Ohashi Method™

Ohashiatsu® Touch for peace

One Man’s Journey – Part 2

A Turning Point

In 1976, Ohashi was called back to Japan because his father was very ill with cancer. While caring for his father, Ohashi decided to study with Dr. Shizuto Masunaga, whose articles and monographs he had read. A psychologist-turned-shiatsu practitioner, Dr. Masunaga evolved his own method of shiatsu treatment and established a theoretical basis for shiatsu therapy. Based on his many years of clinical experience, Masunaga placed a large emphasis on the psychological effects of meridian energy.

1976 was also the year Ohashi’s first book, Do It Yourself Shiatsu, was published. He would follow this one year later with the publication of Zen Shiatsu, a collection of Dr. Masunaga’s monographs which he edited and translated. Ohashi chose the title to represent Dr. Masunaga’s approach to healing and life. The book, since translated into several languages, introduced Dr. Masunaga’s work to an English audience. After that Ohashi brought Dr. Masunaga to the US for several popular workshops.

The Evolution

Ohashi used what he learned from Masunaga to inform his own observations of human nature and his earlier experience in the U.S. human development movement. This would influence the evolution of Ohashi’s methodology and his own approach to shiatsu.

By 1979, the curriculum of Ohashi’s school, Shiatsu Education Center of America, was changing from a technical, left brain, book-oriented curriculum to a more experiential, right brain, feeling approach. Some of the School’s early instructors, especially Esther Turnbull and Pauline Sasaki, believed it would be better for students to learn to feel before incorporating book knowledge into their techniques. Over the next few years, Ohashi and the school’s instructors continued refining and expanding the curriculum. Their focus was on how to make giving a treatment session easier, and how to make it healthier for the giver. As Ohashi’s method evolved, it could no longer be called “shiatsu.” The approach and delivery of the technique was unique, something epochal.

Some years later, Ohashi would recount in Beyond Shiatsu, when he taught in English while in Japan: “When traditional knowledge returns to its source in a changed form, it must be presented in a different way. The very idea of self-development is an American one, not at all Japanese. The term shiatsu happens to be Japanese, but the practice of healing through touch is not exclusively Japanese. Ohashiatsu is universal.”

27 Street - New DigsNew Names/New Digs/New Schools

The new curriculum became popular and it became clear that Ohashi’s teaching and his modality needed to be differentiated from “traditional shiatsu.” In 1982, “Ohashiatsu” was trademarked, and with his new modality so named, “Shiatsu Education Center of America” no longer fit his school. In 1984, the name of the school was officially changed to The Ohashi Institute. Its instructors and consultants were given the titles of “Certified Ohashiatsu® Instructors” or “Certified Ohashiatsu® Consultants.”

The Ohashi Institute was outgrowing the space on 55th Street in mid-town Manhattan, and Ohashi once again went looking for a new location. At last, after a two-year search, the Institute leased a large space on 27th Street, five times larger than its previous location. The décor, embodying the principles of Japanese aesthetics, was carefully designed to provide a tranquil and comfortable space for students to meditate and to study,

Beautiful, customized space for the West 27th Street location.

 

The Eighties

Ohashiatsu® increased its popularity in Europe and the first European student graduated in 1980. The early European sponsors and instructors, Johan Byer and Rosemary Solterman from Switzerland, and Klaus Metzner from Germany, soon set up branch schools in their respective countries. Since they were just beginning, Ohashi sent US instructors to teach until the European graduates could train to become instructors themselves. Schools were organized in Heidelberg, Munich, Muenster, Zurich, Basel and Bern. An Italian graduate, Alfonso Crosetto, became the first to sponsor courses in Italy, establishing a school in Turin, Italy. Others set up schools in Florence, Rome, Milan and Asti. Today there are more than 20 Certified Ohashiatsu® Instructors and Consultants in Italy, teaching in various cities. In addition, COIs teach in Austria, Canada, France, French Guiana, and the Netherlands.

In 1988, an American graduate, Matthew Sweigart, began offering courses in Evanston, Illinois, inviting COIs from New York to teach. By 1990, he opened the first Ohashiatsu® branch school in the US. A year later, Hazel Chung, a former dancer, opened another branch in Ellicott City, Maryland. Other COIs started organizing courses in Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Amherst, MA; Honesdale, PA; and in Westchester and Long Island, NY.

