Learning Shiatsu via Video & Livestream

Recently we received an email from a shiatsu practitioner in Croatia about an online video class:

I have been disappointed that you have not visited Croatia for long time, as I was always inspired by your lectures. As a compensation for not being able to be part of your classes, I have decided to order this video material, and it was not a mistake. I would like to thank you for knowledge which you have been sharing with all of us; it is beyond magnificent to be part of this story.
— Drazen Matosic, Shiatsu Practitioner, Split, Croatia

Another long-time shin tai instructor, Celeste Rixey, was recently telling us how much she enjoyed taking the Light Body Activation course (in November 2018) with us via livestream. She was so surprised at how involved and connected she felt even though she was not present in-person. She had been quite resistant to the idea of participating livestream but it was the only way she could 'be' there and it ended up being a wonderful experience for her. We also really loved having 25+ people take part in this way from 7 different countries. Of course, none of it could have happened without the core group of in-person participants holding the space!

These are reminders to us of the value of using these ways to learn. We are willing and excited to expand into new ways to share bodywork and stay connected with you. That is why we are offering more opportunities this year to participate in classes via livestream video. Rather than saying no to those of you who kept asking, we have decided to say yes :) So instead of helping to teach this year, Lynn will be the full-time camera woman while I do all the instructing. We realize that video instruction is not a replacement for in-person training, but it is a wonderful opportunity to develop and deepen your skills. 

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So maybe you have been wanting to take the Neck Alignment class but can't get to the states, or want to review Central Channel, or want to add shin tai to your practice with Governing Vessel or Conception Vessel classes.... you now have the option to try out 'coming to class' via your phone or computer. I feel that the Light Body Activation classes are especially effective to attend via livestream. We welcome you to attend on your own or gather a small group to take a class together. Please click here to see to our schedule for upcoming classes.


Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters

Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters

FREE Video Course: 

Techniques of the Masters - The Back

This is an opportunity to try out our online classroom for free to expand your bodywork skills and your practice. The first section of the instructional video course Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters is now free of charge. Through a series of instructional videos, learn a sequence of traditional shiatsu techniques for working with the back. To enroll, please click on the link below:


To read more about the topic of learning shiatsu through video, please go to this past blog post: Learning Shiatsu via Video - Is it effective?


For information about our instructional video courses, please click on the links below:

Is the Central Channel the same as the Chong Mai?

Question from a practitioner:

What is the difference between the Central Channel and the Chong Mai? I have heard someone say that they are completely different things and someone else say that they are the same thing. I’m confused.

The Chong Mai and Central Channel that Saul Goodman refers to are different things. There are several extraordinary vessels of energy circulation described in Chinese medicine of which the Chong Mai is one. Central channel is a term used in many different systems and refers to the central path of energy through the body.

Saul describes the central channel as 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 Du Mai), the chakras, and the craniosacral fluid. So the central channel is different from the Chong Mai, even though some of the extraordinary vessels are within the central channel and central channel work will affect them. 

shin tai central channel treatment

shin tai central channel treatment

A component of Shin Tai work is specifically called Central Channel work. Practitioners identify and release patterns of stress along the central channel of the body using non-force contacts that release restriction in the meninges. Release of meningal stress patterns helps to improve a myriad of physical problems along with increasing emotional, mental and spiritual health.  As the Central Channel opens, all of the components along its pathway begin to function in a more synthesized way.

To really understand and work with the shin tai central channel material a practitioner needs to experience it in her/himself as well as work with it in others. Receiving central channel treatments facilitates a direct engagement with the central channel and how it affects the body/mind/spirit. Explanations and information about it, like what is presented in this article, can only approximate the truth of what the central channel is.

Don’t worry so much about specific definitions, and try not to take too much energy attempting to make other systems and interpretations make sense with each other. Directly experiencing the different parts of your own system and those with whom you work is really the only way to understand it in the way that you are wanting.


