Working with clients who have Multiple Sclerosis

This article is in response to the following question from a shiatsu/shin tai practitioner about Multiple Sclerosis:

“I have a potential client who has suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for 15 years and would welcome any advice on treatments. Also, is there a possibility of reversing it?”

When working with someone who has Multiple Sclerosis, it is very important to proceed with special care during treatments. Work with less pressure than usual and for a shorter amount of time in order to not create too much change. Clearing some of the compression and restriction in the body to enhance the flow of life force in a gradual way is the best way to proceed. One reason for this is that when someone has MS, their membranes and energy system tend to be very porous, and the system tends to leak energy. If things begin to accelerate (breathing, meridians, chakras, movement, etc.), this can exacerbate the draining of life force.


Therefore go slowly and not too deeply and do more integrative, strengthening work. This will be more effective than initiating deep change, like what occurs with extensive Central Channel work and deep hara treatment. If symptoms become worse after a session, do even less.

Dietary considerations are also quite important. It can be helpful to consult a holistic nutritionist or macrobiotic counselor.

It is best not to try and 'cure' or 'reverse' anything while doing treatments with any client. Instead, focus on facilitating a more balanced flow of energy in the body during the time you are working with them. The ‘healing’ of the situation comes from helping to restore their own inner healing power. This comes through dietary changes, treatment and their own will to go deeper into the meaning of the imbalance.

To read more about how to proceed in treatments with someone who has a serious illness, please click on the blog post below:

How to Work with People Who Have a Serious Illness

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Preventing the Holiday/Winter Blues with Shin Tai

Happy Holidays?


The holidays and winter are here. Let’s celebrate! It’s a time of great opportunity, enjoyment and fun. In addition, it is a time that we can experience deep healing and spiritual growth.As we know the holiday season can also be challenging. For many it can end up in disappointment, anxiety and unfulfilled expectations. The holidays can wreak havoc on our physical, emotional and mental well being.

Staying joyful and peaceful during this time of year means keeping our attention in the present. It means enjoying who we are with, and being grateful for the things we have. It is wishing health and happiness to those that we can’t be with due to the holiday family shuffle. There is the need to make choices, sometimes difficult, about where to go and what to do.

The past is seldom as we would have it. The future yet unknown. Embrace the present.... and strike all else from concern.
— Spartacus, speaking to a warrior preparing for battle

Winter Energy

Winter energy is deep and inward. Energetically, it is a time best suited for quiet and calm. It’s a good time to review and reflect in order to set priorities and clarify our vision of the life we are creating. Ironically this is the time of year that we are pushed to be more outgoing and social. We often feel obligated to engage in emotionally charged activities that are much more appropriate for spring and summer, when energy is moving in a similar out-going direction.

How do people shift the direction of their energy in order to participate in the mandatory celebrations? They use alcohol, sugar, caffeine and drugs which activate the outward excited energy flows. The cost of this is high: it is an unnatural assault on our body cycles and disruptive to the regenerative patterns of our organs. To compound these effects, alcohol and drugs are also used to numb down the pain of holiday stress and disappointment. In addition to these substances, people tend to overeat foods and drink that are not appropriate for cold weather and actually decrease the body’s capacity to handle winter temperatures. These choices can leave a person’s immune system weak and their emotions unstable.

While we can’t change this upside down social pattern overnight, following are a few things you can do to avoid the holiday-winter blues.

Food Suggestions

Of course, natural foods are always the best for our system. In winter there are a few additions that can be particularly helpful. Burdock and other root vegetables like rutabaga keep the body warm. Cooked as a stew with kombu will help generate heat in the body and enable us to enjoy outside winter activities. Wild burdock is best, but commercial burdock will do.


Buckwheat is a grain often used in cold climates. Eastern Europeans use it as a staple and understand traditionally that it is a winter food. I liked the buckwheat dishes my mother (who was of Ukrainian descent) cooked when I was growing up; I remember her saying “it’s a winter food.”

Use rice syrup or stevia concentrate to satisfy sweet cravings. Stevia not only helps reduce attraction to sweets, it helps to regenerate pancreatic cells (which regulate blood sugar). This can help balance out the effects of the many sweets that are often consumed at this time of year.

Clothing Tips

Winter is the time of the kidneys and kidney regeneration. This is the organ that gives us vitality and incentive. The kidneys keep our blood clean and help us create heat by metabolizing proteins. Ironically, the kidneys are weakened and stressed by alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Weak kidneys make us fatigued and feeble. When they are not strong, we lack drive for engaging in life’s challenges. Weak kidneys also make us feel chilly and cold.

Wear a hara warmer, which wraps around the abdomen and covers the kidney area in the back. This is a common winter accessory in many parts of the world. This will protect your kidneys and keep you much warmer in cold weather. You can wrap a scarf around your waist/hips to function in a similar way. When it’s particularly frigid wear a fur lined Russian hat. They really keep you warm in freezing weather.


I need a buckwheat pancake….

I need a buckwheat pancake….

If you drink too much, eat a plain buckwheat pancake before going to sleep. The buckwheat will soak up the excess liquid and alkalize your body. The next morning…… no hangover + clear head!* Try it. Use only buckwheat flour, salt and water to make the pancake batter. Also, prepare it ahead. You might not feel like mixing this stuff up if you come in late and loaded.

You can also wash off a small piece of kombu seaweed and eat it raw before going to bed. Make sure you chew it very well. This will help you to feel clear in the morning, no matter how you felt the night before.

* tested in numerous real life situations

Shin Tai Treatments

Bodywork before, during and after the holidays keeps us in the present and operating on real-time information. It keeps us resilient and flexible even when the stress and pressure of the holidays shows up.

Shin tai treatments release stress patterns in the body that are activated by family dynamics and social pressure. They enable us to move through the upset-ness of others and transform negativity into useful energy, renewal and mindfulness. By freeing our perception from being populated with past time information, shin tai can keep our consciousness in the present and out of the grip of guilt, regret, and hurtful past experiences.

I will be giving treatments in the mornings and late afternoons over the next two months. If you need a session give me a call at (267) 372-1644. Lynn is also available at (267) 347-2290.

Happy Holidays everyone and best wishes, Saul

Bring more skill & depth to your bodywork practice with our online video courses. Study at your own pace whenever you want, wherever you are. Click on each course below for more info:

Hara: A Path to Realization

Vision of Life ≠ LIfe

We all have ideas, dreams and projects. We have a vision of how we want our life to be. However, there is usually a disconnect between how our reality is actually playing out in real time and what our inner visions look like. Maybe there is that rare person whose total image of how they want their life to be matches their actual circumstances, but most people experience some degree of gap between their vision and their current life scheme. For many clients this is in the mix of reasons as to why they come for treatments. 

They might say ‘I have back pain’, ‘my digestion is not good’ or ‘I’m depressed.’ But as you get to know them a little better, you discover that the inability to create the experience that they desire is a strong force behind what is going on in their life that is making them unhappy. Many of the things that are bothering them physically or emotionally are actually symptoms of this disconnect. There is festering frustration and discontent with the difference between what they envision for their life and what they actually experience, and how that feels day in and day out.

In other words, what they dream is not what they experience. Not the dream while sleeping, but the inner semi-conscious dream we have while we are awake. If there is an extreme disconnect, the inner dream becomes fantasy. The closer the dream comes to what is actually happening in the daily life, the less a person fantasizes, and the more engaged and creative the person becomes with what they are doing.




The Role of Hara in Manifestation

The hara plays a large role in translating our ideas, images, and dreams into physical reality. There are several aspects of hara that contribute to this activity of manifestation. First of all, it is the physical seat of our digestive system, which converts food into usable fuel for our body to function and act in the world. The hara transforms food into energy so that we can act, so that we can carry out our visions on the physical plane. The hara also holds the reproductive organs, which function to spark and create new life in manifested form.

Another factor in the hara’s function to translate dreams into reality it that it is the energetic center and physical component of the Conception Vessel meridian, an electromagnetic current which runs up the front of the body. The word conception is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both.’