Hippie OhashiAs we have seen, Ohashi’s own development of a compassionate and effective approach to healing through touch drew not only on traditional sources like shiatsu, the martial arts, and Eastern Medicine. He was also influenced by the humanistic alternative education movement, as promoted by leading organizations of the day: the Esalen Institute in California and the Omega Institute in New York.   Another important learning source for Ohashi is his collaboration with instructors, students, and even his clients, whom he credits everyday. One of his favorite teachings is, “Every single day you are developing, improving. Your receiver is your teacher. Your receiver is your examiner.” He wrote of his 1996 book Beyond Shiatsu, “It has taken me more than 20 years to write this book, because I am still studying, still changing. Each day I discover something to improve my technique.”

Ohashi in Print: In keeping with his philosophy of knowledge being more effective when it is widespread, Ohashi recognized the value of publishing and devoted hours to writing several books. Many of these books have been translated into multiple languages.

Ohashi in Print

In our final chapter of One Man’s Journey, we will talk about globalization, refinement and the future.

 

 

One Man’s Journey

The Beginnings

Wataru Ohashi was born in Hiroshima, Japan, in June of 1944. Even though he and his family lived in the rural area and were not in the city when the atomic bomb fell the following year, they did not escape the ravages of war. He was born prematurely and malnourished because of this mother’s poor health. As a baby he was fragile with a weak constitution. Then, at less than two years of age, his short life was threatened by dehydration from cholera, which spread through the town where he lived. Many children his age died. Because no Western-style medicine was available, his family turned to Oriental medicine The ancient healing art of moxibustion, commonly called “heat acupuncture,” saved his life. He still bears the round scars of the moxa burned directly on his skin, on CV 46 and BL 23. He regards these scars as “Seals of Life.” This early childhood event set the direction that Ohashi’s life would eventually take — one of a career in healing, although that path would not show itself until he had explored other options.

Ohashi attended Chuo University in Tokyo, where he majored in American literature. At the same time he became interested in the type of healing that had saved his life and decided to take a course in shiatsu. He was also interested in going to the United States to experience African-American history, literature and the civil rights movement that he studied at university. In spite of his family’s objections he made plans to go there after graduating from college.

Thus began his journey in 1970 to the United States. A journey that would take him much further than he ever dreamed at the time. He spent two weeks on a boat to reach California, and then another week by Greyhound bus to reach the South, where he enrolled at Tougaloo College, a predominantly African-American college outside Jackson, Mississippi, to improve his English. He later transferred to Howard University in Washington, DC, but studied for only 6 months, as he found living in Washington, DC, offered many different kinds of education that interested him more. To support himself, Ohashi fell back on the old healing techniques he knew and started giving shiatsu sessions at a health club located in the Watergate complex. Among his clients were then US Attorney General John Mitchell and Governor William Egan of Alaska.

Ohashi and NagyOne day, Ohashi was called to the Kennedy Center where the American Ballet Theatre was rehearsing. Their principle dancer, Ivan Nagy, had injured himself and was in a great deal of pain. Ohashi gave Nagy a few sessions and within two days the dancer was back on stage. And so began a long relationship between Ohashi and the dance world. The connection was so strong that Ohashi soon moved to New York City to be close to his new-found clients and friends.

The Growing Years

“Where do ideas come from?” A profound question. Usually, it’s a small group of people, not necessarily connected, that influence a “movement.” The human development movement of Hippy Ohashithe 1970s was just beginning when Ohashi arrived in New York. Without realizing it, he became one of the people in the US who would have such an influence. Many of today’s ideas about healing and alternative health began with this “handful of people” who were exploring a new lifestyle. Ohashi’s ideas and teaching can be found in many modalities.

He knew that giving sessions one-on-one would only get his health message to a few. Recognizing that teaching was the way to get information out to many, in 1973 Ohashi started the Shiatsu Dojo on the upper west side, with two “secretaries” who wanted to study with him and help him establish his school. They helped him to understand English, how to maneuver through city and state bureaucracy in order to incorporate the school, and with registration and promotion.

