by Alison Lane
reprinted from Kiai Aikido Ki Society Australia Newsletter pp11 (3), 1998
The art of Kiatsu is taught in many Ki Society dojos, but is seen by many students as less important than the more dynamic aspects of the art, such as techniques and ukemi.
However, Kiatsu (pressing with Ki) is an important healing art, and one which can be applied to daily life even more frequently than most other aspects....after all how often do you find yourself throwing other people or yourself around when you get home from the dojo? Far more likely is that you will arrive home feeling great only to find your partner, child, or whoever is suffering from a headache or some other minor ailment. Rather than just feeling smug about your own good health and fitness, you can put your skills in Ki extension to good use, and do some valu- able training in the process.
The basic principles of Kiatsu therapy as established by Koichi Tohei Sensei are as follows:
1. Extend Ki from the one point in the lower abdomen. 2. Do not let tension accumulate in the body
(make sure you are relaxed).
3. Press perpendicularly towards the centre of the muscle without forcing.
4. Focus Ki continuously and precisely at the fingertips. 5. Concentrate on lines, rather than the points.
In practice, Kiatsu therapy is as instinctive as any other massage therapy. The lines referred to are the same as those usually concentrated on in massage, and by focusing your attention on what you are doing it be- comes quite easy to feel the texture of the cords of muscle and tendons.
As you do this you can easily identify any abnormalities such tension or “knotting” of the muscles and focus your Ki extension on these spots. While there are many finer technical points to the art of Kiatsu, just as there are with all Aikido techniques, understanding and application of the basic principles is enough to provide someone with relief from pain and assist their healing. It is also incredibly relaxing and therapeutic for both the receiver and the giver. And just like Aikido, the more you practice Kiatsu the better you get. So give it a go, you don’t have to be an expert, you just have to care enough to try!