We welcome your feedback below. Please click the links below for more information about upcoming classes, including Central Channel:

The Bioplasmic Body & Proprioceptive Exercise

During a recent 'Governing Vessel & the Spine' course, we livestreamed a portion of a talk on the bioplasmic body and proprioceptive exercise. Because it was live, the video is informal and the sound quality is not great, but please enjoy the content. Make sure to turn up the volume on your device/computer as well as the video.

This material is integral to developing the sensitivity to do Shiatsu Shin Tai bodywork.

 
 

We welcome your comments and questions below.

Tips for Strengthening Your Digestive System: Part II

Learn more techniques to strengthen your digestive system. These are things that you can do for yourself  to increase health, balance and clarity. If you missed Part I of this series, it is below this video.

This was a livestream session, so is relatively informal. Enjoy!

 

 
 
 

To watch Part I, please click on the video below:

 
 
 
 

 

For more information about our online video course 'Hara: Treatment for the Digestive & Circulatory Systems', please click on the button below:

 

Facial Diagnosis - an introduction

Facial diagnosis is an important tool for a shiatsu practitioner. Learning how to read the face to diagnosis the condition of the organs can give valuable information about how to craft a client's treatment. This video is a short introduction to this healing art. It is part of an online shiatsu course called 'Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems.' For info & enrollment, please click on the button beneath the video.

 

 
 

This video is part of an online course called 'Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems.' For info & enrollment, please click on the link below:

Treatment of the Ileocecal Valve

The Ileocecal valve lies at the juncture of the small and large intestines. This valve often gets stuck open, disrupting movement of waste material into the large intestine. This technique helps to strengthen this area of the body and restore its proper function. 

This video is part of the online course called "Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems." For info & enrollment please go to the link:
Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems.

Many people today have digestive challenges, including constipation, bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, colitis, leaky gut, Crohn's or Celiac Disease, diabetes, gall stones, or cancer somewhere in the digestive tract. The techniques that you will learn in this course are powerful tools to address these ailments and assist clients in recovering digestive strength and balance. Some of them are original to this work, while others have a long tradition of use.
 

 
 
 

This video is part of the online course called "Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems." For info & enrollment please click on the button below:

 

The Digestive System and Conception Vessel

This video is an introduction to the online course 'Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems.'

Bodyworkers who can work skillfully with the digestive system offer tremendous benefits to their clients. Hara treatment is one of the most powerful ways to strengthen this area. To better understand the digestive system and its relationship to the Conception Vessel meridian, please click on the link below to watch a short video.

Working with the digestive system in a specific, therapeutic way improves digestion, strength and clarity and gives the receiver ability to develop a better blood quality. In the online video course called 'Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems' we give instruction in treating not only the organs, but the energetic factors which contribute to poor function of this area of the body. The series of techniques presented can be used as a complete protocol, or separately whenever they will be effective.

Many people today have digestive challenges, including obesity, constipation, bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, colitis, leaky gut, Crohn's or Celiac Disease, diabetes, gall stones, or cancer somewhere in the digestive tract. This course provides powerful, unique tools to assist them. Some of the techniques are original to this work, while others have a long tradition of use. Being able to offer a treatment like this provides tremendous benefits to clients who often do not have access to anything other than diet and/or medications to assist them in recovering digestive strength. 

 
 

 

For more info on the online course 'Hara: Treatment of the Digestive & Circulatory Systems' click the button below:

 

We welcome your comments & questions below.

Tips for Strengthening Your Digestive System: Part I

Learn some techniques to strengthen your digestive system. These are things that you can do for yourself immediately, including a never-before-taught style of hara Do-In that is extremely effective and easy to do.

This was a livestream session with Saul Goodman, so is a relatively informal video. Enjoy!

 
 
 

To watch Part II of this series, please click on the following link: Tips for Strengthening Your Digestive System Part II.


 
 

For more information about our online course "Hara: Treatment for the Digestive & Circulatory Systems"  click on the button 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.

 
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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We welcome your comments & questions below. Please make sure to sign up for our mailing list if you would like to receive articles, videos and course announcements about shiatsu bodywork.