When the Conception Vessel meridian is flowing with strength and balance, it gives the capacity for visions to begin forming into third dimensional reality through a process of fertilization. Ideas become pregnant. They enter the phase of developing into a fully matured form. I am working from the unique premise that the hara is the most direct way to diagnose and treat the Conception Vessel and effect this capacity. It makes sense that when the Conception Vessel is flowing well, our ability to conceive is enhanced.


A third factor that contributes to the hara’s role in manifestation is related to the hip structure. I consider the hip structure as the bony aspect of the hara, and the hip joints as the mechanism that set the hara into motion. The hara and its motion are prominent factors in moving our intentions into the life sphere; they play an strong role in determining what unfolds there. 


So to summarize, the health of the hara is related to our ability to manifest our visions because of the close relationship it has with the following aspects of the body:

  1. Digestive & reproductive systems
  2. Conception Vessel meridian
  3. Pelvic structure & hip joints

When we work with clients and treat the hara, it becomes more clear, strong and balanced. The organs begin to function better. Circulation and oxygenation of tissues is increased. The flow of the Conception Vessel meridian improves, and the mobility and alignment of the hip structure improve. The hara can now better do its job to translate images and intentions into the physical plane, and a person’s ideas about their life and their life itself begin to have a more direct correlation. 


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The True Nature of Shiatsu

Shiatsu books give lists of conditions and symptoms that shiatsu can cure. But in the end, does shiatsu really ‘cure’ conditions? And does viewing and practicing shiatsu from that perspective allow us to access its most powerful potential? 

If a person pursues a path that does not resonate with their true nature, their potential for creating and expressing is often greatly diminished. Shiatsu is often practiced in a way that exhibits this dynamic; instead of taking full advantage of the unique capacity of touch, it tends to be approached from a specialized and conceptual framework that is not in alignment with its true nature.

Over the past few decades, shiatsu is often used in a way that is trying to emulate the practice of acupuncture and other more western therapeutic practices in order to gain more respect with the medical community and general public. But just like when a person tries to imitate another in order to 'be better,' this method not only backfires, it misses the opportunity to utilize the unique capacity of shiatsu: to effect change at the most primitive layer of the information system. Instead of working in a specialized manner to adjust the function of the meridians and organs and systems of the body, shiatsu often has more power when it goes underneath these levels to address the core energy, or ki, of the body.

Instead of working in a specialized manner to adjust the function of the meridians and organs and systems of the body, shiatsu has more power when it goes underneath these levels to address the core energy, or ki, of the body.


We are not doing surgery, acupuncture, osteopathic or chiropractic work. These are very valuable therapies that each have unique healing effects on the body. But in shiatsu, we are working with touch that is applied within specific parameters. What is the most we can accomplish with this type of bodywork? In order to access the true transformative potential of shiatsu and shin tai (a form of shiatsu that uses Governing Vessel & Conception Vessel as a primary means of evaluation and treatment), we have to understand the origin and nature of touch.

Touch and touch response is the most basic sense of the primitive cell. Touch makes the distinction between the cell and its environment through responses in the cell membrane. The membrane registers changes in chemical composition, light, vibration, and pressure. 

Touch contains the information of all the other senses. For example, particles of a substance need to ‘touch’ the olfactory receptor neurons in the nasal cavity in order for it to be detected as a smell. When a sound is made, the vibrating sound waves that are created need to touch and vibrate the ear drum in order to be heard. Touch is a factor in all of the sensory experiences, and pressure is the medium through which it is discerned. 

shiatsu healing

Because touch is the most primal sense of the primitive cell, it is the most potent means to restore the primal life force of the body. And because touch applied with pressure is a primary characteristic of shiatsu, this type of bodywork has tremendous potential to effect change at this level of the body. Rather than try to emulate other methods of therapeutic practices (such as acupuncture) by introducing more complexity and focusing on specialized diagnosis and treatment strategies, we can instead amplify the unique transformational possibilities of our work by using it in a way that is in alignment with its true nature. By focusing on using shiatsu to restore primal life force through touch, we can unleash its greatest potential. 



If you are reading this article, you have most likely chosen to practice bodywork in some capacity. This means you have an affinity for this style of healing. Rather than study to become a doctor, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, etc., you have chosen to learn about bodywork. You are attracted to using touch as a means of listening, healing and transformation because it suits some part of your nature. In uniting your own nature with that of shiatsu lies an extraordinary opportunity for you to provide an expanding experience of freedom and creativity to those who come to you seeking health.

We welcome your comments & questions below.

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The Healing Process

Treatments Create Change

A person's whole story is in their body. Bodywork gives us one of the best opportunities to listen to someone and understand what they are experiencing, and them to shift parts of their life that are painful. It can transform the health of a person's organs, emotions and life system. Treatments can assist someone in the initiation of changes that will lead to engaging in present time with vibrant health. 

People who come to us for bodywork want to achieve well-being and healing; underneath that is always a desire for joy. One depends on the other. Joy can be difficult to experience without a foundation of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. So clients come see us and tell us about symptoms and conditions they would like to cure, situations that they would like to change. They tell us that they are not happy and would like to be.

If we can go to the client’s system and help restore strength, alignment and resilience, real change will begin to happen in their body and life. What is behind their discomfort and sickness will come to the surface and make itself known. This is not always easy; healing is a double edge sword. As someone gets stronger and healthier, they also come face to face with the situations and behaviors that caused disharmony in the first place. These factors led to compression in the body and over time caused nagging, uncomfortable aches, pains and symptoms.

Photograph by shin tai instructor hermann grobbauer

Photograph by shin tai instructor hermann grobbauer

The more we can perceive and understand different stages of healing, the better we are equipped to handle ourselves and those whom we treat with skill and sensitivity. 

The Healing Process

As a practitioner works with a client over time, there are usually several elements of the treatment that are priorities in creating positive change. Then there are other factors that can supplement those main elements, providing integration or supporting discharge of physical and emotional toxicity. These various elements of treatment shift; sometime there are certain aspects that remain primary for a singular treatment, or over a period of months or even years. Something that could seem secondary for one period of time could take center stage at another period.

At a certain point of this treatment process, there is a border that is crossed where a person begins to connect to what has been underneath their sickness and suffering. Usually they do not want to experience this. Treatments and healing are fine as long as they fit into a convenient timeline and do not not require that business-as-usual life gets interrupted. But when healing requires a cold hard look into behaviors and beliefs that undermine the health, happiness and prosperity that they are seeking, people often start to panic and look for the exits. 

All types of excuses appear, often seemingly coincidental, to push the healing out of a priority position and back out to it’s normal, peripheral status. As a someone realizes that they will have to go through a real revolution of behavior and thought transformation, and an unravelling of conditioning, they miraculously create situations that enable them to cancel sessions so that they can delay making changes and jump back into the ways of life that cause the sickness. They unconsciously sabotage the healing process in which they had previously been quite enthusiastic.


Avoiding the Avoidance

It could be that taking a break from treatments is necessary for someone to have time to discharge and integrate changes. Faster is certainly not always better when it comes to healing. But a 180 degree turn-around from being actively involved in addressing certain behaviors and conditions that have been creating distress, to reengaging in ignoring (and even enhancing) more destructive tendencies is an indication of a usually unconscious decision to avoid addressing the key things which undermine health. 

When you recognize this possibility in a client, it can be invaluable to discuss the healing process in a nonjudgemental way. A bit of encouragement at the right moment can help keep someone on a path towards greater health. Let them know that they are in a period of tremendous opportunity to shift their life direction, and that a little more self-care can go a long way towards promoting healing. This may not be in the form of more treatments, but rather any lifestyle choice/behavior that promotes their well-being. Your sensitive words delivered with compassion can help a client avoid their avoidance, especially when they understand the pattern that may be playing out. 

