For most people in the west, this is a different way for a bodywork session to begin. Assessment of the hara is important because it allows a trained practitioner to tailor the treatment according to each individual. Hara diagnosis is not a straightforward matter. It takes a great deal of experience to develop an accurate sense of weak and excess ki in meridians as they manifest in the hara. Beyond sensing the quality of the tissue in the reflex areas (tight, hard, soft, empty) a trained practitioner also senses their energetic state and then compares them to other reflex areas to determine what is most out of balance. From here, the shiatsu practitioner applies pressure along the meridians that show the greatest imbalance.