Shiatsu Wrist Adjustment

Increase mobility & alignment in the wrist articulations.

This is a great technique for creating more alignment and mobility in the wrist articulations. There are 8 carpal bones in the wrist that lie between the radius and ulna and the metacarpals of the fingers. Many people experience stiffness and pain in this area of their body due to repetitive use or postural habits. 

The wrists also reflect the condition of the pelvic/hip region of the body and can indicate issues in the reproductive organs or lower bowels. This adjustment can stimulate more balance and chi flow to these related areas.

Please Note: It is NOT appropriate to use this technique on clients who are experiencing acute pain and inflammation in their wrists, or who feel pain upon the initial gentle rocking into the carpal area. 


We welcome your questions & comments below.

 

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The Spiritual Origin of Shiatsu


A Time for Spiritual Growth

Having just passed the Chinese New Year on 28 January, we have entered into the year of 1 Water according to a system of astrology called Nine Star Ki. The 1 Water Year is a good time to reconnect to the spiritual quality of the practitioner/ healer. It is a good time to develop the spiritual side of our practice by clearing our vibrational fields and expanding the non-linear, non-conceptual layers of our approach to treatments.

* Please see the footnote at the end of this article for more information on Nine Star Ki and the 1 Water Year.

 
 

True practitioners, by nature, are always seeking to grow and deepen their understanding of life force. By aligning with the particular energy of each yearly cycle, we are empowered in the journey of self development, social understanding and spiritual insight. Accelerated learning is available when we are conscious of the lessons each year provides and can realize the unique ways in which nature delivers these lessons to us.

Accelerated learning is available when we are conscious of the lessons that each year provides.

The Spiritual Growth of a Practitioner

Most practitioners these days have learned in a classroom which provides a methodical and informational way of education. Due to a global emergence of accreditation requirements and education regulations, it is possible to obtain certification by passing tests and fulfilling time requirements, but without the true inner development that was the essence of real training in former times.

Masters and teachers, particularly those rooted in the Japanese culture, traditionally delivered a more vibrational, spiritual training; an organic training that required surrender and mindfulness to the process. It was often crafted by the teacher to specifically challenge the physical, emotional and mental areas where the student needed to develop the most. The teacher monitored the student’s growth in character, their insight to life force and their awareness of life cycles.

Ultimately, the teacher was looking for the student’s understanding of the spiraling see-saw of Yin and Yang. Often the teacher may have seemed overly demanding and insensitive, however, the reality was just the opposite. The traditional teacher was actually honoring the student’s (or apprentice's) request to become a qualified practitioner. Even though some students might resent the demands of the training, in the end only those with clarity, commitment, and endurance emerged as practitioners with the teacher’s blessing and the capacity to be a true healers.

 

In the last years, the kind of training talked about above has become quite rare. Many students now want to put in the required hours and get a certificate, without the sweat and tears or personal transformation required to become a genuine healer. Often times this person doesn’t really succeed in creating a successful practice and eventually quits. They never realize that the healer's path is not only about helping others, but is also a journey into the depths of their own awareness and truth.

Absent the environment and teachers in todays world that can deliver such a training based on transformational achievement, and not just time requirements, the student/ seekers must challenge themselves to the rigors of discipline and sacrifice. They must find a way to exercise the body, mind and faculties of perception. They need to be persistent and develop the will to pick themselves up from hardship and failure. In the end, it is this honing of skills and submerging in the fire of life that forges the person who is able to do the work of healing.

And in the end, the true healer or teacher would never call his or her self by such a title....

 

The Spiritual Roots of Shiatsu

Many times over the years I have heard explanations about “what is shiatsu." Some of the definitions have been eclectic, recognizing that the ideas and techniques that create shiatsu are a compilation coming from many different backgrounds. Other definitions insist that there is a very narrow parameter to what shiatsu is, and, what it isn’t, and that it includes only certain techniques and can only be done wearing specific clothing on a particular surface.

Japanese culture has developed from a perception of vibration or energy.