We all move through this healing process to different degrees. Perhaps you have recognized some of these patterns in yourself, either now or in the past. It is valuable to learn about it so that we can observe it in ourselves and our clients. We do not do this judge, but rather to have the clarity to understand what is occurring. This helps us as practitioners progress into greater health and adeptly guide clients in their journey. The more we can perceive and understand different stages of healing, the better we are equipped to handle ourselves and those whom we treat with skill and sensitivity. 


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We welcome your comments & questions below.

Hara: the path to manifestation

Vision of Life = Life?

We all have ideas, dreams and projects. We have visions of how we want our life to be. However, there is usually a disconnect between how our reality is actually playing out in real time and what our inner visions look like. Maybe there is that rare person whose total image of how they want their life to be matches their actual circumstances, but most people experience some degree of gap between their vision and their current life scheme. For many clients this is in the mix of reasons as to why they come for treatments. 

They might say ‘I have back pain’, ‘my digestion is not good’, or ‘I’m depressed.’ But as you get to know them a little better, you discover that the inability to create the experience that they desire is a strong force behind what is going on in their life that is making them unhappy. Many of the things that are bothering them physically or emotionally are actually symptoms of this disconnect. There is festering frustration and discontent with the difference between what they envision for their life and what they actually experience, and how that feels day in and day out.


In other words, what they dream is not what they experience. Not the dream while sleeping, but the inner semi-conscious dream we have while we are awake. If there is an extreme disconnect, the inner dream becomes fantasy. The closer the dream comes to what is actually happening in the daily life, the less a person fantasizes, and the more engaged and creative the person becomes with what they are doing.


Hara is the translator

The hara plays a large role in translating ideas, images, and dreams into physical reality. There are several aspects of hara that contribute to this activity of manifestation. First of all, it is the physical seat of our digestive system, which converts food into usable fuel for our body to function and act in the world. The hara transforms food into energy so that we can act, so that we can carry out our visions on the physical plane. It also holds the reproductive organs, which function to spark and create new life.

Another factor in the hara’s function to translate dreams into reality it that it is the energetic center and physical component of the Conception Vessel meridian, an electromagnetic current which runs up the front of the body. The word conception is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

  1. ‘The process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both’ or 
  2. ‘The capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols.’ 

When the Conception Vessel meridian is flowing with strength and balance, it gives the capacity for visions to begin forming into third dimensional reality through a process of fertilization. Ideas become pregnant. They enter the phase of developing into a fully matured form. The Hara is the most direct way to diagnose and treat the Conception Vessel and effect this capacity.


A third factor that contributes to the hara’s role in manifestation is related to the hip structure. I consider the hip structure as the boney aspect of the hara, and the hip joints as the mechanism that set the hara into motion. The hara and its motion are a large factor in moving our intentions into the life sphere and so play a role in determining what unfolds there. 

When we work with clients and treat the hara, it becomes more clear, strong and balanced. The organs begin to function better. Circulation and oxygenation of tissues is increased. The flow of the Conception Vessel meridian improves, and the hip structure gains mobility and alignment. The hara can better do its job to manifest images and intentions into the physical plane, and so people's visions about their life and their actual life itself begin to have a more direct correlation. 








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Treatments & Advice, Part II

Learning how to navigate through the verbal parts of a bodywork treatment takes skill, experience and constant flexibility and many practitioners find it challenging at times. We received many emails in response to our January article 'To Talk or Not to Talk: Treatments & Advice.' Below we share one of them (along with a response), because it held many questions that were asked multiple times.

Every time a practitioner has a treatment, they are going to need to speak with the receiver. First, there is the greeting and a usually brief discussion of the client's situation. During the treatment pertinent information, questions or suggestions may surface. Afterwards the receiver often has questions and it may be beneficial to give some advice. However, sometimes discussion during a session begins to dominate and it can feel like getting caught in a web. You as a practitioner might struggle to know how much to respond and what to say, and loose energy managing the process instead of focusing on the treatment.

Of course, it is important to listen to our clients and offer useful information and advice when we have it. That is very healing in itself! But if you find yourself tired or confused regarding how much to interact with your clients at this level, it is a good idea to do some work in this area. Even very experienced practitioners need to sometimes work on the balance of touch and talk and do not always get it 'right.'


Learning how to navigate through the verbal parts of a treatment takes skill, experience and constant flexibility.


A Practitioner's Questions

Here is an email about this topic from a shiatsu shin tai practitioner in England:

"Recently I was treating a lady that was suffering from depression, and she found the treatments very helpful. She said that she was feeling a deep happiness and a quiet mind that she had never before experienced. In these treatments she would often talk with me about her personal experiences with depression and the life factors surrounding it. 

Feeling inspired after reading your article 'To Talk or Not to Talk,' I decided to try something different when she came for her next session. Before starting the treatment, I suggested to her that in order to overcome the depression it would be better that we not discuss it and instead focus on the treatment itself. Afterwards, she wrote me to say that I had been unkind with her. She said that she needed kindness, understanding and an empathic response. She did not want condemnation when she was already suffering. I realized I had been doing a kind of counseling with her and did not want to go further in this direction. She decided to stop the treatments. 

I know that the main part of a treatment is done by our hands, but how should I proceed if a client wants to discuss things extensively over and over. Then afterwards they often ask what I found, and ask what to do to improve their health. Sometimes I do  not find it easy to express myself about what I noticed during a treatment. For instance, recently I found a lady's belly very bloated, and she asked me what I had found. I tried to explain that the energy was stagnated and that it might be some old things going on in there. Then she asked me 'What can I do?' I gave some vague dietary advice. After saying that, I started to question myself." 


Limiting Discussion

It is normal that sometimes a client will not like being told to limit discussion during sessions. You are serving your clients to risk this, and saving yourself the loss of energy that occurs when we enable them to stay in their story. It is important however, to broach the topic with sensitivity and compassion! It can be very helpful to present your request in a positive light, such as "It is important that I not speak too much during a treatment so that I can focus on listening to your body" instead of "Don't talk during a treatment because you are just perpetuating your story." Read about and practice how to set non-negative boundaries if this is a challenging thing for you. You are serving everyone involved to keep the focus more on the bodywork, instead of the talking.

Shiatsu Treatment - Spleen Pump

Feedback After a Treatment

If it does not come easy to share with someone what happened during a treatment, you do not have to. You can remind them to pay attention to sensations in their body over the next few days and explain that is the best way to proceed after a treatment. It takes discipline to educate a client in this way. You teach them over time that you are not there to give extensive verbal diagnosis, therapy and advice, although you may very well do this to an extent sometimes. You are there to facilitate more freedom in their body so that their innate wisdom is flowing more and can guide them more clearly. Again, this takes practice and ongoing development on your part to find what works best for you. It is important to balance the expectations and needs of the client with your boundaries.


Sharing Advice

Regarding advice & lifestyle tips: share only advice that you are confident about with a client. If you do not know much about food and diet, do not give guidance in this area. If you have extensive experience with exercise or meditation, you may have some tips that would be helpful. Collect a list of resources for nutrition, exercise, therapy, etc. that you can refer your clients to in the areas that you lack skills/background to provide guidance.

Another tip regarding advice: it is usually better to give less information rather than more. Offer them small, doable suggestions that they can be digested with ease. If they resist or start into a story about why they did that already or why it didn't work, let it go. They are not able to take it in. Let the treatment itself do the work and have faith they will be able to take care of themselves better as their system becomes more clear.

If you get too caught up in long explanations and extensive suggestions, you may find yourself in a complex maze of dialogue that is not feeling particularly effective. Counselors and therapists train for years how to assist others through verbal means, because it takes lots of training and practice to do it effectively. You have probably trained for years to use touch to assist others, so that will most likely be your most potent tool.