Within two years, Ohashi was so busy with students and clients that he outgrew the small space where he started. He needed to look for new space. He took out a map of New York and made aNew COI square extending from 60th Street to 50th Street and from 7th Avenue to Lexington. His assistant exclaimed, “But, Ohashi, that’s the most expensive area! You can’t afford it!” “I can’t afford anything,” Ohashi calmly replied. “So I can’t afford not to be there.” Within ten days, in 1974, Ohashi moved to 55th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in the prestigious Midtown district. It was the second floor of a midtown brownstone. There he established the Shiatsu Education Center of America, which he founded as a nonprofit organization.

Needing instructors to help him, he decided to start training his students to teach. His first instructor was Pauline Sasaki. In the summer of 1975, Ohashi obtained a ride with one of his students to travel to a yoga retreat in upstate New York. A young woman along for the ride was in the publishing field and would later become his wife, Bonnie Harrington.

Ohashi and BonnieOhashi first published a 5×4-foot Meridian and Tsubo chart in 5 colors (the colors of the Five Elements), which received a design award. He had already started writing Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu, which was published in 1976, and is still in print. Soon this book was translated into German, French and Italian, and organizations started to invite Ohashi to teach in Europe – first to Eschweiler, Germany in 1977; then to Switzerland the next year, and soon after to Italy. His book and those of other American writers were introducing Europe to the human potential movement. Within a few years, Ohashi began sending his American instructors to teach the entire curriculum. Soon Europeans started traveling to New York City to study the entire program. Ohashi was living up to his name, which means “Big Bridge.” Western Europeans were traveling west to study in America, and Ohashi was traveling east to teach in Europe. Many were crossing the bridges that Ohashi built.

This was just the beginning: next month we’ll discuss The Evolution of how Ohashi transformed shiatsu into the entirely new, elevated form we know now as Ohashiatsu®.

Muscles & Meridians & Sedation, Oh My!

When muscles are “tight,” this tightness may cause an excess or blockage of energy within a meridian (energy pathway/acupuncture line). Conversely, a blockage or stagnation of energy within the meridian may cause tight, or hypertonic, muscles. By sedating the meridian, muscles will relax. By sedating the muscle, the meridian may open, releasing the blockage of energy. You can see the interplay between energy, energy meridians and muscles. But it goes deeper.

Muscles and/or meridians in a hypertonic state over a longer period of time can cause misalignment of the spinal vertebrae, as well as other major health disturbances. George Goodheart, D.C., founder of applied kinesiology, believed that hypertonic muscles were usually caused by meridian imbalances, especially the Triple Heater meridian (which is associated with the thymus and thyroid glands, which are always involved in stress reactions). As an example, Goodheart said, “If the liver has a disturbed energy pattern, this disturbance ‘overflows’ into a muscle associated with that energy pattern [pecs and rhomboids].”
Muscle Meridian Chart
There are many way to approach this: Applied kinesiology, massage, myofascial release techniques, to name a few. You could work each muscle involved with a particular imbalance, although that might take time. Or you can sedate a meridian, thereby “working” several muscles at once. For instance, Triple Heater meridian encompasses the Gracilis muscle – which works with the Sartorius and hamstrings to help bend the knee; the Soleus which flexes the foot and lower leg; and the Gastrocnemius, which works with the soleus. Here, with one meridian, you are affecting more than five muscles.

You can also use acupuncture release points. Here you need to remember the sedation point of the meridian and or insertion points of the muscle. And if one set doesn’t work, you need to remember what meridian may control or feed the affected meridian, and work on those control points. That’s a lot to remember.Yu-Points-Chart

Another possibility is using the Yu or Shu acupuncture points on the back. These points are associated with different meridians which are associated with certain muscles (see chart). Consequently, you could sedate the Triple Heater point on the back (located between Lumber #1 & #2), and affect the gracilis, sartorius, hamstrings, soleus and gastrocnemius muscles; as well as the thyroid – all with one point.

