Sing It To You, Conta Che Ti Passa Stories of People with Parkinson’s

Ohashi returns to Acqui Terme, Italy November 22, 2017 to offer a workshop and sessions for treating Parkinson’s disease, sponsored by Sastoon Pietra Di Luce. For more information, please download the English and Italian versions of the brochure. In the meantime, we want to share with you a preface he wrote last year. The book is a group of stories of people with Parkinson’s disease who were treated by Ohashiatsu Instructor Claudia Minetti and her colleagues at their clinic in Acqui Terme. Both Italian and English versions of the preface to Canta Che Ti Passa: Storie di Persone col Parkinson are below. 

PREFACE  by Ohashi

People nowadays live longer. Allow me to talk first about myself. I am 72 years old this year, and I am still healthy, active and working full time. Actually, I am working more than ever before. My generation is a generation of long life. In other words, we are a “longer life” generation, perhaps the longest-lived generation in the history of human life on earth. Today, an average Japanese woman lives 86 years, while an average Japanese man lives 80 years. In Japan, we have an aging population with many 80, 90 and even 100 year-old people. This chronological age we call “life age.”  When I go back to Japan, everyone calls me “baby Ohashi” because so many Japanese people are much older than me. This phenomenon is not limited to Japan, but is occurring elsewhere in the world including Italy, wherever peoples’ improved health have extended their life age.

Click on images to read Italian translation of preface

We also have another “age” which I call “health age.” Our health age is the age in which we are living our active, independent, and healthy lives. Our quality of life is central to our health age. When we begin to need a caregiver’s help and assistance in order to live and survive, our health age begins to end. Our health age fades when we are no longer able to live actively and independently without professional or personal care assistance. For example, a Japanese woman’s average health age ends at 82, while a Japanese man’s average health age ends at 78. This means the average Japanese woman needs and depends on her caregiver’s help for 4 years, while the average Japanese man may require 2 years of assistance. Even as our generation lives much longer than our ancestors, we are reliant more than ever and longer than ever on the care of others.   

As we live longer, we are also more prone to develop the types of health problems which were not as prevalent in our ancestors’ generations. Diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders have now become known as problems of aging or gerontological diseases. The treatment and care of gerontological issues and problems are both very important and very urgent at this time for our societies. Because we are living longer in our life age there are growing demands on our social, economic, psychological, and even ethical resources. Our aging generation is needing more medical attention and family care.

Recently, I noticed that Parkinson’s disease seems to have rapidly increased over a short period of time. Over the last 10 years, I have treated more people with this problem. Unfortunately, I have witnessed many people with this disease suffer for a long time, as gradually their condition worsens year by year. We can not cure people of this debilitating disease—I found this to be the case after I treated so many  patients—but we can give “care medicine” for them, often with profound and beneficial results. Oriental medicine such as Ohashiatsu is care medicine.  

Claudia Minetti, Oriana Repetto and Serena Rusin are graduates of the Ohashi Institute, established in New York City in 1974. They have been practicing  Ohashiatsu® for many years. Ms. Claudia Minetti is a Certified Ohashiatsu  Instructor®, and for the last 30 years, has taught many, many students all over Italy. These dedicated women have established a clinic in Acqui Terme, where they are treating Parkinson’s disease with great success. They have developed Ohashiatsu for Parkinson’s disease and are helping so many people. In 2013, I was invited to Acqui  Terme to their clinic where they are giving treatments of Ohashiatsu and teaching this method. I was very impressed and moved to witness their sincere dedication to their work and the good results they have with Ohashiatsu treatments. They are truly helping people with Parkinson’s disease. Fortunately, they have kept all of the records from years of their work and experience. And now, after many years of giving care medicine and treating people with Parkinson’s disease, they have written and developed this very important booklet. This booklet is published at the best time for all of us in our long-lived generation and for those to come, as more and more people need this healing method of care.

It is my personal and professional honor to be asked to write the introduction of this booklet. I believe this book will help people who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and will give hope and bring joy to those who want to live longer, healthier and more active lives extending their health age now and in the future to come.

