22 May

Acupuncture Center Toronto gets schooled in Japan

Fresh off the plane from Japan!  I’m going to do a series of posts on a few incredible experiences I had during my travels. I’m going to share a cool Sotai experience during a recent visit to Yokohama.  Sotai is a uniquely Japanese kind of bodywork.  While it’s totally different than Shiatsu, 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.

Sotai- Seated Forward bend.

Uploaded by Acupuncture Center Toronto on 2016-05-25.

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.

Acupuncture Center Toronto in Japan doing Sotai

Uploaded by Acupuncture Center Toronto on 2016-05-25.

Sotai Benefits

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

Fumie demonstrating a sotai posture. She believes that this pose should be practiced regularly for back and hip pain.

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! sample treatment

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!

sample treatment two

Fumie Kusaki, is a the real deal. Her teachings and treatments are confident and her vast knowledge shines!

#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!