In Ohashi’s Muscle Meridian Sedation DVDs), he shows how to easily do this without fatigue on your body, or having to remember a myriad of acupoint combinations. He shows body distortions – for example, a foot that flops to one side shows outward rotation of the leg, which could involve the sacrum or lower back. Rather than list points to work and where they are located, Ohashi simply shows how to position the body part to easily access the required Yu, insertion, or sedation point(s). Remembering where to position the leg to access specific points on the back is easier than remembering individual or combinations of trigger points.

Ohashi also demonstrates how differences in the size of the giver or receiver can prove challenging. Using pillows or body positioning, he shows how to easily remedy these issues for more effective treatment without strain on the giver’s body.

There are three volumes for Muscle Meridian Sedation DVD series. Volume 1 encompasses Upper Back Sedation, Hip Sedation with Healing Scarf Therapy technique, and lower Lumbar Bi-Lateral Sedation. Volume 2 continued Upper and Lower Back Sedation in a variety of positions, and introduces Shoulder and Foot Sedations. Volume 3 includes Neck Sedation in sit-up and supine positions; lumbar sedation, and Thumb and Wrist Sedation.

You can find these DVDs at Ohashi.com. And you can see sneak peeks of the videos on YouTube’s OhashiInstitute channel.

Costa Rica: Illuminating Education

During my trip Costa Rica, where I taught my Oriental Diagnosis course, “Reading the Body”, I had the chance to enjoy the abundance of nature in this beautiful country. I learned so much. I was invited to be part of a special lecture series for the 40th Anniversary celebration of the National University of Costa Rica‘s (Heredia). More than 100 people, including medical doctors, therapists, and laypeople, attended my 3-day workshop.

Hotel Bougainvillia gardens

First, while in Heridia, I lodged at the Bougainvillea Hotel. This is a wonderful hotel for many reasons. They have more than 10 acres of beautiful gardens that attract many birds: Hummingbirds, Blue crowned Motmots, Palm Tanagers, Tropical Kingbirds, Boat-Billed Flycatchers — among many others.

The hotel also exhibits tremendous environmental and social responsibility, and received the Certificate of Sustainable Development granted by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. The owners built a school on the hotel grounds; contributes to the elderly and a local shelter; and provides scholarships to local children.

Costa Rica does not have a military, so money is available for education and human well-fare, including medical care. Because of the quality of education, many foreign students from other Spanish-speaking countries study in Costa Rica.

One of the professors at my workshop invited me to visit a coffee plantation where I learned how they grow, harvest, roast and package their coffee. Tarrazú canton in the highlands is thought to produce the most desirable Arabica coffee beans in Costa Rica and in the world. I was happy to buy many bags to bring back to family and friends.

Basilicla

On another day, I visited the Irazu volcano, which is 3300 meters high. On the way we passed Cartago which is famous because millions of pilgrims trek each year to the majestic Basílica Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, to pay respect to Costa Rica’s patron saint, “La Negrita.” Some walk for as many as eight straight days.

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Ranging from high-altitude cloud forest to tropical lowlands rainforest, it maintains one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica. I spent a night in the rainforest jungle, at the LaSelva Biological Station, which is recognized internationally as one of the most productive field stations in the world for tropical forest research.

OhashiRainforest

While there, I saw for myself how nature is so complicated and interwoven. The guides showed me a “second forest.” They explained that when part of the forest is destroyed, even though they try to restore it with a “second forest,” even after 100 years of growth, it is not the same as the original. Not all species will return to a second forest. We must take this lesson: we believe if we return nature, we believe it will be the same. I learned from my experience in Costa Rica that this is a fallacy. We must protect what is there, for once gone, it will never be the same.

golden orb weaver spider
While I was there I was able to enjoy the many monkeys and different birds; so many different types of orchids; and spiders. One is very weird looking and fascinating, too. Scientists are studying the Golden Orb Spider because its silk is one of the strongest materials, natural or man-made in the world. Their silk is about 5x stronger than steel and 3x stronger than Kevlar. Some of the possible uses for this include earthquake-resistant bridges, medical sutures, and bullet-proof vests.

We can learn so much from nature, for so many applications, but particularly for natural medicine. So rather than renew them, we have to protect our rainforests.

