NEUTRAL BASE therapist Mr. Yohei Yamashita, Interview 1
Mr. Yamashita, a therapist who has examined all kinds of human bodies, will explain “the visible body and the invisible body”.
Mr. Yamashita has been working as a therapist in the Kanto region (Eastern Japan) for almost 20 years, having treated over 70,000 clients, and is now practising in Bengaluru, India.
Mr. Yamashita’s homepage can be found (here).
Treatment by means of acupuncture and moxibustion, manual therapy and therapeutic exercise aims to lead both the body and mind to a neutral state by focussing on the habits of the unconscious body through the everyday activities of the client. In the treatment, their alignment is adjusted, their energy is regulated, and their adhesions are detached.
Mr. Yamashita, from the experience of having seen many clients, is able to understand is likely to understand what’s happening where and what symptoms are being expressed by just touching it a little.
Even I am in his debt for having been saved countless times by his mastery over the treatment and his accurate advice related to everyday movements and posture.
Upon viewing Mr. Yamashita’s profile, he says that he cured his own intestinal obstruction through Tai Chi and Yoga. I will start by asking what his experience of healing himself as a therapist was like.
[Successfully removing adhesions of internal organs using Tai Chi and Yoga]
Sarasvat (S) : Mr. Yamashita, I believe that you have been focussing on treating adhesion (fascial adhesion) for many years, but when was it that you removed the adhesion in your own body?
Yamashita (Y) : It was 14 years ago in 2003 that I realised that I definitely had an adhesion. I almost removed it in 2009. I removed it completely in 2010. I removed the worst one on the right hip joint, and thanks to that, the intestinal obstruction was cured.
The intestines were stuck together. I can say that I was able to removed that adhesion.
S : So, you’re saying that it wasn’t because of any specific reason, but that they gradually became stuck since you were born?
Y : My mother said that I used to drag my foot since I could stand till I was about one and a half years old, so I think probably there was something wrong with my right leg from the beginning. I think something happened when I was born, and the movement was poor. Because I was walking in a way that kept it protected, my buttocks were protruding and my back was bent, so the hip-joint’s surroundings caused an adhesion. Because of this, the movements of my large intestine and small intestine were severely restricted, and it developed into a condition known as intestinal obstruction.
While I was trying to remove my own adhesion, the clients who were observing the treatment all came to realise that they themselves had adhesions.
Conversely, in the case of gynaecological diseases for example, such as adhesions between muscle tissue and gynaecological organs, or a pelvis tilted completely forward, the problems involving the adhesion of internal organs are said to be very high. If they are corrected, everything might be cured. Well, there are many things involved, such as the environment, but talking about what we can do here, that’s about it.
S : Apart from removing your own adhesion, did you keep practising Yoga and Tai Chi during that time?
Y : Yes, I did! I was fond of Tai Chi. I’m still fond of it, even to this day. Although I look stupid waving a cane around while practicing Tai Chi whenever I’m free!
S : You’re carrying one today too, right?
Y : I thought I’d wave it a little when I’m free. (laughs)
When I started, I really couldn’t make the same poses as my teacher. No matter what I did. When it came to Tai Chi, even if I could replicate the movements of my teacher, when he used a technique on an opponent, for example, my teacher would blow off the opponent easily, but I couldn’t do it no matter how I did it. If I think about why that used to happen, I suppose the reasons would include things like that perhaps my alignment was bad after all, or that because of the adhesion my lower back would stick out or my shoulder would be raised, and so on.
I kept chasing after Tai Chi because such things were interesting to me, but if I were to think of catching up with my Tai Chi teacher, it would end up taking 10 or 20 years. I thought of getting around that somehow so I used Yoga. To remove the adhesion and catch up quickly.
S : I see.
Y : I apologise to the people who practise Yoga with a lot of effort and dedication, but I merely used it as I needed to. It was a tool for me. Eventually, while I was practising it, I was somewhat able to understand what people mean when they say that they’re practising it. Looking at it objectively. One might not be able to look at it that way if one becomes engrossed after entering into Yoga.
[Being connected to the universe, and the role of Yoga in realising this]
S : Could you please explain a little bit about Yoga from the basics?
Y : When you say Yoga, the word root of its meaning is YUJU in Sanskrit, which means to tie, or to connect. If you ask what is it that is tied, there are people who say that it is the body and mind, but it’s not just that – there is also a way of thinking that says that the body of flesh is something that is borrowed, that inside it there is an soul or spirit that perpetually exists in eternity, which has now borrowed a human body by chance and come to the earth. I think that Yoga was used to realise that the part of oneself that perpetually exists – but is not an object – is connected to what is called Brahman, which is also identical to the universe.
S : How should one understand ‘Brahman’ in more detail?
Y : The topmost rank in caste is Brahman, and also, the three major gods of Hinduism are Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The Brahman I am talking about here is the idea of Brahman. It refers to all of that. It is said that if humans are the microcosm, everything that exists is the macrocosm – this seems to be based on the philosophy that in reality they are one and the same, like in monism.
Meditation was used to connect the universe to oneself. I suppose that people who used to do yoga realised that while meditating, it is best to minimise the burden on the spine, keeping it as straight as possible in a sitting position without falling asleep. While putting all their effort into that, I think it was probably hard for them to sit in any position at all, right?
S : I suppose they couldn’t sit for long.
Y : Yes, yes. Asana is a sitting posture. It means to sit. When it started, Asanas used to be kneeling postures, or sitting with folded legs, and variations of such sitting postures. In modern times, many other postures have come to be spread as ‘Asanas’, and that is because the old ones are tough on the body. I think it’s okay to think of it like this – that the new Asanas developed to do something about that, to make the body be able to withstand sitting for long periods.
[Fascia, connective tissue that runs across the body]
S : We were talking about how Yoga is effective in removing adhesion and you said that while performing the treatment you were were conscious of moving the ‘fascia’, the key to adhesion. Could you explain what fascia is and what connection it has to the effectiveness of Yoga?
Y : There is something called connective tissue or fascia. Between skin and muscle, there is called soft tissue or connective tissue, and it wasn’t understood very well until now. Some physical therapists used to think that there must be a film or something, but they came to be able to clearly observe that it actually connects the whole body like a net. If anything moves, the whole fascia has to move. When it moves, everything is affected. Because it’s a net. When they used to perform a finger pressure massage, acupuncture and moxibustion, or therapeutic exercise on their clients, physical therapists could intuitively sense its presence as if it were common sense.
For example, when something hurts, of course the place where it hurts is somehow out of order, but when you think about why it hurts…if a person wearing full-body tights is wearing another pair inside, if the tights underneath aren’t aligned, then he or she feels uncomfortable, isn’t it? As if the tights have been glued or something. In an adhesion, something like the fascia being twisted ends up happening. If that keeps getting worse, it starts to hurt. I think that the role of Asanas is to break bad postural habits, and fix one’s posture by reconstructing it.
That’s what I think when I perform it, and have been doing it that way.
Before the term fascia was clarified, I used to talk about adhesion a lot, but I think that maybe the people of China actually sensed what is called the flow, or the existence of fascia as energy pathways or as running muscle tissue.
What is Fascia
This post is also available in Japanese.