Bring in the new year - Learn Shiatsu's Introduction to shiatsu contains very important pointers that will help you learn the art of Shiatsu effectively; it also presents some important 'do's and don'ts' to consider when giving a Shiatsu treatment.

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Therefore it is strongly recommended that you read it carefully before proceeding to Part One.


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This section presents a short routine for self-treatment, which can also form a basic framework for more detailed treatment, to which you can add further work adapted from the Shiatsu sequence in Part One. The basic procedure is taken from the classical oriental art of self-development and Ki enhancement known as 'Do-In', which is traditionally used as a warm-up in martial arts and Shiatsu classes. The Ki channels are treated all over the body, mainly with pounding techniques, to enhance flow of energy and tone up the muscles. This sequence can also be used as a gentle exercise programme in its own right, or as a loosening-up preparation for any other exercise regime, such as yoga or aerobics.

Examples of Shiatsu technique that can be readily adapted for self-treatment and worked into the Do-In routine follow:

The face and head
It is particularly easy to adapt Shiatsu for the face and head, and it is very soothing.
The shoulders
You can easily do self-massage and pressure-point work on yourself, by working on each shoulder with the opposite hand; resting the elbow in your palm as you do so. This position is shown, for Do-In, in step 3. Pressure can usually be applied more easily with the fingertips than with the thumbs.
The legs
Sitting on the floor is a good position for self-treatment of the legs. Sit on the right buttock, and bend both legs towards the left, with one slightly in front of the other; this position allows you to palm and then do point work to the inside and back of the right leg, and to the outside and front of the left leg. Then turn the legs the other way to complete the treatment. In this position, you can lean in with the upper body weight, focusing in the abdomen, having an active and a passive hand and keeping the working arm straight.
The arms
Access to the arms is straightforward, but since you cannot lay the treated arm on the floor, instead you can hold it against the body as a support. You can use thumb pressure on the upper and outer surfaces, and fingertip pressure on the less accessible areas.
The hands and feet
Treatment of your own hands and feet is much the same as treating someone else's. Sit with one leg straight out in front and the ankle of the other leg across the thigh; this gives easy access to the sole of the foot. To treat the top of that foot place it flat on the floor, drawing it close enough to reach easily.
Guidelines for the Do-In sequence
Keep your whole body relaxed during this sequence, particularly the part you are working on, and proceed in a lively manner. Breathe naturally and continuously throughout. Pound with a lightly-clenched fist, making sure the wrist is floppy; you can work quite vigorously in this way, without causing pain or bruising.
The direction of work enhances the overall pattern of Ki flow in the body - upwards on the front and the inner surfaces of the limbs, and downwards on the back and outer limb surfaces. The sequence starts with the head, then shoulders, proceeding to the arms, then back, buttocks and legs, to the abdomen and finally the chest. At this point you can go on to the detailed treatment of the face. At any point in the sequence, you can bring in the detailed palming and point work just described.
1. Rub your hands together vigorously, in front of you, for a few moments. You should cover the whole hand and the wrist as you do this, and continue until you feel energy in the hands. Energizing the hands in this way will enhance the effect on Ki flow in the body.
2. Standing up with your feet slightly apart, pound over the head, using either the fists always keeping the wrists floppy, or the flat of the hands if the head feels more delicate. Start at the front in the middle and work backwards, first in two lines over the centre of the head, then further out towards the sides of the head, and so on until you have covered the whole surface. Remember to allow the breath to flow in a continuous, natural pattern.
3. Support your right elbow with your left hand, tucking your left upper arm into your body, and pound vigorously on the muscles of the left shoulder with the right fist, remembering not to clench it too tightly and to keep the wrist floppy. Cover the whole area of the shoulder and up into the base of the neck. Continue pounding for about thirty seconds, or until the area feels loosened. Then swap arms and pound the right shoulder with the left fist, breathing all the time in a relaxed and continuous manner.
4. Holding your arm out in front of you with the palm facing downwards, pound along the upper surface of the arm, starting at the wrist and working up to the shoulder. Repeat at least three times. Then turn the arm over, so that the palm faces upwards, and pound along the inner surface of the arm, this time from the armpit down to the wrist. Again, repeat at least three times.
5. Pound down either side of the spine, from as high as you can reach behind your back, down on to the sacrum. Use the front of the fists - the thumb and curled forefinger. Alternate the fists in a continuous, rapid rhythm, remembering to keep the wrists floppy. Pound down the two sides three times. Doing this as a regular exercise, especially in the mornings, can help prevent straining the back during the day.
6. Pound very strongly all over the buttocks, again in a rapid, alternating rhythm, and again with the fronts of the fists. This exercise helps eliminate the stagnation of Ki which can build up in this area as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
7. Bend forward, keeping the legs slightly bent so that the muscles are not tensed and the knees are not locked. In this position, pound all the way down the backs and outsides of the legs from the buttocks to the ankles with the fronts of the fingers. Then pound up the fronts and insides of the legs from the ankles to the thighs. Remember not to clench the fist and keep the wrist floppy whilst pounding. Repeat this procedure another two times.
8. Massage the abdomen. Starting in the lower right region, between the pubic bone and the corner of the pelvis, place one hand on top of the other; press in strongly, and then move the hands round the abdominal cavity, in a clockwise circle centred on the navel. Do this at least three times. This exercise is not only helpful for the intestines, but also extremely calming and soothing.
9. Move your legs further apart. As you breathe in, stretch out the arms, expand the chest, and rise up on to your toes; have the feeling of opening up the whole of the front of the body. As you breathe out, let your shoulders relax and drop, lower your heels on to the floor and pound strongly all over the upper chest. This activates Ki in the whole body, and is good for waking up the system in the morning. It also helps move local energy blockages, trapped emotion or congestion in the chest. If you wish, you can add internal vibration by voicing a loud 'Aaaah' sound on each out-breath. Repeat the whole exercise three times in all.
10. Rub the cheeks vigorously with alternating palm action. This particularly stimulates the lungs and breathing. It makes a good completion to the above sequence, or can act as a lead-in into the facial sequence below.

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