Ki is a Japanese word which describes the life force that animates all living things. It has been described as the breath, spirit or nature of things. Transcending time and space, Ki is the basic creative energy in life.
Ki energy, which is cultivated and controlled within oneself, can be directed externally for the purpose of self defense and attack, as in the martial arts, or it can be directed internally for the purpose of health and longevity, healing, stress reduction, productivity and creativity as well as inner power and spiritual growth.
Ki Therapy deals with techniques which assist in the healing of the whole being and in the maintenance of health by balancing the energetic system. Following is an interview conducted by Vital Spark Co-ordinator Jo-Ann Valentine with Julian Hirabayashi, Director of the International Ki Institute, in Toronto.
Vital Spark Interview with Julian Hirabayashi
JV: What kind of therapies do you offer at the International Ki Institute?
JH: We combine ancient oriental therapies with the latest state-of-the-art technology to accelerate and enhance the body's ability to heal. The methods we use include Ki structural alignment, application of Ki by the therapist's hands and Ki transferring device, Ki massage, Ki exercises and stretching, acupuncture and Far-Infrared heat therapy.
JV: How does Ki therapy work?
JH: Ki energy is an inherent energy existing in every living human being. Like blood, Ki energy circulates throughout the body. Its conduits are the meridian systems. We believe that symptoms such as pain and discomfort as well as illness are signs that indicate an imbalance in the energy body. These signs may persist for a long time (chronic) and some for a short time (acute). Either way, we believe that as long as the balance is restored and maintained the signs or symptoms will diminish. Since illness first manifests at the energetic level, balancing the Ki energy and attuning the vibrations can bring back that balance which is necessary for wellness.
JV: What are the effects of Ki therapy?
JH: Oh, there are many - pain relief, relaxation of muscle tension, enhancement of vitality, reduction of stress and fatigue, improved immune system function, increased blood circulation, promotion of lymph flow, improved breathing, digestion and elimination, restored flexibility, harmonization of body, mind and spirit - and more!
JV: How does Ki therapy differ from Qi Gong or other systems of energy transmission?
JH: The names, of course, are different and there is a difference in the expression, training and manipulation but we are still dealing with the Universal Life Energy.
JV: You mentioned that you also use acupuncture. How does your method differ from Chinese acupuncture or is there any difference?
JH: The needles we use are thinner than those used in Chinese acupuncture and we use less stimulation. I took my acupuncture training in Canada but it is not my main healing modality. I focus mainly on the Ki therapy.
JV: How did you first become interested in Ki therapy, Julian?
JH: It was through a personal experience that I had. I was working as a Sushi chef and as a result of standing for long periods of time in a cold environment I developed severe back and knee pain. I tried many kinds of therapies without obtaining relief. My parents sent me a book about Ki which interested me very much. I went to Japan and found a therapist, Dr. Nakagawa, who later became my Ki master. After only two treatments with him I noticed a big improvement in my condition. On my return to Canada I decided that I wanted to learn more about Ki therapy. I went to Japan for training with Dr. Nakagawa where I learned to transmit the Ki energy and underwent 6 months of clinical training as well.
JV: Can anyone learn to transmit Ki or do only certain people have that ability?
JH: Anyone can learn. We all have the ability to transmit Ki in order to treat ourselves and to help others. Of course, we will be more effective in aiding others if we are balanced and in good health ourselves.
JV: How do you determine which modality is appropriate for your clients?
JH: Through consultation with the individuals. Sometime, just as in Western medicine, we try various techniques to determine what is best for the condition and we also combine techniques to suit the individual. I rely on client feedback also.
JV: To what extent do your clients participate in their own healing and wellness?
JH: The participation of the client is very important. At the International Ki Institute we encourage our clients to take an active role in their own healing for the restoration and maintenance of health.
JV: What type of conditions do you treat?
JH: The predominant conditions which I treat are stress related - back pain, shoulder pain, problems with joints and also sports injuries. Depression is also common. I use applications of light, in conjunction with other modalities, to treat depression.
JV: Is your training ongoing, Julian?
JH: Oh, yes. I am continuing to learn through my practice and by taking courses. My clients are my best teachers!
JV: Do you conduct any research?
JH: I am in contact with Ki masters in Hawaii, Boston, New York and Japan. We have a network for exchanging ideas and sharing results. In the past we have held various conferences and symposia.
JV: I am intrigued by something you mentioned earlier when you were listing the various therapies that you offer at your centre. Can you please tell me about the Far-Infrared (FIR)?
JH: Certainly. First let me explain what FIR is and then how we use it in treating our clients. FIR is a portion of the light that is given off by the sun. Everything on earth absorbs this FIR light as energy. It is crucial for health, production and growth of all living things. FIR energy can be captured in such a way that we can maximize its beneficial qualities to help us feel better and relieve many of our discomforts and aches. When any tissue in the body is exposed to FIR waves, whether radiated from the sun or reflected by specially coated fabrics or ceramic powder, there is a rapid increase in warmth which can be shown by thermograph.
At the Ki Institute we use a device call the FIR Health Builder, a portable device which fits over the part of the body to be treated like a tent. It is capable of reaching 75 degrees C and the temperature is automatically controlled by a built-in regular to maintain a set temperature and preclude any chance of overheating.
JV: How does the FIR stimulate the healing process?
JH: Well, it increases blood flow by promoting dilation of the micro circular system and reduces muscle spasms as muscle fibres are heated naturally. It also removes toxins from the site receiving FIR waves and improves lymph flow which is important in reducing swelling and inflammation.
JV: That sounds great! Are there any instances when FIR is not appropriate?
JH: Yes, there are. The FIR device should not be used if a person has any acute disease, open sores, a serious heart condition, is using a pace-maker or has serious high blood pressure. I recommend that persons seeking alternative therapies check with their physician or specialist and also that they reveal all of their medical information to the therapist. That way we can avoid any complications.
JV: Can you tell me something about the Ki transferring device that you mentioned earlier?
JH: I use the High-Genki Ki transferring device which was developed by Dr. Masato Nakagawa, my Ki master, who is world recognized for his work and research. The device works as an antenna and transfers only selective frequencies of Ki which are required to enhance well being. It irradiates three Ki components - negative ion, magnetic impulse and a type of electromagnetic wave that is composed of other unidentified matter. By applying High-Genki to designated points on the body, energy fields are revitalized and the body returns to a state of wellness. From data accumulated, we have discovered that it is effective on most diseases without giving negative reactions and the applications are completely painless.
JV: Is the Ki energy that is transmitted from the High-Genki as effective as the Ki which emanates from a therapist?
JH: Yes, the Ki emitted by the High-Genki is about as powerful as those energies discharged by Ki therapists. I use the High-Genki in conjunction with my other modalities.
JV: Julian, thank you very much for taking the time to explain the methods of treatment you offer at your centre.
JH: You're welcome. It has been my pleasure.
The International Ki Institute is located at 118 Eglinton Avenue, West, Suite 440, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4R 2G4. The office hours are Monday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. by appointment only.
To make an appointment or for more information please call 416-483-2460.