Tohei Sensei has developed Kiatsu as a way for us to realize the oneness of mind and body and the healing power that is naturally ours. Rather than focusing on "points", kiatsu directs ki through "lines" or meridians that run throughout the entire body. By connecting with another person through ki, you fill their mind and body with plus energy, accelerating the healing process made possible by the ki of the Universe
Five principles for Kiatsu therapy:
- Extend ki from the one point in the lower abdomen.
- Do not let tension accumulate in the body.
- Press perpendicularly towards the centre of the muscle without forcing.
- Focus ki continuously and precisely at the fingertips.
- Concentrate on the lines, rather than the points.
Make contact with your thumb to a surface of your body, like the top of your thigh. Position your thumb so that it is perpendicular to that surface. This way, as you press, you will feel like you are softening the underlying muscle, without repositioning it. This is very important.
Use only the very tip of your thumb or fingers. Don't press with the pads of your fingers. Pressing with the tips will more effectively direct your pressure into the muscle, without moving the muscle around.
Incorrect thumb position. Correct thumb position.
When extending ki through your finger tips try visualising the energy pulsing out in ever
decreasing circles of energy or spiraling inwards by half, half, half etc...
When you do kiatsu, you should follow the lines of the body. This is different than acupressure, which activates certain points. With kiatsu, you generally start at a point on the body that doesn't hurt, then gradually move along the body (a finger width at a time) until you work through the affected area, and then continue beyond it.
Finding many of the lines in the body is quite intuitive - for example, the lines that follow the muscles in the arms, legs, or back - but some of them are not. To learn more about the specifics of where these lines are, talk to someone who has experience in kiatsu. Or, look for Tohei's Sensei's book - 'Kiatsu', with more detail on the body lines.
Basic Kiatsu Lines
Keep your one-point while doing Kiatsu.
This will help you press with the correct gentle feeling, rather than using strength. In his book Kiatsu, Tohei discusses how the one-point should feel, ensuring it steadily gets smaller and smaller. He also says, if you can imagine that fingers doing the kiatsu are getting smaller and smaller in a circular motion it can often helps to give you the correct feeling, and maintain concentration.
First, find a comfortable posture and position, so you can use the power of your one-point to help. If, for example you are working on someone's shoulders, have that person sit while you stand.
There are two good ways to develop your skills in kiatsu. First, try practicing on yourself. You don't even need to have an injury or a sore muscle. Just try pressing with your thumb or fingertips on, say, your thigh. Follow a line that runs from your hip down to your knee. Press for ten to fifteen seconds on one point, then move down a fingers width and repeat, until you've done the whole line. How does it feel in comparison to the other leg? Is it more relaxed now? Does it feel better? If so, you're probably using the correct feeling.
Another way to help develop your kiatsu skills is by doing it to someone who is already good at it. In that way they can then tell you if you are doing it correctly, and suggest any changes if needed.
Kiatsu allows you to help others, and can be very rewarding. To help determine whether you are doing kiatsu correctly is to ask them how it feels. When kiatsu is done correctly it should feel like an aikido technique. kiatsu can help you feel more focused have greater clarity and enjoy a sense of focused calmness and peacefulness.
Aikido training can be one of the best ways to develop the right feeling for kiatsu, but practicing kiatsu can also help you develop the right feeling for aikido as well.