Ohashi

Ohashi  Institute

U.S.A.  

2016

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Dedicated Travels

by Kazuhiro Ohashi

Two years ago I had the great honor to meet a very dedicated, earnest and serious student of Ohashiatsu. That is to say this student wasn’t overly rigid or strict with herself, just that she was focused and eager with regards to her studies. I first met Kelly Kempter in December of 2015 at Ohashi’s yearly 4-day practical course at Integral Yoga Institute. The thing I remember most about Kelly from that class was that she was very organized. She had emailed me previously from Ann Arbor, Michigan where she had studied Ohashiatsu with one of our former COIs. Kelly also has a very successful practice in Ann Arbor; Kaizen Healing Arts. Kelly was very happy to be coming to NYC to study directly with Ohashi. Besides taking the practical course, she also wanted to take Ohashi’s one-on-one tutorial and receive a session from him as well. She emailed me before leaving Michigan to guarantee her reservation for these additional activities. She asked important questions about how to prepare for her travels to the East Coast. Ohashi appreciates this type of careful preparation. In his viewpoint, a student isn’t just paying for a course, they are also spending  their time for Ohashi. Furthermore, they are not only spending money for his class, they are also spending it to travel, to stay away from home, to eat and all the other expenses that come with traveling. Ohashi is thinking about this when a student comes from far away. For him, it’s that dedication that he appreciates and that he wants to honor, — by greeting them when they arrive and giving his best teaching. Finally, Ohashi is a big fan of maximizing one’s time. Kelly did just that. If Kelly was going to travel all the way from Michigan, dedicate four days to staying in NYC and learning directly from Ohashi, then she was going to get the most out of it. That is why it was important to her to take the tutorial (which she stayed an extra day for) and receive a session from Ohashi. She understood  that this opportunity, the experience, was at the right time. She took full advantage of her trip.

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Kelly (far left) completes Ohashi’s special tutorial.


For me, most impressively, Kelly was one of the first students to arrive at class each morning. And she was, of course, on time to her tutorial. (Also, her gi was perfectly neat and to the specification of the Ohashiatsu guidelines.) This was her dedication showing through. When you are early and ready the class is already a success, the session is already a success, the day is already successful. Kelly knew these things and Ohashi was happy to witness this.

Group Photo IYI 2016

A great group of students from Ohashi’s 2016 IYI practical course.


Well, I’m happy to report that I was able to meet Kelly again recently. Last month, after many email exchanges, Kelly was able to come to our office and home in the forest in Kinderhook, NY for her final graduation exam with Ohashi. Because Ohashi’s schedule is so busy this year it was a bit of a challenge to organize a time for her visit, but we figured it out. Kelly drove from Michigan with her husband Scott (after attending a rally in D.C!). It was a lovely visit and Kelly was able to meet Bonnie, my mother. The five of us spent some quality  time together before and after the exam. Well, of course Kelly passed her exam and was happy to receive feedback on her technique from Ohashi. The  Ohashiatsu family of graduates and Certified Instructors extend congratulations and admiration to Kelly for her dedication to Ohashiatsu and to her own personal development.

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Kelly finishes her final exam with Ohashi.

Kelly already has established a successful healing arts practice and we know that her continued investment in education and experience will serve her well.

You can visit Kelly for a treatment and follow her on social media.

Kelly’s Instagram Feed

Kelly’s Facebook

Kaizen Healing Arts on Facebook

To be in touch.

Kazu

“Un” Luck around Rutland

by Kazuhiro Ohashi

Two weeks ago Ohashi and I had a great ski trip in Vermont. On this trip we were able to reconnect with our good friend Jesse Labow who we met in December last year at Ohashi’s 4-day practical course held at Integral Yoga Institute in New York City.  Jesse came all the way down from Vermont to practice Ohashiatsu® / OHASHI Method® with our dedicated COIs, all the wonderful students, and of course, with Ohashi himself. Before the course started Jesse took a private tutorial with Ohashi. From that tutorial and throughout the course, I could see Jesse was not just simply giving bodywork, he was enjoying the act of giving. In a phrase, he was “feeling it” — the connection where you are not doing, you are not working, you are simply being. You are enjoying the act of giving, the state of being.

