Pressure points on the body
'Wanna buy a duck?'

'There's one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him. If he says yes, you know he is a crook'                -- Groucho Marx

I will not embarrass myself by pretending to know what ki is. Very few people do, in my estimation. But a vague awareness of ki pervades the literature of bodywork, and I believe it's safe to talk around it with what we do know.

A respect for the literature of the ages tells us there's a force in and around the body that operates at an energetic level separate from our traditional body systems. It has gone by the name of ki, chi, qi, prana, or even
elan vital or one's 'constitution.'

Clogged up ki

As with a stream that gets clogged up with branches and rocks and beaver dams, the free flow of ki through our bodies tends to get discombobulated. Pressure techniques developed over the centuries claim a degree of effectiveness in releasing these blockages.

Beaver dam
Steaming rice

Unfortunately, there are volumes of
information on the topic, most of it being over-information, obtuse information, and often downright dis-information. How does one extract the key elements of ki theory and incorporate it into a powerful
massage? How do we embody something we don't fully understand?

The pictograph for ki is said to resemble a steaming rice pot. Ki is sometimes
translated as 'breath power' or even 'soul'.

Let's look at some recurring themes that run across the literature on various forms of finger pressure. First, and perhaps foremost, the vital information about ki resists intellectualization (as does yoga). You have to do it to understand it and you have to
apprehend it at a higher level of thinking than we ordinarily get by with day to day. We have to get it with a higher function of mind (not the part that likes to "figure things out"), one that's developed by empathy. That should suit our purposes rather well, because ki won't even respond to the machinations of the mind, which are usually driven by the desire for self-gain anyway. Ki will only
respond to empathic touch.

Next, there's an element of the sacred as we assist the energy channels to do their work more efficiently. For instance, some of the earliest writings on Thai massage, some of it carved into walls, were considered sacred text. And for many centuries, the practice of massage in Thailand was confined to Buddhist temples. In ancient Egypt, massage was taught in temples as a sacred art. In
effect, our massage room becomes a type of temple, and I don't care if it's located in a trailer home. What counts is that we're
creating a safety zone that no one else is
allowed to penetrate without being invited.

Ancient Thai temple

Next page