This trip to Costa Rica has given me a life-long memory. I am grateful to my sponsors, Angeles Arenas of the U.N. and Ana Rodriguez Allen of the National University, who made this trip possible.

~Ohashi
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Healing Touch for Yoga

How Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu® Can Bring a Healing Touch for Yoga that Students and Teachers Will Love

Ohashi assists Ambria in stretching

Ohashi assists Ambria in stretching

By Ambria Mathew, Founder, Zoga Yoga

While many Yogis worldwide embrace an holistic approach to health and wellness, utilizing Ayurveda, massage, reiki, crystals  and other modalities, the Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu is especially effective to combine with Yoga practice. Developed by Ohashi sensei over 40 years of teaching and practice, his method combines stretching muscles and meridians together as part of a treatment. These meridians or energy lines are similar to the Nadi lines spoken of in Yoga, which we want to keep energized for well-being and health.

For many people who practice yoga, their precious tools may include their yoga mat, a copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and perhaps the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. I would also recommend Ohashi’s latest DVD as a valuable tool because it combines two modalities in an easy to adapt-format, for both private students and group class situations.  It also provides an excellent introduction to Ohashiatsu® for those Yogis eager to explore this beautiful modality of holistic bodywork, and a great visual as to how they could possibly combine it with the Yoga Practice.

Ohashi yoga Ambria4

Assistance for bridge pose

Learning various stretches and pressure points will help sedate muscles, and allow the flow of prana.  While I am grateful to have completed and graduated the Ohashiatsu Program, I realize some people may want something they can use with private yoga students, or even themselves. The best investment would be the newest Ohashi Method™ DVD (you can find it at Ohashi.com) that takes Yoga students and teachers on a journey through basic stretches that relate to meridians in the body.

ABOUT AMBRIA

Ambria is an International Yoga and Ayurveda Teacher (ERYT), certified in Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Pre/Post Natal & Kids Yoga. She has taught and shared her teachings for over 10 years in the United States, Canada, and India. She is the founder of Zoga Yoga, a Yoga Alliance Registered school that provides private Yoga classes, workshops, teacher instruction, and retreats. To learn more about Ambria and Zoga Yoga, visit her website at zogayoga.com

Celebrating 25 Years in Italy!

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Celebrating our Silver Anniversary in Italy!

 It is hard to believe that Ohashi started teaching his Ohashiatsu®/Ohashi Method™ in Italy more than 25 years ago.  From a small class of 12 in 1987 in the town of Rivoli to having more than 39 Certified Ohashiatsu® Instructors (COI) and Consultants (COC) in Italy is astounding, and humbling.  There will be a series of workshop in Torino and Aqui Terme and a big party in Torino.  But first a little history.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ohashi’s story, he came to the U.S. in the 1970s, and while studying English at Howard University practiced shiatsu at the Watergate Health Club in Washington ,DC. where he began to develop a famous clientele. He soon decided that he wanted to teach and that it would be better to be located in New York City. In 1974 he founded the Ohashi Institute (the Shiatsu Education Center of America), which was one of the first schools in the U.S. to offer a program in shiatsu and oriental healing.  He also published his first book, Do It Yourself Shiatsu (1976),

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which was quickly translated into foreign languages, including Italian.  Because of his book, one day a young macrobiotic teacher from Torino,

Imagewho had read it, showed up at the Institute. That was around 1986.  His name was Alfonso Crosetto. He returned to Torino to open an Ohashi Institute in that city and offered the entire Ohashiatsu program. In the beginning, Ohashi sent Certified Ohashiatsu instructors from Germany and the U.S. to teach in Torino until there were enough graduates to train as instructors.

One of the first was Germana Fruttarola, who also became the sponsor of the program in Torino and worked tirelessly to promote the program in Italy.  Soon after came Silvia Rossi, who still heads the school in Milan;

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and then Siegrid Maidorn in Rome,

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who taught and sponsored for many years.  These early instructors were followed by many others, who teach in almost every region in Italy. There are now 15 towns and cities where courses are offered.

Q: Ohashi, what’s your favorite Italian city? 

