Motion & Life Force
In Shiatsu Shin Tai bodywork, we use motion as a main indicator of life force in the body. Motion becomes both a diagnostic tool, and a guideline for what techniques to use and how best to apply them. As motion is restored, the receiver’s inner power and healing capacity is also restored. Shizuto Masunaga himself said that motion = life.
As certain specific motions are recovered through treatment, certain things can be predicted in the life sphere. These changes usually occur over time after a course of treatments. Some examples of specific motions coming back into the body and their subsequent effects are:
lateral motion coming back to the ribcage = person feels less trapped in certain situations
pelvis lifts and tilts during breath cycle = hormonal system improves, sexuality/identity become more clear
shoulder blades rolling = person can see both sides of things
paravertebral muscle contractions = person can stand in own power and is not so easily intimidated/swayed by others’ opinions
In a more general way, the more motion in a person’s body, the more motion/energy they will have in their life, and the more capacity they will have to make changes in their habits, attitudes and behaviors. As a practitioner, it can be very interesting and fulfilling to see movement changes occurring during treatment and then hear about the changes showing up in a client’s life.
You can begin to learn the shin tai method of evaluation of motion in our online video course “The Spine.” The material in this course can be integrated with any bodywork modality.
The Effect of Stress on Motion
When there is stress, there is compression or restriction in the body. This occurs during micro-stress events, such as being late for an appointment or having indigestion and also macro-stress events, like a divorce or an accident. The body often adapts and resolves stresses when they occur, but sometimes it does not fully resolve the restrictive impact (whether it be physical, emotional or psychological). Over time, this leads to a buildup of compressive forces in the body which restrict motion.
Most babies and young children have boundless energy. Their systems are relatively free of restrictive forces and their life force moves rather freely through their physical and energetic bodies. Because their bodies are less compressed, circulation of blood, nutrients, oxygen, etc. streams easily, along with the free flow of emotions and ideas.
As we grow up we lose some of our natural movement capacities due to unresolved stresses. This leads to a smaller frequency range of vibration within and around the body. The range of physical mobility decreases, as well as the range of emotional and psychological resilience and response. Perceptions become more limited and distorted.
Space = Motion = Life Force
Unresolved stress leads to compressive forces in the body and less spaciousness. The less space there is, the less motion there is. This applies in a general way, such as breathing that is more shallow, and in specific ways, such as a vertebra having restricted mobility. More unresolved stress = more restricted motion.
We interpret present time through a filter of misinformation that the compressed system is giving. Shin Tai focuses on restoring space and thus motion to the body. As stress patterns in the tissues and meninges release with treatments, this affects the physical condition, emotions, psychology, etc. This progression is not always logical, and depends on the state of the receiver and the practitioner. Deep change becomes possible as stress matrixes that held conditionings and beliefs soften, dissolve and morph into more functional, present-time possibilities.
3 Phases of Motion/Resonance
We define 3 phases of motion or resonance in order to have a framework to operate within during treatment.
Wave: there is a horizontal wave motion throughout the body with the breath cycle; stress matrixes are softening
Resonance: whole body is easing more deeply; stress matrixes are releasing from compressive patterns; outer body membranes are softening
Atmospheric shift: physical body and outer body synthesis; stress matrixes dissolve and previously trapped life force actively recirculates or re-enters system
Someone may move in and out of all these phases during a session. Sometimes it can be several treatments before a receiver goes deeply into Phase I. The goal is not to get right to Phase III and stay there, but instead to always be facilitating more motion in a natural, non-force manner, allowing life force to gradually flow more in the person’s body and subsequently, their life.
Below are a few of the specific micro-motions that indicate each phase. These categories are not exact; they are meant to serve as guideposts to have a general idea what phase of motion is in dominance at any time.
Pre-Phase I: non-wave vertical breathing
horizontal breathing motion
pelvic lift - vertical motion increases
shoulder blade motion
lateral rib expansion
pelvic lift and tilt
turtle motion of head
improvement of kyphosis
intermittent paravertebral contractions (not full spine)
atmosphere of room is resonating from the resonance in the receiver’s body
paravertebral contractions (whole spine)
independent sacral movement
lateral/medial heel motion
It takes practice and focus (and treatments for themselves!) for a practitioner to be able to perceive these motions. During classes we go over a full range of motions for each phase, what each one looks like, how to identify it, and techniques to facilitate them. The overall intention during treatment is to release compression, introduce space, and facilitate motion in order to reestablish full integrity throughout the system.
Central Channel & Motion
The Central Channel is a circuit of life force that moves along the pathway of the spinal cord. It directly affects the functioning of the meninges, the spine, the central nervous system, the Governing Vessel meridian, the chakras, and the craniosacral fluid. In Central Channel bodywork, practitioners learn how to identify and release specific stress patterns in the fascia of the spine (meninges) one layer at a time, beginning to untangle a maze of compression that has become a part of someone’s ‘story’ or life. Release of these meningal stress patterns helps to improve a myriad of physical problems along with increasing emotional, mental and spiritual health. Like other aspects of shin tai, the 3 phases of motion are a major part of diagnosis and treatment. This work is complex, creative and penetrating; many practitioners use it in conjunction with other modalities of bodywork.
Fascia is a 3D web of soft tissue throughout the body. The meninges is a special kind of fascia wrapped around the spinal cord. Stress patterns create restriction in the fascia/meninges, and the information flowing through the system becomes inaccurate and/or incomplete. These stress patterns become layered in the body over time, and they accumulate. The effects of these patterns radiate into the body in many ways, and create a myriad of symptoms that are indirectly associated with the original stress(es).
As Central Channel treatments progress, layers of stress compression are released and life force is reintegrated into the more spacious system. This begins to reflect out into the person’s life. It can take about 9 months - 2 years for the effects of a deep clearing to show up. The goal is to assist the receiver to release stress patterns in an integrated matter so that their projection/story changes naturally and without struggle. As the body becomes more clear of compressive forces and functioning in present time, the life becomes more clear and functional within present time.