The Practitioner-Client Relationship & the Phases of Motion

The Client-Practitioner Relationship

Do you ever wonder why you relate differently to each client that shows up in your treatment room? Of course, personalities (ours and theirs) play a big role, as well as circumstances, conditioning, expectations, etc. But there is another, rarely identified reason for why we vary our approach in working with each client: the phase of motion that is currently prominent in their body. In other words, the amount of life force flowing through someone’s system determines not only how we do bodywork with them, but how we relate to them. Most of the time this is done unconsciously; by doing it consciously we can interact in ways that promote effective treatments.

The 3 Phases of Motion & Treatment Approach

If you have studied Shin Tai work, you have heard about the ‘phases of motion’ or ‘phases of resonance’ that are broadly delineated as Phase I, II & III. Motion throughout the body reveals the internal life force and healing power that is flowing through someone’s system. We learn to identify specific motions that indicate restrictive forces are releasing and the life force that has been trapped is circulating more freely.

These motions can quite general, such as increased breath amplitude, or very specific, like lateral rib motion. They are broadly grouped into 3 categories, I, II & III. Identifying the dominant phase of motion at any time during a session becomes a guideline for how the practitioner applies technique.

The motion in the receiver’s body is an effective guide for how to work in order to give an effective, efficient session. For example, if there is ample motion in the thoracic/cervical spine, and ribcage, but little movement in the hip structure, the practitioner may work to mobilize and align the hip joints and sacrum so that motion/life force can distribute down through the pelvis and into the legs.

In our last article we mentioned that when there is less motion in the body, the practitioner needs to do more hands-on, physical techniques in order to introduce adjustments in the body. We are initiating change from the ‘outside - in.’ As movement increases, indicating release of compressive forces, the client’s own inner life force begins to do the ‘work’ of the treatment more. Now the practitioner gives less physical input. For example, a vertebral adjustment during Phase I motion requires more time and a deeper touch that one done during Phase II/III resonance.

Using motion in this way is quite unique in the bodywork world and one of the things that makes shin tai work so effective. Although being aware of motion in a general way is common, it is another thing to go into it with such detail and use it as a framework for how to proceed during treatment. This capacity of the practitioner to perceive motion in this way helps to amplify life force deep within the body and heightens the potential to introduce deep change. Applying this principle of identification and perception of motion to the client-practitioner relationship can increase efficiency and effectiveness in a similar way.

Motion & the Emotions

Dealing with client interactions before, during and after treatments can have quite a learning curve. Usually bodywork training focuses on theory and technique, without much education on how to relate to those who will show up in your treatment room. It can be one of the most challenging parts of doing treatments and one of the main factors in building a thriving practice. We would like to offer insight into using the phases of motion as a tool to better navigate interactions with clientele.

During pre-phase I/phase I motion, a person’s body is in a more restricted and dense state. The hara may feel like it is in separate ‘pieces,’ with some areas being tight and others very loose. The spine feels rigid with little wave motion into the head or down into the legs. When the body is in this condition, the emotional and psychological state is usually in a similar state expressed at these other levels: more separate and polarizing, rather than synthesized and functioning together.

Opinions might be strong and defensive. People and situations and the overall world view is seen in a polarized fashion with little room for open listening. Perceptions and beliefs tend to be more narrow. Because there is literally less space in the body, there is usually less ‘space’ in the emotions, beliefs and perceptions. As a practitioner, you can use this awareness to guide your choices in how to interact with the people who come to you so that you can work more effectively and enjoyably with them.

The Practitioner-Client Relationship…. or is it?

Phase I

Some clients will come to you with a list of symptoms and a litany of explanations and questions. They want a condition cured so that they can get on with their life. Perhaps they have a herniated disc in their lower back or menstrual issues or migraine headaches. The symptoms or diagnosed condition have the focus of their attention and are usually a large part of the conversation.

They relate to you like a traditional medical practitioner or doctor, wanting to be ‘fixed’ and then requesting a ‘prescription’ afterwards that will keep them well. They are in a painful place and really need assistance. They do not necessarily want to change any behaviors or lifestyle choices at this point. They see illness/pain as something that comes from outside themselves and that needs to be eradicated. There is little motion (of the type we define as Phase I-III) presently in their body. The short leg tends to stay on one side. This is a ‘Phase I’ client.

It is important to relate to this person as a client/patient as that is a framework that feels the most comfortable to them. Keep a professional attitude and firm boundaries. Make an appointment and call it a treatment. Speaking in terms of anatomy and western physiology will make more sense than going into a monologue about lung energy, the role of diet in reproductive health, or chakra balancing. Have them fill out an intake form and go over their health history briefly.

