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Kiatsu   -   by Michael Phelan - October 2000 

A few years back, a friend asked me if I would like to attend a class in a Japanese Martial Art called Aikido, but I did not really care to participate in a “Fists of Fury” ordeal pitting one ego against another, as most martial arts classes seem to be.  My friend had lost a leg just below the knee in a motorcycle accident. He was a gentle person with a philosophically grounded personality, and seemed genuinely to desire for me to attend, so I half reluctantly agreed to go with him. 

To my pleasant surprise, my friend turned out to be the instructor. What I discovered was a truly “New Age” approach to self-defense, no hits, no kicks, and no competition. I learned that each of Aikido’s self-defense “Arts” was a meditation in motion designed to bring one into harmony with the Universe. The self-defense part was merely an excuse to achieve this harmony. I was hooked and spent the next 5 years studying Aikido, which translates as “the Way to Union with Ki”. As I studied in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles I was introduced to Kiatsu, an integral part of Aikido, and a natural extension of the use of this “Ki” energy for healing. 

After we became connected with this “Ki” (life force energy) and familiar with directing it through our mind and body, it was time to put it into the everyday context of health and healing. 

Kiatsu is a method for hands-on healing developed by Koichi Tohei, founder and World Chief Instructor of “Ki Aikido”. In Reiki classes we learn to channel the abundant Ki energy of the universe through our hands, mostly through the energy centers (minor chakras) in our palms. In Kiatsu we channel this same energy through the fingertips, allowing us to concentrate this strong flow of Ki into a smaller area, and often reaching deeper into the immediate tissues. It is an easy matter to access and experience ones ability to extend Ki energy. As we experience more and utilize Ki energy more it develops a stronger flow, not only through our fingertips, but also throughout our whole body, producing great strength and vitality. 

Kiatsu is especially good for softening tense muscles, where a slight pressure combined with the channeled Ki flow often makes the tension melt beneath our fingers within seconds. The benefit here is simple and obvious. Tension is a blockage causing body fluids, Ki energy, and nerve impulses to be restricted. Headaches are often caused by tense muscles in the shoulders or neck area, produced by stress from work or exercise. A simple application of Kiatsu to these muscles quickly returns the blood and energy flow to the head. Often headaches can be relieved in minutes, even by self-treatment. 

Tension is perhaps the most common blockage for any of your four body levels. You will quickly notice that Reiki and Kiatsu go a long ways to promote relaxation, the opposite of tension. Many books have been written about stress, tension, and relaxation. It is obvious that we know very little about how to relax. We even have fears that if we relax too much, someone may get ahead of us in some way. There is a billion-dollar industry built around selling us the medicine to chemically force us to relax. Now we have Reiki and Kiatsu. 

Kiatsu requires no attunement to access the abundant Ki energy, and is quick to learn.

(Revision 3-12-04) I have incorporated many other observations and experiences into what I learned about Kiatsu and present it differently when incorporating it into Reiki classes. For this reason, and the fact that I learned this method of promoting healing long before Kiatsu became a certified, proprietary teaching, I now call it Digi-Ki.

Since we often restrict our own supply of Ki energy for health and healing, I also introduce students to the four basic principles of Aikido for being in harmony with the Universe, which equates to having unrestricted Ki flow throughout our four body levels. 

We can all remain healthy, and also promote healing in others, with a better understanding of this “life force energy”, and how to access and direct it in our daily lives. The good news is; this is extremely easy and natural. We as humans are meant to be in harmony with our Universe, and have unrestricted access to this abundant “Ki” energy. These healing methods have been with us for ages. We do not have to learn anything new, difficult, or unnatural. We need only to gently remember.

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