Remember that the treatment itself is clearing the body of restrictive forces and reestablishing the flow of life force, which in turn increases the ability to access the most accurate guidance. Remind yourself and your clients of this when necessary. Often clients are in such physical and emotional need that a practitioner feels compelled to help them with many aspects that could be contributing to their suffering. But it is not your job to solve all your clients' problems and figure out intellectually why this or that is happening. It is your job to give the treatment and empower them with a more clear and aligned body. Our primary training as bodyworkers is to use touch to facilitate freedom and power in someone's body. This has unique potential that other methods do not have; it can be wonderful to trust that and watch it unfold.

It's like the adage 'give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' Giving someone bodywork is like teaching them to fish instead of giving them a fish. We clear restriction, misalignment and jumbled up information in a very practical way so that a person can function better. A shiatsu shin tai treatment naturally gives someone more freedom and power to access their true, unfettered self. Then they can perceive, listen and respond to their innermost wisdom and have the will to make the changes that will be beneficial to them. 


A shiatsu shin tai treatment gives someone more freedom and power to access their true, unfettered self.


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Intention - a synthesis of instinct, intellect & intuition

The Topic of Intention

The topic of intention is a necessary one to address in any bodywork training. It is important to understand what it is so that we can give treatments with clarity and direction while also listening to the needs of each receiver. Reflecting on the role of intention can also greatly increase the effectiveness and power of our treatments, as well as increasing the effectiveness and power of all of our life activities!

We thought it would be valuable to share with you a recent inquiry about intention from a shiatsu/shin tai practitioner in the UK, and the subsequent response:


Why do I need intention when giving treatments?

"Lately I am struggling with the concept of intention, and I am not sure whether I am not understanding it. Why do we need to intend anything while giving treatments? I myself am not sure that I want someone else's intention in my system, particularly if they don't have clear systems themselves (and who does have a completely clear system?).

My thoughts are that when we "intend" we are using the intellect/mind to intend and this can "pull" us out of connecting with our own body. When I "intend" it feels that I am in my upper body instead of working from my hara i.e. lower body. My thoughts are then when working completely from the hara (which contains the whole), I don't need intention because my whole body is working with someone else's body. Then I am responding to what's in front of me without any "intention" at all.  

I would really appreciate your thoughts about this as I have struggled with this concept for some time. The struggle is also about the role of intention in my life. In other words, if I don't "intend", I am forced back into the flow of life and my authenticity around that. But that's conditional upon being fully in my body/hara, because with that sensation comes the quieting of the mind and any intention."


Intention is a Synthesis

Intention is a synthesis of 3 things:

  1. Instinct (which is related to hara)
  2. Intellect
  3. Intuition (which is related to the third eye)

Intention is meant to be applied as a synthesis of these three dimensions. The thought (intellectual or mental) dimension does not necessarily play a dominant role. The influence in the moment can sometimes come more from one dimension than the others depending on the situation: there can be a momentary instinctive understanding, there can be an intuitive message or there can be an intellectual awareness. In that case the dominant aspect is also synthesized with the others to create a full spectrum of information. 

Intention really means how you want to direct ki. As an example, with kyo and jitsu, the same technique can be used for either condition. There is a brief awareness & synthesis of information that creates the intention in how your ki is directed and how it will influence the treatment.  

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If you have an experience or question about the use of intention during treatments, we welcome you to share it below. You can also share this article by clicking on the red social media buttons -

To Talk or Not to Talk: Treatments & Advice

To talk or not to talk, that is the question -

This article began as a response to an email from a shiatsu shin tai practitioner. She was experiencing complicated responses to treatments herself, as well as in people who were receiving bodywork from her. A main question she had was regarding the role of a practitioner in providing advice to clients about lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, therapy, etc.). She also had concerns over the fact that most receivers did not have the will or ability to address changes that they needed to make to improve their health. 

These are issues that are important for all of us as bodyworkers to address. We realize quickly after beginning to work with people that there is more to giving treatments than the hands-on work, although that is primary. From the initial hello and discussion, getting a receiver on the futon/table, leading them into the treatment itself, and getting them up and on their way afterwards, it can be a bit of a juggling act to keep the session focused on the hands-on work. People coming for treatment are often in dire need of compassion and assistance, and it is our job to make sure our hands do most of the work rather than our mouths!


Below are sections from the email (italicized in quotes) along with my responses (not in quotes) -

"In my experience, it is a real minority of people who are willing to put the immense time and effort that is needed into self healing. A lot of this is cultural conditioning that other people can cure or heal you, without the 'patient' having to do anything. People are very reluctant to address diets, other than maybe a basic alteration. We are so disconnected from our food and bodies, that it has become imperceivable that food and emotions are underlying the majority, if not all of the discomfort in our bodies and minds."

Shin Tai (an evolving form of shiatsu) focuses on clearing the primary information system of the body (the governing vessel & conception vessel meridians). This is done through working on many layers of the body: bones, muscles, organs, meridians, chakras, outerbody....  The practitioner learns to read which layer is the priority and works accordingly. Working directly with the body is considered the practitioner's main job. They are trained to clear restrictions and create more alignment & vitality. This helps to reestablish the receiver's will to take care of themselves.


When the body is more clear and 'online', the receiver then has access to more accurate information as to what will be best for them at that time. This might be in regards to diet, exercise, relationships, environment, job, etc. Their own body has the most wisdom regarding life choices and direction. Practitioners are instructed to give some pointers and references, but mainly to trust in the process of the treatment itself to empower the receiver's body to direct their life. Therein will be the most accurate, real-time information to best serve the receiver.  


"I spent years in therapy, believing that if I fixed the emotions (childhood sexual abuse), then everything would be ok. But that didn't work. Then I moved to bodywork, thinking that would solve everything. But that didn't work either. Then the spiritual life took precedence as a solution. But no, that didn't solve everything either! Now it's on to dietary needs!!"

The fact that you are finding your way along different avenues that support your healing and development is in part due to the therapy, bodywork and spiritual work that you did. It is normal that the priority of what to address can change over time. For example, sometimes diet will be most important, and then it can shift to bodywork. Often, we as receivers do not recognize changes that are occurring because we are so attached to them showing up in a certain form.

That being said, shiatsu/shin tai practitioners are trained to give some instruction on diet, exercise and other self-development practices. Practitioners are also trained to know when and how to give information that could be helpful to a client. Of course these skills require years of practice and development, and every practitioner has different capabilities and strengths that they can offer their clients.

But always the main role is to do the bodywork. Not talk too much, nor get into the client's story or issues through words too much. If it seems like therapy or a nutritionist or a trainer could be helpful, the practitioner may give references. But we let the touch do our main work. That will empower the client to learn to listen to their own inner guidance, their own blueprint. Nothing could be more accurate than that. Getting caught up in discussions and advice about diet, etc. often do not penetrate and create shifts in the client. But working beneath the words, beneath the typical advice - that's where shin tai can offer a unique opportunity to empower transformation! It is not personal and can save the practitioner a lot of energy.  

"I feel we are doing clients a disservice by not mentioning lifestyle. When people seek treatments, they often have no real idea of what is involved or the depth of what they are entering into. They just want to be 'fixed'. Personal responsibility is not something many people want to hear about. I have a 9 year old who feels and sees the effects junk and certain foods have on his system, as he holds a cramping stomach or has to stop playing football while he has another coughing fit. But then he sees others eating those foods and not having any visible negative effects. He won't do a 3 minute qi gong exercise to help strengthen his bladder, yet hates wetting the bed! Adults have many, many more years of resistance in them.

I was extremely disillusioned with shiatsu and had been for a while. Shin tai has recovered some life force around bodywork for me. Ironically, I am feeling the effects of shin tai at a deeper, more fundamental level, even during a time when both my physical and mental health is at such a low ebb." 

When life force is recovered, people naturally have more energy and will to address the changes they need to make. They also have access to what direction would be most useful for them at a given moment in time. Of course, every choice is 'useful', but some bring health and development with more ease than others. The goal in shin tai is to empower the receiver to heal without so much suffering, without so many hard lessons that wake them up through crisis. It was years of experiencing clients not being able to make changes in the factors that created their illnesses that led shin tai work to make hands-on work the priority for introducing change into the receiver's life.