Ohashi: “This is the most difficult question that I must answer. The reason why is so simple. I love any place in Italy – all the regions, small towns and big cities, because the Italian spirit and love of life is everywhere.

However I shall always have fond memories of the many times I taught in Mergozzo, a small village near Lake Maggiore. There were always beautiful mountain flowers in bloom and the village residents were friendly. I taught many Advanced II retreat courses there in a wonderful small hotel whose owner spoiled us with his wonderful cooking.”

Q: You have given many Ohashiatsu treatments all over the world in the last 40 years. Did you have any famous Italian clients?

Ohashi: “Yes, Signore and Signora Giovanni Agnelli.

Signore Agnelli was the chairman of Fiat, a very important company in Italy that helped it recover from World War II.  The family was well respectd in Italy.   “In 1993, Dr. Henry Kissinger referred Mr. Agnelli to me in 1993.  Our instructors in Torino, Domenico Bassi and Gianpiero Bellini, helped me set up appointments at his residence in Torino.. When he and Mrs. Agnelli visited Rome and New York, which was often, I would give them Ohashiatsu treatments.  I continued his treatments for the rest of his life.  I will always be amazed by his elegancy in life. Never before or after, has anyone greeted me in such an elegant manner. I learned a lot from him about how to treat people in my life.”

Q: From your teaching experience all over the world, do you see any significant differences between Italian students and other students?

Ohashi: I do not see any big difference between Italian students and others in terms of studying and practicing. Most of our Italian students, especially our COIs and COCs, are committed to giving their best.  But I found that around 1995, at the same time that Italy joined the “Euro system,” Italian students became more punctual. Before the “Euro,” Italian students were unreliable about coming to class on time. They had their own “Italian time.” But after the “Euro” they became very punctual and “time effective” people. Since I am a very time-conscious man, I noticed this change immediately.

Ohashi is looking forward to seeing many students and newcomers in Torino for this celebration and in his courses. He will be teaching Yoga & Ohashiatsu, Ohashi Method for Pregnancy and Birth, and his Oriental Diagnosis course, October 18-21.

There will be students from the Ohashiatsu programs in France and the Netherlands as well, to participate in the Oriental Diagnosis course. “We are planning a big party in Torino on the evening of October 21. I am looking forward to see all of our students, graduates, instructors and consultants, and all of our many friends.”

Join in the celebration!  Join us for these wonderful teachings!  For more information on Ohashi Method™/Ohashiatsu®, log on to Ohashiatsu.org.  For information on the workshop, see the blog post below, or log on to Ohashi.it.

 

 

Crawling for Adults

Many of us know that babies’ crawling stage is a vital step in their development.  But did you know that crawling can help improve health for adults?

Because we depend so much on our linear-thinking and computer skills in today’s technological society, we aren’t developing both sides of our brain.  We primarily rely on only one half of our brain – the left side, which controls logic, math, language, reading, reason, analysis, detail, short-term memory, repetition, and structure, to name a few.  Right-side brain activity – individuality, creativity, emotions – is actually discouraged in our culture.


When the brain is balanced, both sides communicate and we are able to perform different types of more tasks easily.

Without continually developing the right hemisphere of our grey matter — which controls creative thinking, rhythm, facial recognition, long-term memory, emotions and dreams — we may miss out on “big picture”, have trouble piecing ideas and concepts together, and lack vision. When the brain is balanced, both sides communicate and we are able to perform different types of more tasks easily.  It helps in problem solving, creative thinking for ideas and projects, and reduces mental stress.

Another potential problem in our modern lifestyle is that muscle tightness, and some say even trauma, can also interrupt the connections between the right and left brain, which may result in poor coordination of spinal muscles (which may lead to joint and vertebrae misalignments), and even allergies.

Cross-patterning exercises can help alleviate the symptoms of trauma, and, perhaps more importantly, can improve our overall performance at work and play, greatly improving our quality of life.

