There are several courses that the Shin Tai (‘Source Body’) programme covers: GV and Spine, CV and Hara, Light Body Activation, Chakras, Fascia, Structural and The Central Channel.They all have at their heart the same aim – to restore life force that has been trapped or compressed through our experiences and return motion and alignment in the body.
Shin Tai also naturally dove-tails into any other form of body work, especially Shiatsu because they are both get Chi moving.
For me the masterpiece of Shiatsu Shin Tai is the Central Channel training because it is the most effective and the most elusive in which to excel. All our classes include Proprioceptive exercises to enhance our awareness in our own bodies and to improve our sensitivity to the condition of our receivers. I find these exercise give me confidence in what I’m feeling and sensing in my client- very helpful for CC work.
There are six stages or patterns of stress that we learn in The Central Channel and they all have a correspondence to the attachments of the meninges and the relationship between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves. The touch is very light and non-intrusive. As the receiver’s energy system starts to relax and open, the giver takes their hands off to let the body process the contact before going to treat the next stress pattern that is emerging. There are clear signs and patterns that we can see and feel in the body to identify each stage.
Stage 1 is Stuck in the Past. The occiput is the main area of contact which is interesting as it is the origin, along with the sacrum, of the GV channel. In the foetus it’s the beginning of the spinal column forming.
Stage 2 is Fear of the Future and involves the Atlas, Cervical 1, C4, 5 6. The origin of this stage is Osteopathic and how the occiput and C1 and C5 interact using a head turning test.
Stage 3 is about Identity and Sexuality. The areas of contact are around the pelvis and thigh.
Stage 4 relates to our Beliefs and how we relate to the world. C2, the axis, and C3 are treated.
Stage 5 is Integration and Synthesis of the all the other stages and involves several contacts at the neck and sacral areas.
Stage 6 treats the Structure with soft tissue releases of the spine, pelvis and cranium. This is often an area which is overlooked by Shiatsu practitioners and can have a profound effect on the body when integrated with energy work.
All or some of these stages can come up in a treatment, in any order and that is the fascinating aspect of Central Channel. I’m sure you are familiar with these stages in yourself and your clients’ experiences. The stages are a conglomeration from other bodywork that Saul added to, expanded upon, and adapted to an energetic orientation. He later created the Advanced CC work and also the 3 phases of motion which provide a framework for how to move through the stages with other Shin Tai techniques that are appropriate during each part of a treatment. Saul expanded the stages by listening carefully to his clients’ responses to where he was contacting their energy and by their comments afterwards. Often clients reported a sense of ease and relief on many levels and he noticed that they were regaining their will to deal with past trauma and future anxieties and so be more in present time. When life force streams into the present time, we start to appreciate small things as well as the big things. Eg. Seeing the extraordinary in the mundane, feeling immense gratitude for small gestures.