If you were receiving treatments with me and I heard how you were feeling and how you became disillusioned with bodywork, I would encourage you to really notice the feelings underneath that. Feel them. Feel how your body feels when you feel like that. Going through that and those feelings is actually uncovering the tone of pain that underlies your physical symptoms. Support yourself in whatever ways you can and whatever ways seem most pertinent and potent.

Touch offers a unique opportunity -

One of the unique strengths of bodywork is its ability to introduce change from deep within the body. Without any words, without giving any advice, without the receiver needing to consciously process past trauma - change moves forward. Restrictions loosen, life force surges, organs regenerate, emotions mature. Psychological distortion lessens. Consciousness and physical health grow.


It does not mean all problems go away and health is perfect. When I began receiving bodywork over 20 years ago, I was in a serious physical and emotional condition. I had little knowledge of how to take care of myself. I was so unaware of my body (although I didn't think so!) and unable to take much responsibility for my situation. Through a combination of treatments, lifestyle changes, supportive relationships and many, many painful 'mistakes' I worked my way towards a stronger more balanced state. But I still require much self care to function at a level that many people seem to take for granted. 


Unleash the inner guidance -

It is each individual's responsibility to keep listening to their inner guidance as it grows in sensitivity. We can encourage our clients in this direction. That guidance will continue to lead them through layers of choices that may be dynamic, changing over time with the needs of their body. It is best to not to get attached to one way of eating, one path of healing, rigid beliefs about what is best and what will work. These things will change, they will shift. Each person can grow in power to read and act on the information that lies within their own body to lead then towards regeneration and vibrant health. There will be unexpected directions that this will take, and it is important to keep listening and engage in every stage of the journey.

It can be effective to share this knowledge with our clients as they move through the healing process. Look for moments when it is appropriate to talk to them them about how the work is affecting their body and their life. Keep your eye out for the times where a little bit of advice can go a long way. But keep the focus on using your hands. They will help unleash the inner guidance that lies within the body.

To learn some beginning Shin Tai, you can enroll in our online course called "Life Force Recovery - The Spine." Click below for more information:


Holiday Shiatsu Challenge

A family gathering can be a great time to do some shiatsu with your family & friends.  You can set up a table or futon in the corner of a room and offer 10 minute sessions.  Do more traditional shiatsu - lots of rocking, stretching and invigorating pressure - rather than something like fascia or central channel work.  Keep it light and stimulating.

Holiday Shiatsu Challenge

Here is the specific challenge:  Get three of your family members, friends (or even pets!) into your 'shiatsu area' to get some bodywork during the coming holidays.  We challenge you to find a way to share a little bit of shiatsu.   Do at least three techniques on at least three people (not clients!) before January 1st.  

It will help relieve some of their stress, and also give you a boost of fresh energy and perspective during the sometimes challenging (!?) situations that pop up when people that grew up together reconvene.  Plus, it's an opportunity to create some positive healing in yourself and those around you.  

If you are spending the holidays on your own, you can still participate!  Spend at least 3 ten-minute sessions doing some Do-In, QiGong or other self-care practices.


The Inspired Shiatsu Practitioner

We have been sharing a series of videos about the origin of shiatsu in order to bring the spirit of this work back into the heart of shiatsu practice. This next video is called 'The Inspired Shiatsu Practitioner.' It is about bringing inspiration & creativity back into your daily treatments. So many bodyworkers tell us that this is a major issue in their practices! 

Please click the play button below to watch:



The Heart of a Shiatsu Practice

I am inspired to share this material at this time because I have seen many bodyworkers growing frustrated and bored with the application of complex diagnosis and rigid protocols. I see them struggle to give strong, effective sessions that build a thriving practice.

A practitioner may know many techniques and concepts but not be generating chi flow within treatments, which is the factor that creates the most positive and reliable results.  Although modern meridian treatment is very valuable, it is best combined with a strong foundation of more simple, whole body chi techniques. This information has been dropped from many curriculums during these last decades of shiatsu standardization and accreditation.  Learning (or relearning!) the roots of shiatsu can bring inspiration & creativity back into your practice and your life.

In order to provide this foundation in traditional shiatsu, we offer an instructional video course called Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters.  For more info, please click below: 

We welcome your comments & feedback below.  We would love to hear from you!

In case you missed the last two videos, here they are:

Whole Body Chi - diagnosis, treatment & discussion

Early on in Saul Goodman's bodywork studies, he had the good fortune to study with several of the shiatsu pioneers that brought the practice to the West. In this video he shares some of their diagnosis and treatment methods, along with answering some FAQ's about learning shiatsu through video instruction.  

Please click the play button below to watch the video:



For information on our new online course "Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters"  please click on the link below.

We welcome your comments & feedback below.

How to Work with People Who Have a Serious Illness

How do we work with people who have cancer or another serious illness?  In order to effectively serve those who are coming to us for assistance, it is integral to address this issue.  Reflecting on it regularly will help us give treatments that are effective and safe.  

Before saying anything further, in our viewpoint, we are not curing illness.  Our goal is to stimulate and strengthen the capacity of the receiver to heal themselves.  We provide support by liberating the regenerative functions of the body in order to strengthen the immune system.

Less Change is Better

The main guideline when treating someone who has a cancer diagnosis is to make sure to initiate LESS change and LESS movement at first.  Also, do not begin with work directly at the source of cancer, if there is one (tumors, etc.).  When you treat, use less pressure and stimulation than usual.  For every technique, stop before reaching what you judge to be the limit for that person.  For example, if the receiver can accept a certain amount of pressure, stop before reaching that limit.  If you judge that 3 rounds of a stretch is a good amount, stop at 2.  

Shin Tai treatments initiate deep change in the physical body.  The system will need to have enough strength to excrete the toxins that begin to discharge due to increased circulation through the organs and muscles.  Strong nausea, flushing, dizziness and extreme emotions are signs to pull back and move more slowly during a session.  

Afterwards, it is important to gauge how much change occurred and how well the receiver is processing the releases.  Someone who is already in a compromised state can not necessarily afford to be sick for 2-3 days after treatment.  However, it is important to initiate enough movement so that their system can move back in the direction of health.  We want to balance out their need to change with how much change their body can integrate at one time.

Another point to stress is that if there is strong fear or uncertainty to treat, than do not treat, especially if you are a new practitioner.  Instead, refer the client to a more experienced practitioner, or a more appropriate modality of care.  If there is just a little fear and uncertainly, that can be ok.  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the strongest, make sure the fear is a 0-2.  Then proceed slowly to see how the receiver handles the session.   If the receiver can handle a small amount of stimulation and release without a healing crisis that seems damaging, continue to slowly increase what you facilitate in treatment. 

There are other indicators to help ascertain whether you can move ahead with treatment.  Is there ample movement (at least Phase I & II motions), meridian flow, and chakra activity?  Is the client supporting the process of transformation through diet, lifestyle choices, and/or therapy?  These things make it more possible to reintegrate the previously compressed energy into the whole system.  We do not want released life force to reinvigorate the same cancer pattern it participated in previously.  Initiating too much movement too quickly can create more illness if there is not adequate space for it to redistribute.  Indications of this could be increase of symptoms, more fatigue, and/or emotional instability that lasts for more than a few days.  Keeping attention to motion in the body during treatment is a key factor in knowing how to proceed.  If motion is introducing with ease back into the system, and the client can integrate the changes, keep proceeding slowly.  


Shiatsu Shin Tai Practitioners are Life Force Recyclers

If someone asks for treatment, they are asking us to be a part of their journey.  We want to deliver assistance if we are able.  Sometimes we might be nervous about it - we don't want that kind of responsibility and would rather let someone else do it.  'But if not now, when?' we can ask ourselves at those moments.  We trained and studied so that we could bring our unique strengths into affecting the life force in not only individuals, but our whole human family and the vitality of the earth.  If we do not bring our influence into play, other influences will prevail, influences that often disturb the flow of chi within us and within our universe.  Shiatsu Shin Tai practitioners can free and amplify the flow of life force in a very beneficial way.  They are trained life force recyclers!  