In other words, use your style of dialogue to connect with and open the door to treatment in the same way you use bodywork technique. Just like you will be using more mechanical technique, use more deliberate and focused language grounded in familiar terms. It is important that you direct or lead the dynamic in order to keep it moving. When they ask ‘When should I come back?’ give them a clear answer as to what you think will serve them best. If you say ‘Come when you think you need it’ they will most likely not make another appointment.

Phase II

People that show up in your treatment room with a degree of involvement in self-care regimens, such as exercise, meditation or whole foods cooking will most likely have understanding what bodywork can offer. They understand that it that can assist them in regaining balance and vitality and that it is a process. The mind/body/spirit connection is a familiar concept. They already have a measure of movement in their system and can move into Phase I & II motions during treatment. The short leg is sometimes switching back and forth during sessions. This is a ‘Phase II’ client.

The relationship with this person can be more of advisor-receiver. You can be more of a facilitator while they are a receptive participant. They are usually interested to hear some things about shiatsu diagnosis or nine star ki. They won’t be uncomfortable with the mention of energy and want to know more about how their body functions in ways they may not have heard before. In the same way that you apply technique with a lighter touch and less ‘input’ when there is Phase II movement in the body, you will most likely have less verbal dialogue and give less input. Listening becomes more dominant in your role, with your hands and your heart. No need to be the leader all the time here. If they ask you about the next appointment, give a general suggestion and encourage them to begin to listen to their own inner guidance as to when would be best for them to come again. Since their system is becoming more clear, they will be able to access more accurate information themselves.

Phase III

Working with someone who moves easily into Phase III resonance on a regular basis usually occurs with a client who you have been treating for a period of time, or with a fellow practitioner. At this point the relationship is becoming one of co-creators. You are collaborating on a shared venture of frequency expansion. You no longer even seem like separate people during treatment, but more like a synthesized energy field going on a journey to expand, explore and create. The short leg regular shifts back and forth and leg length check becomes implied rather than biomechanical. Little physical input is required to initiate adjustments in the system for stretches of a session. This is a ‘Phase III’ receiver.

When this person arrives for a session they often lay down without much preamble and leave afterwards without much need to talk. The atmosphere shift that occurs during treatment is affecting the way in which you relate, making verbal conversation (which is at its root more linear) less necessary or desirable. Information is exchanged at other levels much more effectively. Sometimes you may mention other consciousness fields or influences that are participating in the treatment. Alignments are occurring at higher vibrational levels, making certain experiences that used to seem extraordinary more commonplace. There is deep engagement in the process without extreme emotional responses or attachment.

The Phases are Dynamic

Of course, each person with whom we work is not always in one phase of resonance. They will expand and contract into different phases of motion as layers of compression release. This occurs within each session and also over longer periods of time. Being a bodywork practitioner necessitates a constant process of focus so that you can adjust how you relate with and treat the people who come to you. Before, during, and after sessions it is important (and enjoyable!) to bring awareness to what is happening and how to best proceed.

Identifying phases of motion both physically and emotionally/psychologically is not meant to be judgmental in a negative way. It allows us to move more clearly in how we relate to the people who come to us for bodywork and create a positive experience. It requires awareness and ongoing application. You will make ‘mistakes’ and have interactions that don’t go so well. You may realize at times that the way you handled a discussion led to a client going elsewhere. At a wider perspective, this is part of the process you are each involved in and the best thing to do is keep learning without getting down on yourself about it. As we work with others to free up life force in their bodies this will also affect and expand our life force, allowing an ongoing experience of learning and energy to unfold.


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

The Role of Motion in Shin Tai Bodywork

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:

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  • 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

stress

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.

 
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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.

  1. Wave: there is a horizontal wave motion throughout the body with the breath cycle; stress matrixes are softening

  2. Resonance: whole body is easing more deeply; stress matrixes are releasing from compressive patterns; outer body membranes are softening

  3. 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

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Phase I

  • wave motion

  • horizontal breathing motion

  • head tremble

  • pelvic lift - vertical motion increases

Phase II

  • shoulder blade motion

  • lateral rib expansion

  • pelvic lift and tilt 

  • turtle motion of head

  • improvement of kyphosis 

  • intermittent paravertebral contractions (not full spine)

Phase III  

  • 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.


Click the button below for information on the upcoming Central Channel course in Pipersville, PA. Participate in-person or via livestream video:


Learning Shiatsu Shin Tai via Video - Is it effective?

