Or: how to find the point, press it, and heal through it – in four steps
By Galit Shaviv
Let's talk about a significant component that is mysterious and elusive, yet simple and plain as day: Tsubo.
Tsubo simply means pressing point used in Shiatsu treatment.
The point appears on a meridian that is accessible to us through the physical body.
A point that when consciously and accurately pressed upon, with the right pressure and synchronization, allows a new flow of energy in all of our fields of expression
(physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and others).
Tsubo is fascinating and mysterious, containing many layers: only through Tsubo the therapist can generate or support the deepest motion of energetic healing.
On the other hand, you may say that it does not exist.
One of the interpretations of the Japanese word Tsubo is "self-intention".
This interpretation implies its nature: a potential that becomes real through tuning in and mutual intention of giver and receiver.
I see it as one of the greater secrets for the success of the healing process – recognizing its potential, mutual intention, and allowing the movement that is created through it.
The pressing point can be “known”or “familiar” from ancient Chinese charts and writings.
Or it can be found somewhere between the known acupuncture points.
Hence Tsubo is communication, it appears in the moment of looking for it, knowing it exists there as a potential.
Therefore, a point on a meridian marked on the physical body can by meaningless and motionless – unless being specifically intended at.
The first step to activate this potential is recognizing the union that exists between giver and receiver.
The recognition that we both exist as singular beings that are part of the unified field, communicating with each other through reciprocal relations and the sharing of information in - conscious, energetic, emotional and mental levels.
That recognition of unity does not mean lack of personal borders, diminishing one being in the face of the other, or the leakage or absorption of energy from the other: recognition of the unity is recognizing reality of life, in which everything is interwoven, resonating and influencing its surroundings.
Recognition of the unity enables us to cancel and release an artificial hierarchy that exists many times in the therapeutic space that causes effort and lack of natural behavior that aims to "hide" the therapist from being transparent or exposed.
That recognition of unity enables a deep understanding of the meaning and essence of this meeting between giver and receiver: which part of me knows how to treat this specific case? What skills can I pull out from my broad tool box?
How does the "patient's story" meet me and is related to me?
What solutions have I created within me that can be relevant?
It happens in a glimpse of a moment, without any effort of thought, or search of written material.
It happens instantly through the unity. Whatever is relevant reveals itself. And therefore the recognition of unity enables trust and devotion, that the healing process is possible, natural, actual, and certain. It opens a horizon of potentials and possibilities, that can't be known in advance – a realm of deep healing.
Meridians are living, dynamic essences that communicate our many-layered energetic fields to our physical body. It is a multy-shaped network that reacts to communication, as every other living thing.
Tsubo reveals itself when my heart is with intention towards it, when my eyes are looking for it. My gaze forms it and gives it direction. Like in a game, it opens when I look for it. This is the second step.
The second step is actually a question. Where is the tsubo? Where are you, a point that I have pressed/needled so many times before? Where are you now?
The question "where is the tsubo" opens up a void within me.
A dense environment will not allow free movement.
What I know and learned is wonderful – and can also block me from noticing the new, the up to date, and this very moment.
It is essential for a therapist to be in a state of open and curious question in regard to the patient and the healing process. Years of studies, clinical experience, high skill enriches and builds the therapist – but also create a sense of saturation, a basis for conformity, firmness, a belief that
“I have seen it all and what's new?” boredom, even drowsiness.
As opposed to a known conception in the world of shiatsu, in which the Tsubo is "lackness"or "kyo"- rather, it expresses "void". Void contains potential for everything, hence enables high conductivity, and harmonic coordinated movement of Qi.
Like Tsubo, every acupuncture point is a gateway to a living realm, with which one should relate and communicate, and attune himself with. A point marked on a meridian chart is merely a possibility of an encounter that comes to life when acknowledging its essence.
My will to communicate with this pressure point is what revives it and causes it to “appear”.
It’s a gate that opens for a moment, full of optimal potential for movement – for the whole body, the whole system, for all its fields; physical, mental, emotional, energetic.
Through the Tsubo we communicate with all of the fields in one given moment; capable of supporting optimal motion in all the fields - as what appears and is expressed in one field, will always show up in the other fields.
Tsubo is a subtle portal to the primal healing energy, the vital original spark, the divine vitality that exists in all that is. In Shiatsu it is called "Seiki".
Seiki is light, and expands by nature.
This expansion grows as we pay attention to it.