Cancer is a disease of suppression and friction.  Life force has been suppressed due to physical, environmental, emotional, and/or psychological restriction.  The energy is frustrated, acting out, and struggling to survive.  Also, one part of a person has a deep need to transform, but there is a conditioned aspect that will not allow it.  These two opposing forces create friction in the system.  The energy that wants to change is in direct opposition to forces that are not allowing it to act.  This builds up more and more friction, which then creates a disintegrating reaction that manifests as the deterioration component of cancer.  


Treatments Encourage Cellular Cooperation

Opening up the flow of life force in the body is very important in freeing these restricted energies.  As the information system becomes less distorted by stress compressions, conflicting aspects of a person's psyche become more aligned and begin to function in a more cooperative manner.  This lessens the friction, and thus the deteriorating reaction.  The life force can be recycled back into circulation with care and skill, instead of simply being annihilated with chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.  In other words, instead of 'banishing' or 'punishing' the cancerous cells, we listen to them, give them clear boundaries, and help them to engage again in their surroundings without causing harm.  

In order to understand this dynamic, let's compare it to something more familiar.  Imagine a family involved in a major conflict.  As different members acts out and expresses their viewpoints, there are power struggles, arguing, emotional acting out and combativeness.  Usually there are one or two members who have become destructive and are engaging in abusive or addictive behaviors.  These patterns and behavior have developed over time and usually reflect disfunction in which the whole family has been participating.  

This is similar to what is going on in the body when cancer is active.  Some of the cells are acting destructively because they can not find another way to express themselves, to be themselves.  Chemotherapy or surgery is like removing the member(s) of the family that are the most destructive.  The rest of the family will feel this 'cutting out' of an important and vibrant part of their life.  It will have long term consequences if no effort is made to learn new behaviors, one of them being that the pattern will often begin to express itself again in a slightly altered version.  This method of 'treatment' can save a family from full deterioration until they can get more help.  

Now imagine this family instead getting skilled guidance at communication, emotional awareness and group dynamics.  They gradually learn how to come into more understanding and alignment.  All members participate together in growing towards more functional and life-supporting behaviors.  Shin Tai treatments support this kind of cooperative healing process in the body.  Practitioners survey the body for restricted life force, help it to release and redistribute, and coax the systems of the body into more functional alignments.  And just like psychotherapy, it requires a willingness to try new things, take responsibility, and the cultivation of patience in order to experience the process of transformation and healing.


Your Job is to Pay Attention

Having the skills to facilitate the flow of life force is a big responsibility .  It is very important to be aware and continually check in with oneself on technique, response, physiology, and intuition.  Practitioners are facilitating the flow of life force back into a system that is in a serious crisis.  They can affect the situation deeply and need to be as clear as possible. 

It is important to identify uncertainty, fear and/or insecurity in yourself as a practitioner.  It is normal to have this sometimes at a low level.  It can indicate that you are paying attention, noticing the complexity of the human body, and aware of varied dimensions of healing.  This is different from a deep seated uncertainly or fear regarding proceeding in treatments with a client.  If you have a strong feeling NOT to work with someone, and/or a strong fear that you do not know enough or might hurt them with treatments, then do not treat them.  


As a practitioner, one of your main jobs is to pay attention.  Notice tension.  In yourself, in your client's body.  Notice lack of movement, notice movement as it is recovered.  How does your receiver respond?  How do you respond?  Pay attention.  Your alert yet relaxed attention will serve your receiver and you well.  It will help guide you in your treatments so that you can facilitate the expression of life force, even in complex situations.  The skills you have cultivated for years will serve to enhance a harmonious flow of energy in your clients, yourself and our planetary community.  


To Sum Things Up

Here are some main guidelines when working with people who are very ill:

  • Do less.  Work more slowly.
  • Encourage release, reintegration, cooperation and alignment in the body.
  • Balance the receiver's need for change with their capacity to change.  
  • Pay attention and adjust your methods accordingly.  

We welcome your questions and comments below.

A Unique Approach to Getting More Clients

Getting More Clients:  Work From the Inside Out

When we want to have more clients for our bodywork business, we usually address the issue by taking actions such as improving services, emails, websites, webinars, events, ads, etc.  Although these things are of course valuable to work with, there is a another approach that can help anyone get more clients immediately.  It is more in alignment with the natural, hands-on approach that many bodyworkers prefer.  And it is free, simple, and enjoyable!  You can work internally to change the external reality of how many clients you have.  By generating more energy, balance, and alignment in your body, you will naturally attract not only more clients, but also more ideal clients.

This is a practical and efficient way to address the situation, and will also improve the quality of everything else that you are involved with in your daily life.  We need to be reminded of it often, so that we take a little time and a little energy to focus our sometimes limited resources in the most potent direction.  So if you want more clients, make sure to take a few minutes improve your physical, emotional, mental, and vibrational health.  


Your Body is Your Website

We all have a body and it is our primary communications 'device.'  It broadcasts a frequency that is heard (usually unconsciously) by people near and far from us.  As bodyworkers, working on our own health is often second nature to us;  you probably have a variety of information and tools that you have used over the years.  But anyone can work with their own body in a simple way and quickly get an increase in clients.

Your body is your website to the world.  The vibrations that you emanate are a 24/7 livestream  of webinars/emails/ads that can broadcast your most unique and valuable information.  It's much more effective than a facebook ad and is quite frankly, more enjoyable to spend an hour setting up!  


Send Out a Vibrational Invite

So if you want more clients (all the time, or maybe just this week or today), spend 5-60 minutes exercising (whatever form attracts you the most).  Then follow it up with some quiet sitting time;  this will relax and expand your energy system.   Do some proprioceptive exercise if you know how - it is perfect for this!  Lastly, make sure to take a moment (or many moments) to send out a vibrational invite to any clients who could benefit from your services.  Think of it as a t-mail (telepathic mail) that lets clients know they are welcome and you are ready to serve them. 



Anyone can do this in simple way.  Like any other skill, it can also be developed to complex levels.  But a simple short exercise/meditation session will also have an effect.  Just the intention to use your own increased vitality to attract new clients will bear fruit, often immediately.  We have literally had the experience, many times, of having the phone ring WHILE we are doing this. 


Take it Up a Notch

If you want to take this up a notch, get a treatment yourself.  It will release some stress, create more alignment physically and vibrationally, and boost your vitality.  Even if you don't feel like you have the money or time for it, make it happen.  More money and time will roll in soon when you are more balanced and strong.  Plus, you get to support another bodyworker, spread your wealth around, and show the universe that you believe in the power of bodywork.  

Improve your 'advertising' even more by eating some high quality organic food that suits what your body needs right now.  It will improve your blood quality and thus your magnetism.  Even one good meal increases your life force and ability to help others.  Commit to a day or a week of better quality food and watch your results amplify.  


A New Kind of 'Advertising'

Many people don't want to spend much time on the computer and working with all the technology in order to promote their business.  Especially bodyworkers.  We are notorious for avoiding making a website, doing any kind of marketing, and dealing with all the different social media outlets.  It is not just because these dimensions of interaction are not the most aligned with what shiatsu shin tai is all about, although that has truth for sure.  It is also because there are actually more cutting edge and efficient ways to connect with others that are more in alignment with our biology.  

These methods increase health, rather than deteriorate it.  Combining them with technology is a great way to interface with the world we presently live in while respecting our inner desires to connect in new ways with the people who may benefit from what we have to offer.

Tips for Bodyworkers

When giving hands-on help to those in need, there are a few key points that can make everything you do more effective and safe.  Each of these things could be a whole course in and of themselves.  In fact, in Shiatsu Shin Tai classes we cover them quite extensively.  For now, we will touch on them briefly in order to help improve the quality of your work.