Jesse practices his neck technique at Integral Yoga this past December. Our smiling COI Marco Beghin observes.

I was happy to meet and talk with Jesse during the course in NYC. Right after the New Year Jesse emailed Ohashi asking if he would come to Rutland to teach him more OHASHI Method techniques.

As Ohashi puts it:

Last year, December 2016, one young gentleman came all the way from Vermont to take my course in New York City. I believe and I heard that he enjoyed my class very much. This year, January 2017, this young man sent an email directly to me saying, ‘Ohashi sensei, I am a very good ski instructor in Killington, Vermont. I want to teach you how to ski. In exchange for this service, I want you to give me private Ohashiatsu lesson when you come to Rutland.’

My instinct told me, ‘Why not?’

I replied to him, ‘When I teach tutorial, you need a couple of people with you, otherwise it’s boring and not so much fun. You don’t learn anything. Why don’t you get some others? Mr. Jesse, why don’t you organize a course in Vermont? You know lot’s of massage therapists, bodyworkers, practitioners. Please, get lots of students for me to teach. You can keep the tuition and take me and Kazu skiing as your guests. Ok?”

I think this was more than Jesse expected to take on, but he agreed, eager for the opportunity to work with Ohashi again and to take a new step in his professional career.

A little more than a month later, Ohashi and I were up in Rutland and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the job Jesse did registering students, finding a place to hold the course, and all the other small details he thought of that made a big difference in the success of the course.

When we arrived we stayed at Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast. This traditional and beautiful B&B, run by Jesse’s mom Susan, was the perfect accommodation for us.

Ohashi and Jesse outside the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast

Later that day we visited the course site. Jesse’s friend, Dimitri, in his great generosity agreed to host the course at his residence — a beautiful house in Rutland full of light. After talking and discussing the next day’s workshop, Ohashi and I had dinner with Jesse and his wife, Hahn, at their residence.

The next day Ohashi and I arrived at the course site at 9am. Jesse was already there setting up and making sure things were ready for the students when they arrived.  Ohashi taught a wonderful  workshop on his unique Healing Scarf Technique. Ohashi says:

Someone at the class asked if my Scarf Technique is good for people who have suffered a stroke. My answer is yes – but you must give very gently, and only if they agree. It is an effective way for loosening up muscle tightness.

Thank you to Lisa Marie Donohue, MA, LMT at Thrive Center of the Green Mountains for this question.

Thank you to Dimitri for this beautiful class room space.

Ohashi demonstrates Healing Scarf Technique

Jesse and his wife prepared not only a great healthy breakfast for the students, but also an exquisite meal of Japanese rice balls (Onigiri), miso soup, and other delicious vegetarian dishes. All free of charge! By the way Jesse and Hahn run a catering business — Good Karma Kitchen. Please check them out if you are in Rutland.

Good Karma Kitchen provided good eats at Healing Scarf Technique workshop.

More deliciousness. Thank you Dimitri for the sweets.

Everyone was well fed and happy to have Hanh prepare a special meal for them. They were ready for more of Ohashi’s special scarf technique the rest of the afternoon. After the course Ohashi gave six sessions in Dimitri’s treatment room. And we finalized our night with a visit to a local Chinese restaurant suggested by Hahn.

Our special guest inspects the massage tables.

Great job! Congratulations to all the professional therapists who attended Healing Scarf Technique workshop in Rutland, Vermont.

Hara Hound.

Thank you to Marjorie Pivar and Sarah West at Shiatsu School of Vermont for the happy horse.