You can find some formal re-patterning or cross-patterning exercises, or why not just do it the old-fashioned way?  Get down on the floor and crawl around.  What will you gain?  How about the benefits of:

• Balance of the right and left brain hemispheres
• Improved coordination & spatial awareness
• Left/Right hemisphere brain balance
• Reduced stress
• Emotional balance
• Improved memory
• Improved mental clarity
• Improved vision
• Stimulation of the lymphatic system
• Better flow of the cerebral spinal fluid

• Spelling, writing
• Reading & comprehension

Crawling feels wonderful on the back, brings you a little more down-to-earth, and your young children or pets will love you for it!

And if you want to add to your crawling experience, take an Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu course near you!  This unique form of bodywork uses crawling, or cross-patterning, as the backbone (pun intended) of its movement techniques.  So while you’re having fun taking an Ohashi Method course and helping yourself with cross-patterning, you can make your friends and loved ones feel great, too!

For courses in the US, log on to www.ohashiatsu.org, and LIKE us on Facebook . We hope you join us soon and learn to crawl toward better health!

JAPANESE KNIVES (HOCHYO). Part 1 – Swords in the Kitchen

When John Steinbeck, the famous American novelist, came to Japan for the International Pen Club convention, he bought several Japanese cooking knives as souvenirs.  I’ve always been curious to know why Mr. Steinbeck was fascinated by these knives.  He may have been impressed by the quality of Japanese knives, or by their sharpness, or perhaps he was amazed by their variety.  Since he has passed away and since I can’t find any clue in his writings, I don’t know what prompted him to buy these knives.  But I sometimes evaluate people by what they buy as gifts from foreign countries, and I am impressed that John Steinbeck didn’t buy cheap Kimonos or cameras or pearls for souvenirs.

Japanese cooking knives are first of all of extremely good quality and, secondly of great variety.  Part of our cultural heritage is swordmaking and this traditional skill has inspired Japanese cutlery. The Japanese sword is a symbol of Japanese Samurai culture. In past centuries, when one looked at a sword one could tell to whom it belonged, his social status, his ability as a Samurai, something of his swordmanship, and also of his spirituality.  Samurai always competed to possess the best sword which encouraged swordmakers to improve the quality of their work.  Because swords were so important, swordmakers kept the secrets of their technology among their family or disciples.

One of the greatest secrets in the process of making swords is the temperature of the water used in tempering the blade.  Again and again, the sword is removed from the heat, hammered and immersed in water.  The precise temperature is what gives durability and sharpness – so each maker kept this secret to himself.  Occasionally a new apprentice or a stranger to the workshop would pretend to fall and in doing so would stick his hand in the water.  The swordmaker had the right to chop off his hand there and then.  The same kind of secret technology is now involved in Japanese knife-making since we no longer need swords for fighting.  Each Japanese knife maker is proud to put his own name on his knife; as if it represents his spirit in material form.  When a Japanese chef is permitted to open his own restaurant, after grueling years of apprenticeship, and be his own master, he is given the best quality knives as a symbol of his craftsmanship, his spirituality and his dedication, as if they were the sword of a Samurai.

Every morning a Japanese chef sharpens his knives as if he were sharpening his cooking abilities.  Japanese food such as Sashimi is so simple – just sliced raw fish prepared with no sauce or dressing; because of this it is difficult to impress with your cooking expertise.  Slicing is the only preparation and how you slice can be evaluated at the first bite of sashimi.  Next time when you go to a Japanese restaurant sit in front of the Sushi Bar.  After the first bite if you have the courage to say to the chef, “You haven’t sharpened your knife today; though I find your raw fish very fresh, the cut is dull,” the chef will respect you and give you the best quality food.  The importance of the knife is great; such a simple factor, which cannot be camouflaged.  When a chef moves from one restaurant to another he always brings his own knives; he is attached to them as if they were a part of himself.  When he retires or gives up his franchise he will allow his disciple or son to use his name and restaurant and will generally give his knives as a symbol of giving his own self.

~  TO BE CONTINUED

Next time:  Variety of Knives

 

Cooking Fried Rice: a Little Enlightment

 This is a wonderful recipe which I cook in the wok. The wok is my favorite tool! With a wok you can deep fry, sauté, boil and even steam. And this is my top secret – I cook a very beautiful smoked fish with a wok.

If you have a very good wok – heavy, big and well seasoned – you can make fried rice. Try this recipe. After you’ve made this recipe a couple of times, then read this next sentence:

Did you make this fried rice three times? I believe you made a mess.