After almost 40 years of teaching, Saul has begun to offer some online video classes for the first time. Why now?

Shin Tai International launched its online teaching classroom in the spring of 2016, and many bodyworkers have taken advantage of getting some Shiatsu/Shin Tai training in this new way.  There were several factors that led to the creation of this online venture, and we thought it might be interesting for you to read a little about why and how we decided to do it.

After almost 40 years of traveling to teach Shiatsu/Shin Tai, Saul decided to stop. He wanted to spend more time at home to be near family and to delve into certain projects that require deep immersion. Then, the shiatsu school that he used to own and has taught at here in the states for a very long time began transitioning to another location. In the midst of these changes, people kept requesting classes with him and we had to keep saying no :(.  

LIve Class: Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters

LIve Class: Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters

Saul is still teaching some classes here in the states.  And many Shin Tai enthusiasts can go to live classes with other excellent instructors in the US and Europe.  But many of these wanna-be students can not get to where the classes are.  

I love Shin Tai and I love Shin Tai classes, even after attending almost every one Saul has done for over 20 years (I'm Lynn, Saul's wife). I know that this bodywork helps people experience more vitality, balance, and fulfillment. I know many other bodywork practitioners felt the same way. I wanted to find a way that could allow more people to learn shin tai, so that that they could benefit from its unique capacity to invigorate health and consciousness. But we had to find a way that did not involve traveling, and that would allow Saul to spend less time in the classroom and more time delving into the development of new material that has been gestating for awhile. Thus was born the online Shiatsu Shin Tai teaching classroom.  

 

Can Shiatsu Shin Tai be taught through videos?

The answer is yes.... and no. We had concerns that bodywork could not be taught through videos. That students had to be in a classroom live in order to feel, understand and learn this often challenging and subtle material. We thought that maybe without working with classmates in-person, participants might not be able to learn the unique techniques and evaluation skills that are necessary in order to do shiatsu shin tai. But people kept asking for classes, and Saul did not want to travel anymore..... so..... we decided to try it out.

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

So far the results have been beyond what we expected. Students who have enrolled in the courses are giving very positive feedback. Many seem to be surprised at how much they are getting from the videos and instructional materials. I myself have been almost shocked at how much I've learned during the countless hours editing all of the films. I simply did not expect that the powerful experience of live classes could transmit through the videos, but it does! And the fact that you can watch the videos over and over is a benefit you do NOT get when you take a class live.  

 

 


Let's go over some more of the pros and cons of live and video classes....

Video vs. Live Classes

There are advantages to learning both in-person and through video.  Below are some of the main points that we feel are most important.

Benefits of live classes include:

  • You get the benefit of giving treatments to people of different body types and conditions.

  • You get to experience different practitioners practicing on you, which is a powerful part of learning this work. Without experiencing the effects of the bodywork personally, you can not truly understand how it works.

  • In addition to that, receiving treatments helps your system become clear enough to expand your perceptual abilities so that you can use the techniques and theory in the most effective way.

  • You get live feedback and assistance as you are practicing.

Benefits of online learning include:

  • You get videos and lectures that you can watch again and again.

  • You have the benefit of learning directly from the developer of the work.

  • There are accompanying written materials that are not normally provided in the live classes.

  • Assistance is provided by way of an interactive comments section under each video and a private facebook group that shares experiences and questions.

  • Some people find it easier to focus in their own environment, without the distractions of other students.

Many people are choosing to combine doing the online work while they study with an instructor in-person. It is also common that students who have previously taken live courses enroll in the video modules to supplement their knowledge and skills. Massage and shiatsu therapists that have never studied with Saul are taking advantage of getting some training even though they have not studied Shiatsu Shin Tai with an instructor in-person. Some shin tai instructors and students have taken both live courses and the video modules. It really is a choice of what works for you logistically and what your learning style is. 

We recommend that serious Shin Tai students supplement the online video courses with live courses. To find other Shin Tai instructors, please go to:  http://www.shintaiinternational.com/teachers/.  

 

What online classes are available?

There are presently 6 online courses available.  Five of them are are shorter modules (equivalent to about a day of classroom work), while the class Shiatsu Techniques of the Masters is equivalent to a 3 day live class.  

Here is a sample from one of the online modules:

 

 Excerpt from Online Course called "The Spine"

 

Please click on the links below for detailed information about our instructional video courses:


Now people all over the world can learn some Shin Tai online. These courses are designed to help practitioners build thriving practices, and find more satisfaction and inspiration in their daily work.  If you are interested in learning more about the online classroom, please go to: http://shin-tai-international.teachable.com/course....