Sōtai Explained by Dr. Hashimoto’s son Keiji Hashimoto
Sōtai is a term that refers to the basic structure of the human body (muskulo-skeletal) and its natural ability to move and maintain balance. Sōtai is different from exercise because it distinguishes between balanced movement, which are natural to human beings as upright two legged animals, and that which is unnatural and causes physical distortions. The aim of Sōtai is to assist the body in maintaining its natural balance. Sōtai Therapy is a systematic method for introducing movements from the extremities to the spine to facilitate a functional balance.
The man who conceived of Sōtai and the practical methods that anyone can apply was Keizo Hashimoto M.D. (1897-1993). He studied Western medicine in Niigata, and during the early years of his practice he experienced traditional Japanese bodywork as well as Oriental medicine. After many years of study and practice he devised Sōtai Therapy, a unique approach to structural integration and health. His work became known throughout Japan in the 1980s.
Keizo Hashimoto M.D. held that Sōtai was not just a set of exercises or method of therapy, but that it was part of a deeper broader principle that embraced all of life. Once human beings are born, unless there are unusual problems, they are designed to live a healthy productive life. Usually people live their lives with little awareness of the four essential functions that govern human life, but no one can perform these for you. These essential functions are eating, breathing, moving, and thinking. These four functions are interrelated and occur simultaneously.
Also, living on earth we all move in relation to its gravitational force, we make use of the materials around us, and we relate to one another as human beings. In other words, we live and function in relation to our environment. There are certain principles in dealing with these aspects of our environment, and our body will distort and breakdown if we do not follow these principles.
We who live in this modern technological age must reconnect with the “natural laws of life” which is our unique and simultaneous interrelationship of ingestion, breath, movement, and thought. In so doing, we can reestablish a natural and effortless relationship with our environment. This restores and promotes our balance, health, and well being.