This is my advice…

First, burn your wok until it is smoking. This means you cannot make good fried rice with aluminum or teflon coated or an electric wok. You need a gas burner with at least 2000 BTUs. After the wok smokes, wipe up the inside with a paper towel to clean out any previous leftovers. Then add your vegetable oil and as soon as possible add your ingredients according to the time it takes to cook each ingredient. For example, add the onion and ginger first. If you don’t organize your ingredients in a chronological cooking order, you will make a big mess.

Second advice – when you are frying rice, always hurry up; always move your body, shaking your back with the wok over a high flame. Keep all your ingredients ready and at hand. Never look for salt during the cooking.

Final advice- If you are very impatient in your life, cooking with a wok is the best teacher for you.

If you aren’t always relaxed or a little enlightened – don’t cook with a wok. 

FRIED RICE Recipe

2 cups rice, cooked and cooled

¼ lb. chicken, raw and diced

1/3  lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined

½ onion, diced

Green of one leek, broken (but not cut) in 2 in. lengths

1/3 leek, chopped coarsely

¼ lb. cooked (or canned) bamboo shoots, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 ½ tsp. soy sauce

1 ½ tsp. dry sherry

6 Tbls. vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten lightly with pinch of salt

Salt

Mix soy sauce, dry sherry and leek greens. Marinade the chicken in this mixture for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbls of oil in wok and stir-fry chicken over high heat until tender. Drain and set aside.

Rub shrimp with salt, wash and drain, and sprinkle with salt again. Heat 1 Tbls. oil, and stir-fry shrimp over high heat until color changes. Remove.

Heat 1 Tbls oil, and stir-fry onion, mushroom, bamboo shoot, and carrot over high heat. Add chicken and shrimp to vegetables, mix and divide into two parts.

Heat 3 Tbls oil and stir-fry leek briefly over high heat, pour in egg mixture and scramble. Remove half of scrambled eggs to plate, leaving half in wok.

Add 1 Tbls oil to wok, heat again, and fry half of cooked rice over high heat until grains are separated, stirring constantly. Then add half of vegetable-meat mixture, and stir well. Add soy sauce and salt to taste. Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Combine in serving dish and serve hot.

Beautiful Movement

We had a wonderful Practical Course at Integral Yoga Institute last weekend.  Seventeen students came from all over the world to study Ohashi Method.  Because this was a very intimate class with only 17 students, each and every one of them was able to receive touch directly from me at least three times.  They very much enjoyed it.

It is wonderful to see beginners and professional bodyworkers alike improve and change how their bodies move.  When your body moves right, with less effort and greater efficiency, your whole self feels better. This is particularly important for bodyworkers who give so much of themselves. But it is important for everyone.

Poor posture causes many physical pains. With poor posture your muscles are stretched all the time. This makes them feel sore and tired because they are working when and in ways they don’t need to be. Poor posture means you are working against gravity. Using gravity and being in tonus (relaxed alignment), means your posture will improve. When we teach the Ohashi Method (or Ohashiatsu), we teach students how to use gravity and their Hara ~ your center of being, movement and strength ~ which many now call your “core.”  When you learn to move from Hara, your body moves with less effort ~ in everything you do ~ and more efficiently.  When you move from Hara, your whole life improves and becomes easier.

Some students took short videos during the course so you may see them on YouTube soon. There are already many videos to be seen there of our instructors and of me teaching around the world. We have our own channel on YouTube, “ohashiinstitute” which we will soon be expanding. So I hope you all enjoy!

On Monday, Bonnie and I will fly to Valencia, Spain.  Valencia is like a small Paris because of the beautiful architecture of the older section of the city. There I will teach Healing Scarf Therapy, Emotional Problems and Meridian Therapy, and Oriental Diagnosis, from May 3-6.  I will teach in English with translators, so if you want to fly over and join us, we would be so happy!

Health & Peace,

                               Ohashi

For more information on studying the Ohashi Method/Ohashiatsu, log on to Ohashiatsu.org, or Ohashi.com.  You may also LIKE our fan page on Facebook.

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