1.  Never Force

Always use pressure and movement that is within the receiver's comfort zone.  The goal is to gently encourage the body into new ranges of mobility and freedom.  A receiver may feel slight discomfort at certain points of the treatment, but it should be a 'good pain,' not an 'I can't wait until this is over' pain.




A good way to go about this is to go into each technique as far as is easy, and then take it just a little farther.  If you notice your receiver clenching their body, tightening the whole area you are working on, or holding their breath, you are using too much force.  As you do a technique, the area you are working with may soften or increase in flexibility.  At that point you can take the technique a bit further, always staying within the receiver's comfort zone.


2. Use Proper Body Positioning

When doing treatments, using your body properly is of utmost importance.  In shiatsu, practitioners are trained to move and apply technique always coming from their hara.




Hara is a Japanese word that has many layers of meaning.  Anatomically it refers to the abdominal region of the body, or our center of gravity.  But hara can also extend to mean life quality.  Hara is a central theme in the thought process and way of life in China and Japan.  Whether it is shiatsu, martial arts, flower arranging, noh dancing, or any activity, the origin of action is in the hara.

When practicing the techniques in this course with your family, friends and clients, it is important to have an awareness of your hara as you are working.  You can begin on your own to practice moving from your hara, by keeping some focus on your center of gravity and your hip joints.  Allow your belly to relax and settle down into your pelvic structure as you work.  This will help you be comfortable and treat with power, without exerting much physical effort.  

Watching the demonstrations in our videos and courses will give you enough information to begin to cultivate an awareness of moving from your hara.


3. Go Slower with Children, the Elderly & the Sick

We can do bodywork with children and the elderly, and with people who are in a weakened condition.  But there is an important difference to be made: always treat with LESS pressure and LESS movement.  If someone's system is not fully developed (a baby through the late teen years) or in a weakened state (an elderly person who is not in vibrant health or someone who is ill), we want to introduce change more slowly.  The idea is to stimulate an amount of movement and energy flow that the receiver's system can handle with ease.


When motion and energy are stimulated in the body, toxins that have been compressed are released.  These toxins can be chemical, emotional and psychological.  The physical toxins need to be flushed out of the system through the bloodstream, skin, intestines, and/or kidneys.  The emotional and psychological 'toxins' or stresses need to release through the web of a person's emotional landscape and belief structure.  If too much toxicity and stress is released at one time, it can become bogged down and cause sickness, discomfort and excessive emotional turmoil.  We want to make sure not to give a very young, very old, or a weakened system too much to handle at one time.

So pay attention to who you are treating. If they are very young or old, or in a weakened state, go slower.  Work with less pressure. Treat for a shorter period of time. If the technique says 'do three times', do it one or two times.  The basic rule of thumb is that if you don't force, the body will release what it can handle.  If you force, you may stimulate too much change at one time.  Sometimes there will be some discomfort after a treatment.  But we are looking to not overwhelm the system with too much change at one time.


4.  Tools of the Trade:  Be Creative

You will see that Saul usually works on a futon when demonstrating techniques in the online courses.  He also uses something called the BodyCushion, a set of cushions designed to give the receiver maximum support.  These things are useful, but you do not need these things to give a great treatment. 



If you are already a professional bodyworker, you most likely have a massage table or futon, plus a variety of bolsters and cushions handy for positioning.  If you don’t have these things, don’t be afraid to be creative.  Your receiver can lie on some blankets on the floor or on a bed.  When I was starting out, I even practiced on people on my dining room table!  A couple of sleeping bags made it a great surface to use.  You can also use rolled up blankets or pillows to help provide support when needed.  Work with what you have to make your receiver as comfortable as possible.  

Note:  When working with a receiver in prone position (face down/lying on the stomach), it is important to make sure their neck does not get stiff from being turned to the side. If a receiver is uncomfortable lying with their head turned to one side, put a small pillow or rolled up towel underneath the shoulder on the side to which their head is turned. This relieves some pressure in the neck and makes them more comfortable.

Shiatsu Shin Tai: A Natural Prevention for Orthodontics

Shin Tai: A Natural Prevention of Orthodontics

Shiatsu Shin Tai treatments can be a natural prevention of orthodontics in adolescents.  There are several ways that shin tai techniques can change patterns of restriction and misalignment in the whole body, and also specifically in the jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

First of all, stress patterns in the meninges and soft tissue system exert force throughout the body.  This often creates compression and asymmetries in the cranial bones.  This can lead to a cramped palate, unbalanced movement of the maxilla, and disfunction of the TMJ, all of which can be reasons to recommend orthodontic intervention.

Also, there are correspondences between the hip structure and some of the cranial bones - the mandible, maxilla, occiput, temporals, and sphenoid bone in particular (see Secrets of the Skeleton by Dr. Mees for wonderful photos that illustrate this).  As puberty unfolds, compressive forces in the pelvic region due to different physical and emotional stresses can amplify, creating a mirror of tension patterns up in the cranium.

The 8 year old girl (Ana) in this video was told she would probably need braces soon in order to make more space for her adult teeth.  To try and prevent this, her mother is going to bring her for a series of treatments.  We have had good success with this approach in the past.  Even two of our own children were able to avoid orthodontic work that had been deemed necessary!


What kind of treatment strategy works best?

The treatment in this video shows a series of central channel releases, and then specific work on some of the cranial bones.  More treatment will be needed.  An optimal schedule would be 3-5 sessions within a 2 week period, and then once a week for a few weeks.

The cost and effort needed to get a series of shin tai treatments is MUCH less than getting braces.  Many people are not programmed to think of it in this way, so it is a good idea to offer this information so that parents can make an educated decision of where to invest their time and money.  Even if an adolescent still needs orthodontics after a series of treatments, there is a very good chance that treatments will lessen the time the braces are on, and the degree of change that will be needed.

Client feedback is important!

Interesting to note that near the end of this session (around 20:20) Ana tells Saul her mouth feels "relaxed, and not so cramped as it always does."  Already she could feel a difference, even though she wasn't told specifically what the treatment was for.  She also mentions that when she wakes up she feels aching in her body, especially her ankles.  The ankles are a reflex area for the pelvis;  let's see if freeing up stress patterns in her pelvic structure help to relieve this aching in her ankles.

Other things to observe in this video are different motions and phases of motion that show up during the treatment.  The expanded frequencies in the room (atmosphere shift - a Phase III indication) become quite pronounced several times, and this comes through on the video.  After the treatment Ana did not want to leave and proceeded to snuggle up on the BodyCushion for quite awhile while her sister received some bodywork.

Identifying specific motions, and also really feeling the general environment of Ana's system and the room during the video is a wonderful way to improve your skills as a practitioner.

Shiatsu Shin Tai Treatments for Clarity & Change

Many times when people receive Shin Tai bodywork, they want to know more about the process of change and healing that are initiated.  This is great, because the more understanding someone has about it, the more the effects of the treatments are amplified.  Please use this article for yourself as well as sharing it with your clients.  

All the best,

Saul Goodman 

What do Shiatsu Shin Tai treatments do?

Shiatsu Shin tai treatments focus on restoring the flow and circulation of life force. When life force does not circulate well, the body gives delayed, past time information. This makes it difficult to see what is going on in the present, and clouds our ability to respond appropriately to current events.  Treatments help to free the information system, and enable one to function more in real time.

Receiving treatments on a regular basis clears the information system at a deeper level.  It keeps our inner guidance system on track, while freeing it from inaccurate past time chatter.  Projects, goals and relationships are empowered by the real-time information provided by a clear system.


How often should someone get treatments?

In order to maintain ongoing, real-time clarity, getting 1 to 3 Shiatsu Shin Tai treatments a month is optimal. The frequency also depends on the life demands during the current time period.

Can treatments facilitate deep change?

Treatments can facilitate deep change and transformation of unproductive life patterns - patterns that undermine health, well being and the ability to experience happiness.  Change on this level has great rewards, but at the same time can present many challenges.  We have to be willing to go underneath the surface to address beliefs and behaviors that we don’t see or are not willing to consider.

