael DeAgro practices psychotherapy, Asian bodywork therapy, and Chinese herbal medicine in his clinic in Traverse City, Michigan. He received his masters degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University in Baltimore and is a graduate of the Baltimore School of Shiatsu. He studied shiatsu privately with Pauline Sasaki over a 14 year period. He began his herbal training with the Chinese Institute of Herbology and later completed a two-year mentorship with Gonzalez Flores. He continues his study of classical Chinese herbal medicine with Sharon Weizenbaum through the Graduate Mentorship program of White Pine Institue. He is also the founder of the Blue Lotus School of Shiatsu and the former Director of Education for the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia.

WinterJade Forest

Certified Instructor, AOBTA
Approved Provider of Cont.Ed., NCBTMB

Grandmother WinterJade (formerly known as Lindy Ferrigno) has been practicing and teaching Shiatsu around the world since 1975. Her immense enthusiasm for this beautiful hand-healing art is still with her.  She has apprenticed with indigenous healers of four traditions and is a recognized expert in the field.  She emphasizes skillful, precise technique along with insightful understanding of the theoretical base, plus wishing the utmost for your clients and doing your best for them.

Grandmother believes people find it easier to be happy when they can move freely without pain. Her purpose is to help reduce or eradicate their pain – and the personal suffering that makes it worse.

Greg Carder

Instructor of Chinese Medical Theory
Acupuncturist, Shiatsu Therapist, Chinese Herbalist

Greg Carder is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, Shiatsu therapist and educator, living and working in Southern Vermont. He holds a Master of Acupuncture degree from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Gainesville, FL, and an Associate in Massage Therapy degree from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York, NY. Greg has been influenced by indigenous medicine since childhood, and draws inspiration from nature to encourage his clients in their healing processes.

Michaela Wood

Instructor of Safe Practice: Pathology for Bodyworkers
​Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist

Michaela Wood is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, and received her Master of Acupuncture degree from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Gainesville, FL. She has a deep love and nature and children, and has been inspired by the healing potential of Chinese Medicine as it pertains to children and childhood illness. A long time student of dance and movement, she also holds a Bachelor Arts of Dance from Marlboro College.

Stefan Grace

Instructor of Ethical Conduct
Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Martial Artist

Stefan Grace is a NCCAOM board-certified acupuncturist and herbalist. Stefan practices a lineage of Chinese medicine that combines Tuina (Chinese medical massage), Craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs. Stefan has been studying and practicing this lineage of medicine for fifteen years, gaining his clinical training in an apprenticeship setting through the course of his martial arts training with Vince Black and the North American Tang Shou Tao Association. He is a graduate of the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, where he received his Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. His time in school was focused on the clinical application of herbal formulas from the classical Chinese herbal compendium the Shang Han Lun.

He has been practicing the Chinese internal martial arts for over twenty years, training in several lineages of baguazhang, xingyiquan, and taijiquan. He is an Instructor in the North American Tang Shou Tao Association, teaching qigong, baguazhang, and xingyiquan locally. With fifteen years of experience in Chinese manual medicine, and an ongoing dedication to training the internal martial arts as medicine for both himself and his patients, Stefan brings a well-rounded approach to his medical practice. He utilizes a variety of modalities to take full advantage of the breadth and flexibility of Chinese medicine.

Cindy Banker

Guest Instructor Pulse Diagnosis and 5 Element Shiatsu
American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia, founding member

Cindy Banker began her professional practice of Asian Bodywork Therapy in 1982. Since then in addition to maintaining a busy private practice she has continued her own education in a number of areas which have helped to broaden and enlighten the work she does with individual clients. Throughout this time she has also remained extremely active in the professional development of her field serving in a variety of positions for the national professional associations.

Deborah Valentine Smith

Deborah Valentine Smith
Instructor of Integrated Anatomy & Physiology
Certified Instructor, AOBTA
Diplomat in Asian Bodywork Therapy, AOBTA, NCCAOM
Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® Teacher
Licensed Massage Therapist, New York State

Deborah Valentine Smith, B.A., L.M.T. (NY), AOBTA®-CI, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), is a licensed massage therapist in New York, nationally certified and an approved provider with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), and a Certified Instructor with the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA®). She has been an Authorized Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® Teacher since 1983 and has been teaching Integrated Anatomy & Physiology since 2000.

Kumiko Kanayama

Guest Instructor
Intuitive Shiatsu

Kumiko Kanayama is a practitioner and teacher of Intuitive Shiatsu™. Intuitive Shiatsu™ is a method she developed after many years of study with her uncle, Ohashi, a pioneer of shiatsu in the West. Kumiko teaches shiatsu at the school she founded called the Five Lights Center for Shiatsu in New York, NY  https://www.fivelightscenter.com. Kumiko  also teaches in Europe, and Japan.

Dr. Quang Van Nguyen

​Guest Instructor of Chinese Medical Theory and Meditation
Master of Pulse Diagnosis, Herbal Medicine, and Acupuncture

Dr. Quang Van Nguyen was orphaned as an infant during the Vietnam war and was adopted and trained by an enlightened monk/doctor, Thau Van Nguyen. Dr. Nguyen is a master in pulse diagnosis and herbal medicine. The story of Dr. Nguyen’s spiritual and medical training has been published in an award winning book called “Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: The Remarkable Legacy of a Buddhist Itinerant Doctor in Vietnam,” and is required reading in many Schools of Asian Medicine. The Shiatsu School of Vermont is blessed to have Dr. Nguyen as a guest instructor.

Lital Yardeni Bernstein

Guest Instructor of Shiatsu
Zen and Five Element Shiatsu
Body-Mind Balancing
Dance Movement Therapy
Kabbalah Scholar

Lital Yardeni Bernstein was born and raised in Israel. She graduated her Shiatsu studies in 2002 and continued studying Body Mind Balancing at Reidman College and Dance and Movement Therapy at Seminar Hakibutzim, both in Tel Aviv.  Lital is certified as a Pilates instructor. Lital became a Shiatsu Master and a healer applying her knowledge and experience and worked in hospitals and public clinics, private practice and teaching Shiatsu for kids and adults. Lital is also a senior student of Kabbalah at the Kabbalah Centre, she moved to the states in 2008 and lives in NYC with her family.

Noam Tyroler

​Guest Instructor, Master Thai Acupressure Therapist

Noam Tyroler is a world master instructor of Thai Bodywork Therapy on several continents including in Thailand. He is the author of the definitive text on the subject of Thai Orthopedic Medicine. His text, Thai Acupuressure For Orthopedic Disorders covers treatment protocols for 60 different orthopedic conditions. His second book, Thai Massage in Pregnancy is accompanied by an instructional video series. View the video series here: