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Newsroom: Education Spotlight

Introducing Our Newest Certified Instructors

Friday, August 16, 2019   (5 Comments)
Posted by: Cindy Banker, Director of Education
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AOBTA® is very proud to announce the two newest certified instructors (AOBTA®-CI) in Zen Shiatsu: Margie Pivar, from Vermont and Nini Melvin, from Massachusetts. 

Marjorie Pivar, AOBTA®-CI

I am so grateful to Cindy Banker, Cari Johnson Pelava, and Steve Rogne for their many years of hard work and dedication to keeping the AOBTA® alive and establishing a platform for Asian Bodywork Therapy to be respected as a regulated profession. It was truly an honor to meet with them for two hours so they could observe and evaluate my teaching skills.

Back in 1985, after graduating from Ohashi’s original school and then studying another year with Pauline Sasaki at her home in Connecticut, I moved to Vermont where I could practice Shiatsu without a massage license. Although I had taught several small classes in Shiatsu over the years, I had not considered starting a certified Shiatsu program until 2013 when a small group of people asked me to teach them a 6-week Shiatsu class. It turned out that one of the students wanted to continue and hoped to become certified. It was mainly for this one student that I started the Shiatsu School of Vermont with her help.

I appreciate the study and practice of Shiatsu for cultivating physical strength, balance and grace, a heightened ability to observe using all the senses, and most of all, develop an ever increasing ability to connect to the self-organizing intelligence of the universe, which is stronger with more people working together. There is an element of magic in the Asian healing arts that has always fascinated me. I am fortunate to develop a friendship with Dr. Quang Van Nguyen from Vietnam. Together we wrote his memoir, Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: The Remarkable Legacy of an Itinerant Doctor in Vietnam (St. Martin’s 2002 & 2006) about meditation, magic, and healing. This book inspires the character of our school as do the many visiting Master Shiatsu teachers. Dr. Nguyen, also on the faculty, visits the school to lead the students in meditation practice. If you are ever in southern Vermont please come and visit, or sign up for a Master Class. We also have a walk-in Shiatsu clinic run by the graduates where you can get a 20 or 30 minute mini-session.    


Nini Melvin, AOBTA®-CI

Hi. I am Nini Melvin, founder of Meridians ~ Pathways to The Heart, in Northampton, Massachusetts. I have had a shiatsu practice and have been teaching for close to four decades!

Recently, I have become an AOBTA® Certified Instructor in Zen Shiatsu! I am excited about reaching more students and teachers to share this powerful, magical way of practicing shiatsu.

With my background in dance, I use movement to teach the five elements, yin/yang and the meridians through full embodiment. If you experience how the elements move through the meridians, you will understand their qualities, locations and functions from the inside out, and be able to sense and treat them on others.

With my students and apprentices, we focus on self-healing, alignment for energy efficiency and enhanced quality of touch, and many diagnostic tools from Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Shiatsu (including Bo and Yu Points, Hara and back diagnosis, time of day cycle, source points).

I teach every level from beginner through advanced, and have a mentorship program for professionals. I am happy to support you where you are, and as you are, and assist you to evolve into an amazing shiatsu practitioner.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thanks!



Both these amazing women had their CI interviews at the Alliance for Massage Therapy Educators (AFMTE) Congress that was held in Philadelphia in July 2019. What better way to participate in this amazing gathering of massage and bodywork educators than to award CI membership status to two very qualified candidates!

The CI interview team consisted of:

Steve Rogne, who participated as the expert CI in the form of Zen Shiatsu. As the owner of Zen Shiatsu Chicago, Steve has mastered the many stages of school growth and was able to advise the candidates on a variety of issues.

Cindy Banker, who participated as the director of education and brought extensive experience in conducting CI interviews.

Cari Johnson-Pelava, who participated as the director of COSP (Council of Schools and Programs).

Rosemary Scavullo-Fleckinger, who participated as a CI in Zen Shiatsu

AOBTA® is very appreciative of the certified instructors who make these interviews a productive and successful experience for everyone involved. The detailed feedback provided by the candidates and the interviewers ensures that the rubrics, documents, and processes that make up the CI interview are continually refreshed.

The AOBTA® CI Interview Process exemplifies one of the highest and most successful achievements of our Peer Review process.

Cindy Banker, Director of Education



Beverly Sonen says...
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Congratulations, Marjorie and Nina. Your histories sound wonderful to me who once lived in CT. I am especially excited to hear about Nina's connection with dance and shiatsu and it being a vital part of her practic and teaching. That is my background, too, although I have retired from Shiatsu but not quite yet from dance ;^) Come on DVS, let's go dance with her!!!
Pamela Ferguson says...
Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Cngrats dearest Margie and Nini! Two wonderful ladies to add to our CI list! Thrilled to have your fine teaching skills on board. Bags of Qi and Love - Pam
Deborah Smith says...
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Congratulations Margie and Nini, So happy to see the two of you taking your place as accomplished teachers and carriers of the legacy of Asian Bodywork Therapy. This is great news for AOBTA!
Cindy Banker says...
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019
So happy to see this posted! So exciting to have these new options open to us for sharing things! It was a joy serving with my fellow Interviewers as we collaborated with these two amazing new Certified Instructors!
Wayne Mylin says...
Posted Friday, August 16, 2019
Congratulations Marjorie and Nina! So proud of you!

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