It is like trying to fix up a distressed house. We can’t just paint the outside and rearrange the furniture to make it a healthy living space.  Approached in this way, the house will continue to deteriorate and provide less and less support for our life. It will continue to take more of our energy trying to keep up with the negative results of disrepair.

structural repair for deep healing - house
structural repair for deep healing - house

To get real results, it is essential to get the functional systems like electrical and plumbing back into good working order so that the house can provide a healthy, nurturing environment. The foundation of the house needs to be addressed as well, so that there is structural integrity to insure long term stability.

The quality of life change that many coming for treatments are seeking requires a reorientation of what our own “inner-formation system” provides on a moment to moment basis. Treatments that liberate our inner guidance, so that it can deliver real time information and perception, greatly enable this kind of paradigm shift. The results can be blissful and the challenges many.

What indicates that deep change is underway?

  • the enthusiasm to engage is recovered
  • there is more willingness to participate
  • one feels more relaxed
  • your body works better
  • what you want to do, and the priorities for doing it, become clear
  • choices you make are based on what is healthy, functional and in alignment with your life direction
  • you start to experience more ease in life events

Challenges that can come with deep change:

  • Deep change can reveal what we don’t want to see about our self and our beliefs.
  • Sometimes the first signs of change come in small degrees and are indirect.
  • Often the initial indications of change can feel unrelated or insignificant to the main issues.
  • We want to stop treatments when difficult, self-sabotaging feelings come to the surface.
  • Being in real time causes us to be relentlessly honest with ourselves and others.
  • We may transfer negative perceptions and feelings onto the practitioner that is facilitating this process.
  • We may need to distance ourself from people, situations, and activities that contribute to negative feelings and behaviors.
  • We create reasons for dropping out of the treatment process, such as having no time, something else came up, not enough money, conflicting work schedule etc.

It is a good idea for practitioners to educate their clients about some of these possible challenges.  This helps clients to recognize them more easily, understand the process of healing, and gain the will to persevere through the challenges.

Treatment Frequency for Life Quality Change

A series of 10- 20 treatments are recommended to initiate deep life quality change.  Treatments are received one or two times a week .  After a short break of 3 to 6 weeks, another series of 10 treatments is recommended.

Once these sessions are completed, treatments 1-2 times a month are optimal to help stay in real-time. The frequency of course also depends on current life circumstances.

Healthy Eating healthy meal
Healthy Eating healthy meal

Clients who want to experience this in-depth treatment process are also asked to participate with homework that revolves around various types of exercise, activities and basic nutritional changes.

Participants are required to make a commitment of time and energy.  This kind of personal investment help assure that the process leads to an expanded life experience in many aspects: creativity, work, relationships, prosperity, health, and life direction to name a few.

It has been quite rewarding to work with people who decide to engage in a treatment strategy like this.  The dynamic life changes that occur are inspiring and enjoyable for both the practitioner and the receiver!

For information, cost & scheduling, please contact:

Saul Goodman at or (267) 372-1644

Lynn Goodman at or (267) 347-2290

Magazine Roller Adjustment: A Shiatsu Shin Tai Structural Technique

The following video was taken during a Shiatsu Shin Tai Structure course given in Doylestown, PA, USA in February of 2015.  Please note that we do NOT recommend doing this technique unless you have received instruction in class first.  This video is meant to be a review and accompaniment to hands-on instruction!

The Magazine Roller Technique

The Magazine Roller Adjustment is a technique sometimes used near the end of a Shin Tai treatment.  It helps to bring more motion and alignment into the upper thoracic region.  A practitioner uses the technique only after there is a good amount of space and motion in the system (regular phase II and/or phase III motions).

To do this technique you will need to get two magazines that are the same size.  Then roll each one tightly into a column.  Using packing tape or duct tape, wrap each one with the tape so that they are covered and secure.

You will need someone else to help you get the tape wrapped around each magazine while it is held in place.  Magazines of about 180-190 pp are usually the right thickness to make rollers that are about 2" in diameter.  Once you have the rollers made, keep them in your treatment room.  They will last throughout your bodywork career;  a very functional, simple, economical tool to perform a very effective technique!

Introduce Motion & Space First

It is better to prepare the body well before doing this technique.  In Shin Tai we create space and motion before any kind of structural work, so that the physical body can integrate changes with ease.  Introducing more alignment in this way has the advantage of partially using the receiver's own inner force to make the adjustment.

Instead of imposing compression from the outside to move the structure, the practitioner first amplifies the receiver's motion and inner force.  Then that is used to help introduce even more motion through a variety of techniques.

When the receiver's body has enough space and motion to use this technique, they need to come into supine position.  The practitioner will slide the magazine rollers underneath the body so that there is a roller on each side of the upper thoracic spinous processes.  The rollers will provide support along each side of the transverse processes that will encourage more alignment during the technique.

The Thrust

Sometimes the thoracic vertebrae will adjust without any actual impulse/thrust at the end of the set-up.  Listen to the tone and range of the cracking sound (if there is any) in order to understand the impact of the adjustment.  The more resonance and range (high to low tones) that you hear, the more complete the adjustment.

Take time after doing the technique to allow the receiver to be still and FEEL into their body.  Watch and observe any increased breath and motion.  Awareness on the part of the receiver and practitioner helps to amplify the effects of the adjustment and allow it to penetrate more deeply through the body.

Important Points to Remember

  1. only use if Phase II & III motions have been present during the session
  2. take out all the slack in the trajectory of force before applying the impulse
  3. have the receiver feel the responses in their body after the technique
  4. as a practitioner, make sure to observe any increased motion from the technique

Note:  Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notification of all videos.  If you search for 'Shin Tai International' in YouTube the channel will show up.  Once you click to it there is a subscribe button on the right under the header.  

Bon voyage Beverly ~

Beverly Pattenden Beverly Pattenden passed away in the presence of her family last week after a serious illness. She was an artist, shin tai practitioner, nature lover, and mother who was intensely passionate about life. We wanted to share this news with Shin Tai practitioners and teachers, as many people in that community knew and worked with her.

Beverly studied at the International School of Shiatsu in Doylestown, PA for many years. After beginning her own practice, she continued to come back to the school to assist Shin Tai courses. She gave her time, energy, and care to helping others learn about bodywork, healing, and other aspects of self-development. Her passionate interest in shin tai and light body activation provided support and encouragement that were welcome and appreciated.

Beverly handled the last 5 1/2 months with courage and strength. After receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer in late June, she addressed the situation with resolve. She researched and applied western and natural healing methods, and was fully engaged in the process of conscious healing. She realized that 'healing' could mean many things and might not lead to more life in her present form. We only heard her say positive things about her friends, family, doctors, and medical care.

Despite being in intense pain almost constantly and quite ill, she persevered in living and immersing herself in the truth of her situation. Many people were inspired by her spirit and grateful for the opportunity to share part of her journey. We wish her peace and ease into the next phase of her life.

Bon voyage Beverly! We will miss your ready smile, probing mind, quick wit, and infectious laughter ~


Her family will be planning a memorial service sometime in January. We will send out an announcement of the date so that you can attend if you choose.

Shin Tai Treatment - Advanced Central Channel

Each shiatsu shin tai treatment below was given during an Advanced Central Channel course given by Saul Goodman in November 2014. Central Channel is part of Shiatsu Shin Tai. It works to free the body of menningal stress patterns. As space and motion are recovered, the body begins to literally enter more fully into the present time continuum. Central Channel work has been referred to as the 'jazz' of bodywork due to its complexity, intelligence, and creativity.

The material in each shin tai treatment is geared for practitioners who have already done extensive study in Shiatsu Shin Tai, although the concepts could be helpful for any bodyworker to see.

Please leave comments and/or questions below.  We welcome your feedback!


Shiatsu Shin Tai is a comprehensive, precise, and highly effective healing touch therapy developed by Saul Goodman. It expands on traditional Shiatsu massage to create an evolutionary system of diagnosis and technique that stimulates the flow of life force in the body.