The next day Ohashi and I drove over to Jesse and Hanh’s house. Hahn had prepared an amazing traditional Vietnamese breakfast. There was a spicy noodle soup, a special type of omelette among other pickled fare. It was the perfect food for a long day of skiing. Then we all drove to Killington Ski Resort. There we met up with Susan – Jesse’s mother. Our hosts described the day as one of the best days for skiing all season. Ohashi and I had not been on the slopes for sometime, but we quickly got back into the flow of things. Ohashi loves skiing. It helps him practice his cross patterning. He skis from the hara, always keeping low for balance. We were able to keep up with our expert hosts. Both Jesse and Susan are instructors and had some great tips for us to improve our technique. Our hosts left us in the early afternoon and Ohashi and I were left to ski on our own for a couple of hours. Ohashi commented:

Next day 28th of February Tuesday, Jesse, the young man who arranged this trip, took me to Killington Mountain and paid for everything. Jesse is really a great ski instructor who taught me lots. That was my best skiing experience in the last 20 years.

On the slopes. Epic selfie by Jesse.

Ready to ski!

Frozen falls on the slopes.

After packing up our gear we met with our long time friend and COI Diedre Seeley for a late lunch at a Japanese restaurant. She lives in Killington Village and has a successful massage practice there, Mountain Dove Wellness. It was great to catch up with her and to be in her energetic presence. By the way “Happy Birthday Deedee… belated. Diedre is always available for Ohashiatsu® Sessions via email and at New Life Hiking Spa starting May 15, 2017.

That evening Hahn prepared an “official” dinner for us. It was really a special evening with our friends. This time Susan joined. Hahn really outdid herself with this feast. We were treated to a plethora of traditional Vietnamese dishes, all vegetarian, all delicious. I personally enjoyed the fried tofu with chili paste. Ohashi loved the saki selection and I think we all enjoyed the the apple cobbler with ice cream that Susan brought.

Saki selection.

Delicious!

Vegetarian Vietnamese dinner at Jesse and Hahn’s place.

The next day it was time to leave Rutland. Ohashi visited the maple syrup distiller next to the B&B. I packed and we said our goodbyes to Rutland. For the rest of the day Ohashi, Jesse, Hahn and I wondered the aisles of the famous Vermont Country Store, sampling to our hearts content.

Ohashi and Jesse pose outside The Vermont Country Store.

Ohashi and Hanh check the foggy hillside.

Yes, Tab at The Vermont Country Store!

One last photo before we go.

As we ate with Jesse and Hahn before we traveled back to New York Ohashi had this interesting piece of information for us:

Life is always a big surprise. Life is always full of strange luck. I didn’t plan or expect anything, yet everything worked out beautifully. This is great luck! In Japanese the word for luck is ‘un’. The Chinese character means you are bringing yourself to where the luck is. So let’s prepare for the Luck which may happen in front of you. Is there anyone who wants me to come to give tutorial? If so, I’m well prepared!

“Un” in Japanese means Luck. In this Chinese character the man brings his cart to where the luck is.

Finally it was time to say goodbye to our hosts. We couldn’t have asked for a better ski vacation. And we look forward to visiting Jesse, Hahn, Susan, DeeDee and the rest of our friends up north again.

Back to Melbourne

This article appears in the first quarter issue of Pointers Magazine published by The Shiatsu Therapy Association of Australia. For a message from Ohashi and for more information about his upcoming April 2017 courses, tutorials and sessions at the Australian Shitatsu College in Melbourne, click here.


About Ohashi

Ohashi was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1944. Because of World War II, he experienced starvation and general deprivation, which caused a weak constitution. The condition of his biological health over the years informed his interest in traditional medicine, which he used to survive the problems caused by his childhood. Eventually, his personal experiences using and learning about traditional medicine brought him to develop his skills in healing, and then to disseminate his philosophy about health and life to other cultures.

ohashi-bio-copyIn 1974 he founded the Ohashi Institute in New York City, a nonprofit educational institution, which offered shiatsu education and training in the United States and eventually to several other countries. Through the educational program developed by the Institute, and through teaching for other organizations, he has taught thousands of students in more than 27 countries over more than 40 years. He has also had the honor of treating many famous people over the years, including Liza Minnelli, Margot Fonteyn, Ivan Nagy, Henry Kissinger, and Mohammed Ali.


Ohashi has written six books on shiatsu and Oriental medicine, and produced 10 videos on his methods and techniques. His most popular book among professionals and laypeople is Reading the Body, which has been translated into 8 languages, a testament to its holistic representation of the human experience.