To really understand Shiatsu we need to consider and reflect on the spiritual and cultural influences from which it emerged. The Japanese culture is one that has developed from a perception of vibration or energy. Japanese arts and sciences are rooted in the knowledge that energy precedes matter. All physical manifestations are seen as appearances representing an ever changing flow of energetic forces. We see this expressed throughout all levels of Japanese life. There are examples in architecture, medicine/ healing, Do-In, dancing, music. calligraphy, martial arts, flower arranging, gardening, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of Words

The study of Kotodama - the spirit of sound, words, and language- teaches that all manifestation first exists as vibration. Vibration becomes sound, and then manifests within various energetic and physical dimensions. Let’s take the word shiatsu for an example. On the most dense level it means finger or thumb pressure.

Shi means thumb. Tsu means pressure.

We can also look at the other ways that the vibration (or spirit) of these syllables infuses into our human experience.

shiatsu

shiatsu

Shi also becomes fire, plasma, astral, heart, consciousness, and thumb: In human development, the thumb appeared and made the hand our most basic tool. Simultaneously, as the thumb developed man stood up. This activated consciousness due to higher frequency energy moving through an erect spine. Man is also a sentient or emotional being (astral). The heart organ is a condensation of fire in the body and plasma is the basic substance of the cell (protoplasm) and the quality of the energy body (bio-plasm). All of these appearances and connections are from the vibration of shi, stepping down from the infinite into different planes of reality.

Tsu means pressure and can also indicate “the cycling of electromagnetic energy:" The cycling of electromagnetic energy (tsu) is the primitive expression of life force. This also creates the channels of energy called meridians. Meridians are found running through the earth, all of nature and and through the human body. Different degrees of pressure contain life force or ki and give it the possibility to become a multitude of inorganic and organic forms.

Connecting the two sounds is “a” or “ah” which is a vibration of origin or genesis.

SHI - A - TSU: Shi and tsu connected by “ah” describes the conditions and uniqueness in which vibration unfolds and creates the human as a physical, emotional, and spiritual being.

Another good example of word spirit is the Japanese term for the weather - tenki - which includes the sound “ki." Nowadays, most people using this word only recognize the superficial meaning of the sound. Tenki actually means the ki (force) of heaven.

The word hara is another interesting vibration. When it stands alone, the word represents the abdomen on a physical level. On the energetic level hara is the center of life force; it is a microcosm of the physical, emotional,and mental. It is the sum total of a person's life system and the environment in which they dwell. When the sound hara is combined with other sounds in the Japanese language, it indicates a description of life quality.

 

Hara: the essence of training

In all the art forms of the Japanese culture, awareness of hara is the starting point. In martial arts, noh dancing, calligraphy, flower arranging, archery, the sword, wrestling, exercise etc., action and creation are seen as originating from the hara. Training this awareness has always been the most important part of developing any skill in Japanese culture.

Shiatsu is included in this list. Hara is the essential aspect of the practice. It is not the techniques that makes shiatsu, but rather the use of the practitioner's hara. From the hara, the practitioner can feel the life force or ki of the client and move in a way that brings the flow of energy to balance.

So there are many styles, some very different from the others, but all are called shiatsu. Some use meridians, some use a whole body concept without meridians. Some styles focus on the treatment of the hara and some are more energetic. In the end, however, what makes it shiatsu is simply the practitioner using his or her hara with the intention to balance the receiver's ki.

 
 

The spirit of Shiatsu is rooted in the vibration of the word Shiatsu, and the values of the culture from which it emerged.

While in modern terms shiatsu may mean finger pressure, this a very dense or linear way to see the word. It could be that, consciously, the person that first used the word only meant it this literal way. At the same time, because of the deep heritage of vibrational and spiritual practices in the culture that gave birth to shiatsu, I would say that subconsciously the expanded spirit of the word is implied.

This is understood within that culture, but often times lost in translation. The word and its full impact can not be separated. It is no coincidence that these were the sounds chosen to describe the practice, influence and effect of Shi-a-tsu.

