Ideas, proposals, conversations and reflections on East-Asian Subtle Therapies in Society Today.
Hello, I am Paul.
Thank you for visiting this site. You are most welcome.
“In Touch” is my Blog on traditional subtle medicine and the integrated practices for body-mind health originating in China and Japan. It is a subject area in which I have have studied, practised and taught for forty years or more, and for which I still have great enthusiasm. (A summary of my formal CV can be found in this area, should you be interested). The site is in an initial phase, with information and articles related to my recent and current work. It is all an experimental process and there are still areas to develop. But it is fully interactive and I hope it will soon grow as a resource, beyond my own contributions. Meanwhile please browse, visit the blog page area and feel free to post your views, comments and questions . I am interested in your feedback.
Life is movement. To be vital and alive is to know movement through feeling. Through touch we communicate our most intimate feelings for life, and to be “in touch” is to communicate and to respond. Around this touch and in this movement we need space – breathing space, and stillness. That’s Yin and Yang, and it’s the essence of the simplest healing practices. This blog will focus on, or through, three areas of therapeutic practice: Shiatsu, Qigong, and Seiki. These are all recent developments in the long history of Eastern subtle medicine and healing. What’s the connection?
Shiatsu, a type of manual therapy from Japan, and Qigong, a Chinese system of exercise, are both well known (you probably wouldn’t be reading this if it were otherwise) but in both disciplines there are many different schools and styles. Far Eastern therapies and exercise methods generally reached the wider world in a piecemeal fashion. Practices such as Chinese Taiji and Qigong appeared at different times but have common principles. Tuina, a massage therapy sometimes linked to Qigong, is based on the same medical theory and philosophy as Chinese acupuncture. Likewise, Japanese manual therapies such as Anma, Anpuku, Shiatsu and Sotai have practical and philosophical connections with Aikido, a martial art, and different links to Reiki, widely known as a more ‘spiritual’ kind of healing. All of these really belong to the comprehensive, yet coherant body of healing practices traditionly known as “Daoyin” in China and “Do-in” in Japan.
Daoyin represents the very beginnings of medicine, the source of all traditional healing and the evolution of manual therapy over many centuries. All the Daoyin methods seek to induce harmony by following the interplay of Yin and Yang forces that operate throughout nature. That is to say there is a unifying element in the background – they take Yin-Yang harmony as a guiding principle for healing .
Treatments range from the most physical to the most refined – massage, mobilisations, finger pressure, palming , together with postural adjustments, physical movements, breathing exercises and subtle meditation practices. Many methods lend themselves as much to individual practice as to the treatment and guidance of others. Collectively, they have been regarded as the highest level of medicine for their simplicity and directness in leading people to a healthy self awareness, also encouraging mutual co-operation, responsibility and respect for Nature.
Because they are mainly learned and transmitted in such a direct, experiential way they constitute an “Inner Path” of healing, a path based on the conscious exploration of natural principles as a subjective process which one can follow, develop and share according to personal needs and disposition. Simple, subtle and safe, these practices are nonetheless powerfully transforming and, despite the countless forms and styles that abound, it is an open secret that really there are just a few essential principles by which their benefits are conveyed. It is the aim of this blog to clarify the guiding principles of Daoyin, or Do-in.
Seiki, meaning “life-movement harmony”, is an approach developed by Akinobu Kishi, with whom I studied for many years, that fosters the free and open exploration of these practices while acting as a gentle guide to the core disciplines and principles. Essentially it is a synthesis of Do-in healing methods aligned with Ki Culture and Japanese Hara Arts.
More detailed and specialised theories of Eastern medicine, allied with modern medical knowledge, give rise to different approaches and techniques for the treatment of specific illness and injury. Acupuncture, for example, requires precise and formal knowledge in its practice. But generally touch and movement therapies work on the body-mind in a gentle, holistic and unified way that involves a more personal and less technical exchange. It is true that Shiatsu can straddle both these tendencies, and that can be challenging (see blog diagram/map of traditional Eastern Medicine) but through simplificaion we can seek the unifying principles that support an optimum path to recovery, health and contentment.
My studies of Eastern Traditional Medicine, Daoyin Qigong, Shiatsu and Seiki contribute to my understanding of this interior healing path and its relationship to the many formal structures of medical knowledge and practice, traditional and modern, with which the therapeutic professions are concerned. Beside the education oriented toward the clinical model of specialised, individual private treatment, I believe we can promote a broader vision – education in the benefits of simple touch and movement practices for self-help, well-being and harmony in our local communities, guided by the perennial wisdom, East and West, for creative and inclusive social renewal.
That’s the inspiration; Do-in-touch.
Here is the space where I will place some of my written articles, short essays, workshop topics and current ideas, together with an agenda of currently planned workshops and courses.
Once again, thanks for your interest. Please visit the blog page, where your responses and queries are invited.