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Ohashi and his son Kazuhiro visited the Australian Shiatsu College for the first time in 2015, when Ohashi came to teach. They were honored to be present for ASC’s 30th anniversary’s celebration, and are very pleased to return in April 2017 to teach three courses.

 

From Theory to Practice

Ohashi’s teaching spans both the intellectual aspect of Oriental Medicine as well as the practical side. The vast amount of information that Ohashi has gained from his intensive studies and many years of teaching and practice comes through in his courses. While information is mostly free and attainable, learning from Ohashi’s practical experience is invaluable. The three courses Ohashi will teach as ASC in April 2017 progressively illustrate how the fundamental philosophy and knowledge in his teachings inform his practical methods with therapeutic applications.

Ohashi’s Oriental Diagnosis

The Oriental medical modalities, such as acupuncture, Kan-poc (herbal teas), and shiatsu are forms of treatment and as well as means of diagnosis. You start your treatment in order to diagnose, then you start your diagnosis in order to treat. Treatment and diagnosis occur simultaneously. As a shiatsu therapist if you do not know how to diagnose, you cannot treat your clients. Therefore, it is helpful to study Oriental diagnosis to gain the knowledge you need to effectively treat clients.

In his course this year, Ohashi will cover aspects of this topic that bodywork practitioners and psychologists and other professionals will find useful for their work. Understanding that each human being is a totality — a unified whole of body, mind and spirit — provides the Oriental diagnostician, shiatsu practitioner or counselor, deeper insights necessary to understand imbalances with human nature.

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First, he discusses fundamental advice about Oriental Diagnosis; the differences in diagnosis between Eastern and Western medicine; and the four types of diagnosis in Oriental Medicine: Bo Shin; Setsu Shin; Mon Shin; Bun Shin. He then moves on to specific information about the face, with a discussion of its three zones — forehead, mid-region, and jaw and what is considered a balanced face. Ohashi will then lecture on individual features of the face: Forehead and its lines; Eyebrows; Eyes; Eye bags; Nose; Bridge of the nose; Philtrum; Mouth; Teeth; Ears.

The next section of the course covers areas of the body: the back, the hara, and feet. He will include bi-lateral distortions and how to correct them with shiatsu. He will demonstrate and students will practice on each other. Ohashi’s Oriental Diagnosis course ends with an analysis of shoes — his famous shoe diagnosis. In this segment a helper will pick up four pairs of shoes — two female and one male — which Ohashi skillfully analyzes the wearer’s health, financial condition and offers advice.

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“Ohashi’s Oriental Diagnosis” course embraces useful diagnostic information you can apply immediately to your practice; the practical part of the course will help you to incorporate these techniques into your practice to enrich your treatments, making your clients healthier and happier.

Psychology of the Meridians  

Life is chaos, which evolutes every minute. If we imagine ourselves as an ever-changing amoeba, we see that our psychological states manifest themselves into physical conditions. For example, consider a starving man. Physically his body requires nutrients. He craves food. Indeed, his entire body and mind are focused on finding food. His brain sends a signal to his eyes to look for food. His sense of smell is heightened to find the specific odor he craves. As he sees and smells something to eat, his mouth starts to water, beginning the digestive process even before he obtains food.

As the saliva moves down his esophagus into his stomach, his legs are told to move forward, towards the food, his second largest toe leading his entire body. Imagine the line of physical reactions from his brain to his eyes, nose, and mouth, down to his stomach and finally all the way to his legs and toes. The path follows the stomach meridian. When we have experienced starvation in our life, the stomach meridian may tend to be more Jitsu, resulting in an overabundance of ki energy, which helps us to obtain the food we need. Understanding this individual’s psychology can help us in caring for him. Will he need sedation on his stomach meridian? How does he react to stronger pressure on ST36 (Ashi San Ri)? Also consider this person’s lifestyle. Does he eat too much too fast? Would you describe his personality as neurotic? Are his meals irregular and distracted; is his appetite influenced by his moods. Perhaps his stomach meridian is kyo –– a deficit of ki energy. Aspects of both hypo and hyper conditions exist in the same person, along the same meridian and even the same tsubo. Pressing along his meridian, tonifying or sedating the ki energy, can help with the physical manifestations of this imbalance.

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During his “Psychology of the Meridians” course, Ohashi demonstrates how these psychological states affect our bodies, and how Ohashiatsu® can be used on the body to influence the receiver’s psychological state. He explains his idea of the Birth of Meridians from a pictorial reference, for example, picturing the position and flow of the stomach meridian as a manifestation of childhood starvation. He will go through all 12 meridians from the reference of their “birth”, discussing and demonstrating their influence on the psycho-emotional states in mankind. Participants will learn 12 Meridian exercises that incorporate the psycho-emotion characteristic of each meridian. Participants will practice on each other, focusing on appropriate treatment for each meridian and emotion.

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Muscle Meridian Sedation

Ohashi’s final course will be the practical application of techniques that sedate both muscles and meridians. These are techniques he developed over many years working with dancers and other clients with physical injuries, especially when a distortion was caused by a muscle. If a meridian is close to that muscle or muscle group, it is helpful to use pressure on the tsubos while tonifying the muscle.

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Through observation you can determine where your receiver might need a stronger technique to quickly and effectively maximize the results of treatment. Imagine your client is storing an excess of jitsu energy in the neck, which caused her or him to complain of tension and headaches. S/he is nervous, busy, worried and stressed. The accumulation of painful energy causes anxiety about having the neck touched. So instead you work the cranial area, the shoulders and maybe the lower back. Once the client is relaxed and ready to receive a strong sedation, you can proceed to the neck, using a stronger technique that brings the desired result.

Immediately your receiver feels the relief from the excess energy stored in the neck for so long. The energy can slow again, which makes her/him feel opened up and happy. This is the basic concept of sedation. It’s a practical application of a powerful technique to complement your entire treatment. Sedation, when used sparingly, is the perfect addition to your practice regardless of modality.

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The Australian Shiatsu College is pleased to sponsor Ohashi’s teachings in Melbourne in April, 2017. From his always entertaining and informational Oriental Diagnosis course, to his fascinating Psychology of the Meridians class, and finally his practical Muscle Meridian Sedation workshop, students will experience the breadth of Ohashi’s knowledge, experience and joy of teaching.   

 

EARLY REGISTRATION ENDS MARCH 1

Register Early by March 1 and Receive these Discounts!

Enroll for all Three Courses: $975. SAVE $210 ($1350)

Take Any Two Courses: $680. SAVE $110 ($900)

Take Any One Course: $395. SAVE $55 ($450)

A.S.C. current, former and Ohashi’s 2015 course participants:
Receive an additional 10% discount when registered by March 1.

After March 1: $450 per course

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Click for Registration Form & Courses Brochure

 

 

 

 

Cover Story: Behind the Original Cover of Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu

Jimmy Fallon’s recent DYI comedy sketch on his Tonight Show featuring the original cover of Ohashi’s book Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu, published in 1976 (and still in print), got us thinking about Ohashi’s dear friend, the ballet dancer Ivan Nagy. One of the great names in the dance world, Mr. Nagy was on the original cover of DIY Shiatsu spoofed by Mr. Fallon.
DIY Shiatsu

Ohashi first met the charismatic ‘danseur noble’ of the ballet world, Ivan Nagy, a few years earlier in Washington DC. At that time, Mr. Nagy, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre company, was receiving global admiration for his regal and gallant style, generating many cherished partnerships with most of the celebrated ballerinas of the time, including Margot Fonteyn and Natalia Makarova. Silver medalist of the 1965 International Ballet Competition at Varna, Bulgaria, Nagy first appeared in the US as guest artist for the National Ballet of Washington in 1966. From there, he danced with New York City Ballet before joining the American Ballet Theatre in 1968, where he remained for a decade.

In October 1972, Ohashi was working at the Watergate Health Club in Washington DC. Mr. Nagy and the American Ballet Theatre company were staying at the Watergate Hotel while in performance at the Kennedy Center. Ohashi gave such memorable treatments to the entire dance company, that soon his practice was in demand throughout the dance world.