We acknowledge Seiki inside us; recognize it in all that is – and follow the awakening, living movement with our consciousness, without directing it, without manipulating it, without putting our own will on it – rather with a gaze that is filled with respect for natural life movement, supporting it, allowing it and respecting it. Respecting the cycle of life here that is stronger than anything, a natural and ever-renewing flow by its very nature.
And here we reveal that illusive, ever changing nature of Tsubo that is so connected to our illusive and changing perception.
Since meridians are a dynamic living system, so are the points on it.
Like water in a river, Qi in our body is always in motion. Therefore, a gate that a moment ago allowed an entrance to a deep realm – moved and changed. Tsubo is no longer there.
One moment it's there open, and like a wave or a pulse, the next moment it's closed, open somewhere else, available and inviting.
In Shiatsu, same as in meditation, one can't "have it" in one's hands.
No grasping or holding. Instead, one wants to follow the change in energy and move along with it. When our mind is distracted or sleepy and we keep on pressing – it will be like trying to get in through a closed door, and will be felt in a more physical way not allowing depth.
The third step is not a real action. When I am alert, flexible, not holding on to what I "got", when my heart is devoted to the process, realizing it exists and I am only a witness to it, not determining it – in that way I can follow the tsubo movement.
It means that I might "go out" and press again, one millimeter away, again with a curious open question: where are you now?!
The will to accept
Tsubo is the will to accept. The will to accept, or "the demand", is an understanding of a cosmic principle that describes the motion of light, of life itself.
Light, healing Qi, Seiki – will always reach an "address". The address is the will to accept, or the demand, the place that opens with a question or a request.
In creation there is no waste of energy. Energy will always be directed where it is demanded.
That reveals another cosmic principle of receiving and giving: I'm open to what wishes to be received, I let it pass through me, I use it for my own development, and I pass it on. I was empowered and I will now empower others.
In the cultures which we grew up in, concepts of "accumulating", depletion of resources, absorption, competition over resources, over giving – are common.
The expression of these concepts in the mind and body of therapists is vast and regretful.
Most therapists I know are exhausted, absorbing or leaking (energy).
It is important to understand that in spite of good intentions, skill and knowledge – these are basic perceptual premises, which affect our being as humans and therapists.
In order to change them within us, we should first be aware of it, and be in a constant, honest process of self-development.
Recognizing the realm of earth – Gaya – and the law of gravity can assist in following the point that is "willing to accept".
Gravitation will always remind us of the direction, the will to let go, to give yourself up.
Tsubo is a magnet. And the speed of pressing Tsubo will express the giving in to gravitation.
Like following an apple falling from a tree, in accelerated speed, the therapist is following the speed of gravitation, not resisting it or trying to change it.
The natural movement will accelerate along with getting closer to the ground – and so will the entry into the Tsubo.
It’s a natural, harmonic, organic, proper movement. It will allow release, grounding, earthing, nourishment, rejuvenation.
The body, by nature, will always aspire to rejuvenate, to clear out non compatible energy, to expand what is alive and healthy.
It is less control or doing – and more following the natural process. That is the fourth step: following.
In Shiatsu healing happens in the gap between pressing and coming out.
In that moment when nothing is "done". It is subtle.
Action, or doing – are vibrating in a more condensed frequency.
It’s a whole new game.
My skill and my personal developmental process are the foundation for an effective treatment. And from that point, I simply want to offer my excellent tools and just be.
Not trying to change, to move, to solve – rather be with, support, escort, enable.
What a relief! It actually frees us therapists from our own ego, from "the story", and transforms the healing process into a partnership with shared responsibility – if chosen by both sides.
To follow is to let it exist.
To trust the process.
To let go and be free from comparison, duality, polarity, mostly with myself:
did I get it or not? A moment ago it was here and now it’s not, it's there, it's not there, it’s hopeless, it’s possible. And so on.
Releases the mind from providing a solution or finding an answer.
Releases the addiction to be the perfect listener, and instead, being aware of what is coming up and working with it.
Releases from over seriousness and heaviness, both known as great saboteurs in every motion of life.
It releases me from defining myself through what I know, or my skill. And instead – to offer all I know in service of healing. The healing motion exists, and I invite it to go through me.
Healing occurs within me, in my fields as well, as I choose to be simply present and transparent. Present and human. It brings so much strength, so many possibilities.
Recognition of unification.
An open question.