In the 38 years that I have practiced shiatsu I have met various practitioners from Japan that said they were practicing shiatsu. And even though what they were doing was quite different from each other, they all agreed on several beliefs. First, the importance of Hara in the training and practice. Second, all held a reverence for life force and the spirit behind the practice. It was like respect for an elder, or the honoring of higher powers in nature and the universe.


* Nine Star Ki & the 1 Water Year

Nine Star Ki is a system of astrology that is part of the Tao tradition practiced throughout China, Tibet and Japan. It is based on a nine year cycle that reflects cycles of influence that effect our planet as it orbits through the galaxy. As Earth's orientation changes, the electromagnetic effects from all the stars and planets changes as well. These influences affect everyone individually, and it can bring more ease and strength into your life if you tap into the energy of the year. 

Starting on 28 Jan 2017 we entered the 1 Water Year. This year is characterized by:

  • Spiritual growth
  • Developing flexibility
  • Connection to primal energy (Jing)
  • Reflection and listening

The energy of this year supports spiritual growth, flexibility, listening, and connection to other dimensions of ourselves than are normally accessible. Think of the qualities of water and that will activate more insight into the qualities of the water year. The organs associated with the water year are the kidneys and bladder. In Chinese medicine the kidneys are related (among other things) to our ancestral chi. This makes it a powerful time to connect with the roots of not only our own family, but any tradition or practice. We would like to invite you to make time/space this year to focus on your spiritual growth as a practitioner, so that you can experience more depth and fulfillment in your work and your life. 


Please leave comments &/or questions below. We welcome your feedback -

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)
 
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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.

healthaspects

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.

 
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Lumbar Flexion Part I: move chi in the lower back/hips/hara

Shiatsu is about moving chi. Traditional shiatsu techniques empower a practitioner to give effective treatments that create deep change.  To learn a great technique for stimulating chi in the lower back/hips/hara area, please click the play button below.  Part II & Part III of this technique are presented in the full online course Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters.  

 
 

New Online Shiatsu Course

This is one of the almost 40 techniques presented in the new online course "Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters."  Click below for more info:

 

We welcome your comments & questions below.

Learn a Traditional Shiatsu Technique: Chest Activator

Shiatsu is about moving chi. Traditional shiatsu techniques empower a practitioner to give effective treatments that create deep change.  To learn a great technique for stimulating chi in the chest/lung region, please click the play button below:

 
 
 

 New Online Shiatsu Course

This is one of the almost 40 techniques presented in the new online course Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters.Click below for more info:

If you are not quite sure if this course is for you, we offer a no-risk guarantee:  if you are not satisfied you can get a full refund within 30 days.  

 

We welcome your comments & questions below.

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.

The Original Spirit of Shiatsu

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. He took classes with Masunaga, Yamamoto, Kushi, Bo-In Lee and Ohashi.  As shiatsu has become more standardized in the last 25 years, much of the spirit & style of these original teachers has fallen out of use. 

He would like to share some of the things he learned in order to revive the spirit of this traditional shiatsu.  This will bring more vitality into your practice & your life!  Click the play button on the image below to watch a short video called The Original Spirit of Shiatsu:

 

 
 

For more info on our new video course "Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters" please click below:

 

Get ongoing resources about shiatsu by subscribing to our mailing list:

 

We welcome your comments and feedback below!

Keeping Inspired in Your Practice

Many bodywork practitioners struggle to stay inspired on a daily basis in their practice.  They might lose inspiration, get bored, and lack the discipline and direction to keep themselves motivated and engaged.  There are specific things you can do to address this issue.  We wanted to share them with you so that you get the most out of your classes, continue to grow as a bodyworker, and enjoy your work.  

But before saying anything further, here are some quick ideas if you have little time, energy or will to do much of anything.  These are for those emergency moments, when you need a boost but are too overwhelmed to fit much in:

  1. Crack open some of those books that are gathering dust in your treatment room and read something related to bodywork that motivates you.
  2. Watch a video from our YouTube channel or another bodywork video.
  3. While sitting or lying down, imagine that you are gathering energy into your physical body.  Take your thoughts, emotions, sensory perceptions....  and imagine that you press them into yourself.  Imagine sunlight and earth and ocean and press that into your body. 

