What is Hara?
Hara is a Japanese word. Anatomically, it refers to the region of the abdomen, but it means much more than that. Hara is the center of a person, not only physically, but also energetically. Some believe it to be "the spiritual center of the soul and the body’s life processes" (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hara).
Hara massage is the most important aspect of a traditional shiatsu treatment. When I was learning shiatsu, hara was always in the center of discussions about theory, technique and treatment development. During the last few decades, the tendency in shiatsu training has moved towards using the hara to diagnose the rest of the body systems, rather than doing diagnosis and treatment of the hara. Any pressure that is used in the hara is usually very light. Although this type of work has great value, there is something else to be added that also has great value: hara treatment that uses deep, penetrating contact.
When someone receives traditional hara treatment, many things occur in the body. Circulation is stimulated, digestion strengthens, absorption & blood quality improve, oxygenation of tissues occurs. Hormonal function steps up, reproductive organs awaken and sexual energy receives a boost. The flow of Conception Vessel, the meridian that energizes our ability to materialize our thoughts and dreams, is increased. The physical and energetic benefits are tremendous! We are enthusiastic to inspire you to expand your hara work so that you can enjoy the benefits it can bring you and your clients.
Strong Hara Treatment = Strong Practice
If you want to have a thriving practice, learn how to give a good, strong hara treatment. Why? Because a traditional hara treatment will change every client's condition for the better. It is one of the most direct ways to improve someone's health. When you give treatments that clearly bring more vitality, clarity and resilience to someone's life, as strong hara work does, you will attract more clients.
Many practitioners shy away from applying penetrating technique to the hara. There are many reasons for this:
Shy of New Territory - Practitioners are sometimes shy to work on clients' haras because it is new territory. Most clients are not familiar with this kind of bodywork and are cautious to have this area of their body touched, especially in a deep way.
Fear of Causing Harm - Many manual therapists are fearful that applying pressure to the hara will hurt their clients. They don't feel confident in applying the techniques because they have not been educated in the application and effect of this work.
Benefits are Unknown - The tremendous benefits of traditional hara treatment are not that well known these days. Even when students learn some basic hara work, they often fail to incorporate it into their treatments due to a lack of understanding of its true potential.
Lack of Education - The therapeutic importance of hara treatment is often overlooked in teaching curriculums. Most shiatsu programs have simply stopped including traditional hara work as part of their classes. Working with the hara more as a diagnostic tool, and a dominance of meridian study and treatment, has become the new normal. Therefore, many manual therapists have simply not learned how to treat the hara.
Because these factors, most bodywork practitioners miss out on one of the most effective ways of building a strong practice. And people seeking out bodywork miss out on one of the most powerful ways to improve their physical, emotional and psychological well-being - hara treatment!
An Opportunity for Practitioners and Clients
Learning how to give traditional hara treatment is one of the best opportunities for practitioners to help clients and improve their practice. The good news is that most of the techniques themselves are not physically complex. They don't require extensive positioning, diagnosis or technical skill. Whereas some bodywork skills require months/years of practice to begin to use effectively, you can learn these techniques in a relatively short amount of time. Hara work is also easy to integrate into any type of bodywork treatment.
What hara treatment DOES require is the ability to listen, to observe, to be responsive. Of course this is not always easy and requires great skill. If you want to be an effective practitioner who facilitates transformation, you need to be clear, healthy and aware. You need to keep developing yourself. Keeping your own hara clear and strong is an important part of that journey. So eat good quality food, chew it well, and do some Do-In (self shiatsu) on your own hara if you know how.
Traditional hara treatment is not just about the techniques. It encompasses a whole cosmology. Each individual is seen as a microcosm of the universe, and the hara is seen as a microcosm of a person's whole life. By working with this part of the body, you are helping shift a person's whole being towards wholeness, vitality, and balance.
For more information on our 2 online courses on hara treatment, please click on the links below: