Flexible through meridian stretches

During my Shiatsu therapy training I learned about meridian stretches. We always started a training day with it and when I began to do them regularly at home, I instantly noticed the effect. I became flexible and fit. Sometimes, if I woke up tired, I would do the exercises and it immediately made me feel better. I also advise my clients to do the stretches at home and I am often told that they’re really beneficial to them, especially to those who regularly do the exercises.


Meridian stretching or Do In stretching is a Japanese form of body practice. The purpose of the exercises is to balance the energy in the meridians. Stress, exercise, nutrition and hereditary factors affect the energy balance in the body. Meridian stretches are simple exercises anyone can do, young and old. There are similarities with yoga poses, but this form of stretching focuses on the meridians (energy channels) in your body.

The meridian stretches are based on Chinese medicine. They rely on the five elements: earth, metal, water, wood and fire. For each element there is a stretch and you perform them in a specific order.

Five tips

It doesn’t take much time to do the meridian stretches. It is best to do them in the morning. Don’t do them every night, as you become super active and probably won’t be able to fall asleep anymore!

Tips for an optimal result:
o Use your breathing in all exercises, so that the energy can flow through.
o Perform the exercises with attention.
o It doesn’t matter how deep you can stretch or how flexible you are.
o It is best if you do each stretch three times.
o This is what they look like: www.zenshiatsu.nl/cms/meridiaanstrekking/.

Workshops and classes

At different places in Amsterdam there are workshops and classes available where you can learn the stretches under supervision. In my workshop Do In Stretching I also focus on the different functions of the meridians as well as general relaxation exercises, besides the stretches themselves. At the end you are given practice material so that you can do the stretches at home. For more information look on www.studioopenamsterdam.nl/workshops/do-in-stretching/.

Stay flexible with meridian stretches!

Photo credits: Jasper de Waal