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One year later, Ohashi had moved to New York City, organizing the Shiatsu Education Center of America on 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the forerunner of the Ohashi Institute. One day he received an emergency call from the dancer. While in rehearsal at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Ivan Nagy had injured himself and was in a great deal of pain. His scheduled performances with the famous ballerina Carla Fracci were in jeopardy. Ivan asked Ohashi to please come and give him treatment to relieve his pain. Ohashi grabbed his bag, and hailed a cab to ride the 10 blocks uptown.

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With Ohashi’s successful treatment of his acute pain and muscular fatigue, within 24 hours the beloved dancer was back live on stage performing with the dreamy elegance and the phenomenal style that so many of Nagy’s partners adored. During that evening’s performance, Ivan Nagy received a 20-minute long standing ovation.
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Grateful for Ohashi’s therapeutic proficiency, Nagy insisted that Ohashi had saved his career. He asked, “Ohashi, what can I do for you in return?” Ohashi replied, “Ivan, my new book is coming out soon. Will you be the model for my meridian charts?” Nagy agreed. He was the model for the 18 meridian charts and appeared on the book’s original cover. Recently Ohashi remarked, “The contents of my book, Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu were ‘mediocre,’ but Mr. Nagy’s body was so beautiful that the book became a smash hit. You see everybody thought they could have a body like his if they bought my book.”

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Both of their careers flourished and some years later after Nagy retired, he would complain to Ohashi that when people stopped him on the street, they asked him if he was the guy in Do-It-Yourself Shiatsu. “Ohashi, I am a world famous dancer but people only know me for your book.” Ivan Nagy died February 22, 2014 in Budapest. He was 70.

ivan-nagy-cincinnati-ballet-artistic-director-1986-89-publicity-photo-from-the-1980s

One Man’s Journey – Part 3

We left off in Part 2 with instructors branching out to teach around the U.S., including Maryland. Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Amherst, MA; Honesdale, PA; and in Westchester and Long Island, NY.

Globalization

By the 1990s Ohashi had witnessed many changes, especially in Japanese/American relations. When he first came to the US, very few Americans ate sushi. By the 90s, there were hundreds of noodle shops and sushi bars in New York City alone. Japanese management techniques had been incorporated into the curriculum of business schools and the yen was at an all-time high.

Ohashi saw an interesting phenomenon that he called “international cultural catchball.” His view was when an element of a culture travels to a different environment, it is ingested and changed. Ohashi saw that happening with shiatsu. “Once quantity develops, quality changes,” Ohashi says. “Sometimes the more popular something becomes, the less value is placed upon it.”

It was clear that the decision to differentiate his technique from traditional shiatsu was a correct one. More and more, the supportive relationship of the giver and receiver, rather than the technical knowledge, became an important component of Ohashiatsu®. “My technique and philosophy is not only for American and Japanese – it is for everybody. It is universal and that’s the reason people from many countries come here to study. They need it and enjoy it. It has become a part of the globalization phenomenon.”

Ohashi’s dream of teaching the “Ohashiatsu…Touch for peace” philosophy to the world was beginning. In 1990, the Institute was contacted by the Psycho-Political Peace Institute (PPPI) to help in its project to introduce psychotherapeutic and holistic modalities to the citizens of the newly disbanded Soviet Union. That Ohashi in Russiayear the Institute helped sponsor 12 Russian doctors and therapists who were coming to New York for a month. During that time, they studied Ohashi’s Oriental Diagnosis and Ohashiatsu Beginning I. They were so impressed that they invited Ohashi to come to Russia. A year later, Ohashi taught these two courses to 100 students in Russia.

Five years later, the Ohashi Institute again partnered with PPPI. This time to assist the village of Bakuriani in the Republic of Georgia, which had been a world renowned ski resort where the USSR Olympic teams trained. The breakup of the USSR left Bakuriani a desolate village with polluted drinking water, no heat, and electricity available only after 11:30PM. There was only one doctor in town – one who had trained with Ohashi in the US. The Institute sponsored Vasil Jioev, who worked as a massage therapist at a hospital. Vasil completed the Ohashiatsu curriculum in one year and, when he returned to Georgia, donated one week per month working in the refurbished Bakuriani Hospital.

