The following model was introduced to me by my brother in law, Nigel Dawes, who is an accomplished Shiatsu practitioner and teacher and it was originally developed as a practical tool to help Shiatsu therapists decide how deep should they press with each client, or simply put, how much force should they put into each point.
It is obvious that some patients will benefit from deeper pressure, while other will find it disturbing. It is also quite self evident that clients with heavier, denser frame require a different level of penetration than lightly built small people.
However the differentiation between superficial and deep qi types gives an even more subtle differentiation, and it gives also an analysis that is useful elsewhere as well.
Since the differentiation is to two types of people it is important to remember that we are dealing with stereotypes, and as such no one fits this presentation perfectly, though it is easy to relate to this comparison on broad terms.
The differentiation between deep qi type and superficial type has to do with the way each of us interacts with our surroundings.
The superficial qi type is very sensitive to his immediate surroundings. They are very tactile, and perhaps the best way to think of them is as people who have their antennas out. They can sense the world around them in an immediate manner, which makes them very responsive, yet also unquiet at times.
This type of people tend to be sensitive, but they also have a tendency to be more nervous and easily stressed out. In general, since these kind of people are very responsive, they have a tendency to have a delicate digestive system that quickly responds to any food their system does not agree with. They are also more sensitive to temperature changes and easily contract colds, since they have “thinner skin”.
Their body frame is usually either wiery, or feeble and thin, yet it may also be full and soft, usually without underlying muscle strength.
On a psychological level, as a stereotype, these will be the people who will be fast to take offense, but perhaps also fast to bounce off and mend their mood thereafter.
The deeper qi person is the flip side to this character: They are more resilient to pain and discomfort, they are less perceptible of the environment they are in, and are not easily stirred by environmental stimulation. Their digestive system is robust and they are not fussy about their environment.
These are usually more massively built people with a tight muscle tone. They can be either muscular or fat, but either way they are usually strong and dense to the touch. Typically they are strong, though at times they may lack agility. Unlike the superficial qi type who tend to be rather nervous, the deep qi type usually seems calm at first, but once overstimulated it is very difficult to calm them down. Therefore they may hold a grudge against people who offended them for the longest time.
Deep qi types get sick less frequently, yet once they do their diseases may be more violent or serious.