Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Health & Balance Through Natural Movement
Sotai is a method of movement therapy that originated in Japan. It was developed to enable humans to adapt to their circumstances and environment by harmonizing physical movement, mental activity, respiration and ingestion. Most specifically, Sotai exercise deals with the integration of breathing and natural movement.
In Sotai, tiring and painful movements are avoided. Gentle movements are made in the most comfortable direction. Principles of natural movement are applied through mobility examination (Doshin) to determine the direction of least resistance. Flexing, extending, rotating and articulating the joints in question in all different directions allows us to take note of different sensations and restrictions in certain ranges of motion.
While exhaling the breath, movement in the comfortable direction is made slowly (against light resistance if done with the assistance of a therapist). When the extent of the person’s comfortable range of mobility is reached, that position is held for a few seconds, after which tension is released all at once, wherein the therapeutic effect takes place.
Complete relief or reduction of pain and discomfort is most often experienced as a result of this method. When practiced regularly, subtle shifts in a person’s structural alignment are observed as the body rebalances itself. This can also relieve mental and physical symptoms arising from organic disorders, as well as reducing restrictions in mobility that have developed as the result of various causes.
In Sotai, active movement is the kind of motion that is used. This means the person actively makes the movement themselves, rather than having a therapist move their body while they remain passive. Synchronizing breathing and slow, controlled movements help the body learn how to better coordinate during the more complex actions of life.
Sotai is a form of therapy created by the late Dr. Keizo Hashimoto M.D. of Sendai, Japan. He developed it through his study of various forms of traditional Japanese medicine in concert with his knowledge of modern medicine and science. Dr. Hashimoto's vision was to create an effective form of exercise therapy that anyone could learn to heal their own bodies.