“Ohashiatsu is something amazing. With massage therapy, it’s just bones,  

muscles and tendons and maybe a person somewhere in there.

Ohashiatsu is about the human being. Not just the physical,

but the psychologicaland the emotional –

it’s so deep – it’s about the universe. Now I can sense that deep place

inside the person and hope that I can touch it as well.”

~ Vasil Gioev.

Ricochet

In 1992, Ohashi returned to Japan to teach, and during one weekend more than 80 people came from all over Japan to hear him. Understanding human nature, Ohashi instinctively knew that when people study something that is already part of their own culture, they tend to take it for granted. So, Ohashi taught the Japanese students in English through a translator! The students said that by hearing a Japanese subject taught in English, they discovered a different angle to what they already knew and enjoyed a different dimension of comprehension. Once again, Ohashi fulfilled his mission – he added another level of understanding to human nature through his modality of touch communication.

RefinementBeyond Shiatsu

As the Ohashiatsu program continued to grow worldwide, the Institute increased its focus on refining the curriculum and standardizing the training so that the course material could be taught the same way around the world. In this effort, the many senior instructors who had trained at the Institute or in Europe contributed to this process.

During the 1990s, Ohashi began to refine his published work by writing a new book that captured the true nature of Ohashiastu. While most other books and instructional videos focused on the benefit of the receiver, how to deal with the receiver’s problems, they hardly said a word about the giver’s well-being, the giver’s consciousness, the giver’s reward. When published, “Beyond Shiatsu: Ohashi’s Bodywork Method” was the only book that focused on maintaining and improving the giver’s movement, posture and well-being.

“Priority must go to the practitioner,” Ohashi states emphatically.

“When you give Ohashiatsu, you are regenerated and energized

because of the way your body moves,

because you are enhancing your vital Ki (life force energy),

and because you are meditating while you are working.

This book and Ohashiatsu will help the giver preserve his or her body

so that he or she can continue this wonderful work for many, many years.”

Teach a Man to Fish

Ohashi believes that people need to take responsibility for themselves. Clients need to take responsibility for improving their health, students for their own learning, and instructors for their continued learning and financial well-being. Ohashi wanted instructors to be self-sufficient rather than rely on the Institute for their livelihood. Thus, in 1995, the Institute established an outreach program allowing instructors to teach anywhere they liked, without having to set up an entire school. Result: the Institute could access different niche and geographical markets and more and more people could be introduced to the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of Ohashiatsu.

The New Millennium

With greater and great technological communications advances, Ohashi is concerned about human well-being. “The more technology advances, the more people are becoming isolated. You don’t have to contact another human being to get what you need to survive – you can do everything over the Internet. But people need people. We need human interaction, human touch. The more technology, the more touch we need. I call this “High Tech/High Touch.”

Society has now embraced “alternative” knowledge and modalities. We continually hear about a “new” therapy, but, of course, we know that these “new” therapies are what philosophers, monks, healers and indigenous pCircle of Energyeoples around the world have known for centuries.

Ohashi developed a series of videos for students. With the advent of the DVD, Ohashi created a new series that addresses the public at large. A new e-book will be published soon. He continues to travel around the world teaching his courses and new instructors. To date, Ohashi and his instructors have taught in the US, Canada, Italy, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Bali, Belgium, Costa Rica, Israel, Burkina Faso, French Guinea, Russia, and the Netherlands. In 2015, Ohashi will introduce his modality to students in Melbourne, Australia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Zagreb, Croatia.

As more and more people look to alternative modalities for their health and well-being, the Ohashi Institute and the Ohashi Method®/Ohashiatsu® are ready to provide the world with more instructors to teach people to help themselves. And Ohashi’s techniques, method and teaching will continue to emphasize communication and synergism between two people, on the self-development of the giver, as well as the receiver, and on harmony for both.

Ohashi is like

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.