And now, for some more involved ideas, there are a number of different approaches on different levels.  We have grouped them into three main categories:  Self-care, Integrating New Material, and Keeping Things Creative.  

Self Care

Pick one of these options and do it for at least 5 minutes before a treatment OR any time you feel scattered, uninspired or low energy:

  • Do-In, especially self-hara treatment
  • Proprioceptive exercise & light body activation work
  • Breathing, meditation, qi gong, yoga
  • Walk in nature
  • Have a cup of herbal tea or eat a quality meal;  this will get your blood more alkaline and immediately give you a boost

Maybe the most important thing that will keep you inspired in your practice is to realize that your practice is integrated with your own development.  It is constantly giving you opportunities to expand your understanding of yourself, your family, and cycles and patterns of life.  Recognizing what we get for our growth from giving treatments can help keep them interesting.  

On a practical level, various kinds of self-care/self-development exercises are integral to a good practice.  They help make our condition more in tune with what we are doing.  They help us to see more clearly what is needed during a treatment, and to convert our technique and information into a creative process during the work.  When we are in a 'creative' mode we feel better and things are more satisfying. 

 

Integrating New Material

Pick one of these options:

Granddaughter Ana after short spur-of-the-moment treatment one evening.  A few minutes of bodywork with family is a great way to practice new material.

Granddaughter Ana after short spur-of-the-moment treatment one evening.  A few minutes of bodywork with family is a great way to practice new material.

  • Choose 1 technique and use it with every client for a week
  • Do 5 full practice sessions this week using all the material from a course or protocol
  • Do at least 10 minutes of new material during each session you have this week
  • Get a family member,pet, or neighbor and practice on them for 10 minutes

To integrate material from the online courses (or other classes you have taken), it is important to be specific with yourself about practicing.  Determine how many sessions you want to sit down and work with the material.  Then make an appointment with yourself so that you outline how much time you want to spend on it and see it through.  There is always some work involved to maintain the quality of our practice.  It pays off in our own satisfaction when we give better quality treatments to our clients. 

For those of you who might not have much of a practice, do whatever amount of practicing feels right for you.  One example is to set up at least one session a week with a friend or family member and do that for a month.  If you set small, specific goals you will be more likely to stick to them, and not get overwhelmed with a huge, vague 'I've got to learn more shiatsu' goal.  

 

 

Keeping it Creative

One of the best ways to keep your practice creative is to let yourself make variations of techniques.  This leads to the discovery of new ideas and keeps your practice fresh.  When working, be aware of the condition of the client.  Notice how you can adjust the technique or even the protocol to be more appropriate in the moment.  

Being lazy and checking out is not easier, it makes things more difficult!  You will miss out on important information and miss out on opportunities to create what is most effective in each moment of a session.  Keep your eye out for a future article/video about the process of making variations to techniques.

 

 

It is Not Luxury to Take Care of Yourself - It is Part of Your Job!

Working on your own in a secluded treatment room is a practice in and of itself.  It is solely up to you to stay engaged and present during each treatment.  Most of us do not have a boss, we don't get reviewed, and don't have to answer to anyone else other than our clients.  It can be easy for the mind and heart to drift.  Maybe you think that the next session will be more interesting....  or that you will pay attention more once you can use a certain technique, or you finish doing the laundry, or go on a walk, or your client really needs you, etc. etc.  You get the picture.  We've all been there.   

Schedule a certain amount of time each month to work on these things that will keep your practice alive.  Taking care of your condition and honing technical skills is necessary to have a thriving practice that you find stimulating.  The great thing is that you probably enjoy doing most of these things!  But we think we should not take the time for them, that they are a luxury.  Well they aren't.  They are a necessary part of being an effective bodyworker who facilitates true transformation in their clients.  

 

We welcome your comments below.  

Please share any great tips you use to keep inspired!