Fresh off the plane from Japan!  Here’s another post on one of the incredible continuing education experiences I had during my travels. I’m going to share a cool Sotai lesson I learned during a recent visit to Yokohama.  Sotai is a uniquely Japanese kind of bodywork. Although sotai is not a service we offer at the clinic it was incredibly cool to absorb everything from a female Sotai master!  While it’s totally different than Shiatsu (which I incorporate into my treatements), it’s still pretty neat and has a lot of curative value.

Sotai = funky Japanese physiotherapy

Sotai is a wacky little therapy that is vaguely similar to other movement based modalities.  Although I did study Sotai in College, it wasn’t extensive enough for me to go full force.  Shiatsu therapists often learn sotai on the side and incorporate some basic techniques or ideas.  Sotai consists of either therapist directed self-care exercises or straight-body work.

1.Directed self-care- consists of the therapist checking out your posture and then shows you how to do slow rehabilitative exercises.

In this video, Sotai master Fumi Kusaki demonstrates a forward bend technique to help my back tension.

2. Treatment- The second kind of Sotai is where you lie down, relax and  get a treatment as you would for any massage. In this quick video, I get to try out some of the interesting techniques Fumie teaches.

Sotai Benefits

  • Improves posture
  • Alleviates pain specifically in neck, spine and hips.

Field Trip- Kusaki Soatai Clinic- Yokohama, Japan.

I was lucky enough to get some training  at the The Kusaki Sotai Clinic in Yokohama. Fumie Kusaki is a sotai instructor. She has written a book, come out with a CD and has a home based clinic in Yokohama. My friend Hiroshi who owns Tokyo’s Sankei moxa supply store arranged a mini-workshopat Kusaki’s clinic and off we went! It was so cool to not only get a refresher in Sotai, but to also learn from a FEMALE master!


In order to be the BEST therapist I can be, the most relevant continuing education a therapist can get for themselves includes getting as many treatments from incredible healers as possible. The last 2 treatments from “masters” ranged from bad to horrible including the weird Masunaga clinic visit (see previous post) and another recent disappointing experience at the Kimura clinic in Tokyo (check out our Facebook page video and you’ll  get the idea.) Anyways, I was relieved to FINALLY learn something from a humble, lovely knowledgeable sensei.  PHEW!


#1 SOTAI tip for helping pain

I’m going to share the most important principal I’ve taken away from Sotai…

ALWAYS start with the unaffected side first when stretching or doing any kind of home-care exercise. Yes, it’s that simple. Check out which side hurts, feels stiffer and then do whatever you need to do on the side that feels good.  Easy right?

Sotai always stretches and moves the pain free side first to create equilibrium. Often a stretch is done until it is no longer comfortable potentially a few times and then movement is rechecked on the painful side. 99% of the time, will feel better!