What is do-In?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2019
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Do-in is a self-massage technique which is designed to address specific physical issues, in addition to maintaining general physical and spiritual wellness. It is also sometimes known as tao yinn or tao y'in. Classes in this technique are offered at some wellness centers, spas, and facilities which offer instruction in Eastern philosophy and medicine. After taking classes, students can usually practice do-in on their own, sometimes using flashcards or a book to guide their sessions.

This practice has roots which are thousands of years old. The term translates as “gentle approach to the way,” and as this suggests, do-in is a very gentle, relaxed form of body work which incorporates breathing exercises and gentle conscious touch. Practitioners can either follow a set series of movements accompanied with a breathing exercise, or they can adjust their do-in repertoire to focus on a specific issue.

Do-in relies on a commonly-held belief in Eastern philosophy that people (and other living beings) are filled with a flow of energy or life force which is known as qi. Imbalances in qi are supposed to create physical and emotional imbalances, and many traditional medical treatments focus on correcting such imbalances and promoting a healthy flow of qi throughout the body. Learning to harness and focus that energy is also an important part of martial arts practice.


In a do-in session, someone breathes deeply and consciously, trying to chamber energy at the dantien, the body's core. At the same time, the fingers, palms, and fists are used to gently manipulate the body. The practitioner may tap at specific sites, roll the knuckles across stubborn aches, and so forth, trying to free the flow of energy in the body while stopping to address sites which need work.

This self-massage should ideally be carried out in relaxed conditions with plenty of time to focus on the body, but abbreviated sessions can also be used to help relieve stress in the middle of the day or during a tense situation. The idea behind do-in is that people have a natural capacity to heal themselves when they are shown the way, and that caring for the body also helps to care for the spirit or soul. Even for people who do not necessarily believe this, do-in techniques can certainly be integrated into a self-care regimen to reduce aches and pains or stress.



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