Living Aligned

“At the heart of each of us exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm” – Mary Burmeister

At the heart of Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient, hands-on healing art revived in Japan in the early 1900s, exist the concepts of harmony and alignment. These words can be understood in many ways, such as “living in harmony with the flow of the universe” or “establishing alignment in the body.” While I’ll get into this further, I first want to state that my getting to participate in a Jin Shin Jyutsu seminar was, so to speak, a fluke of alignment, or an extremely fortuitous harmonization of many elements in my life.

I first learned about Jin Shin Jyutsu from a friend who had attended a seminar about 4 years before I embarked on mine; I had heard from her about the many ways in which her introduction to this ancient healing art had reconceptualized her view of the body and the role emotional health plays in physical healing. My past couple of years have been instrumental in my own learning in these elements, and I hope to someday have a career that integrates writing, counseling, or physical healing work. However, while I had done much of my own education into emotional and physical health, I had never been a part of a seminar expressly dedicated to healing in the way the Jin Shin one promised. Jin Shin Seminars happen all over the world, but respective regions tend to hold only one a year, if that. While searching for something for which to apply for the Changemaker Catalyst Award, I learned that a 5-day seminar, taught by the very same man with whom my friend had taken her seminar, was happening only 25 minutes away from my parents’ house in California, at one of the only times in the school year that would be opportune  for me to take off classes for a week. If I wanted to do a seminar at any other time, I would have to fly to an unknown location, find housing, and find a way to feed myself. This way, I could spend a week with my parents sharing and practicing everything I learned with them in the comfort of my home.

And thus, I applied for and received the grant and packed my bags for home. The first day was a further example of alignment; the seminar would be held in a reform Jewish congregation that I had grown up frequenting for retreats and trainings, and where my parents had previously spent many years watching bands featuring David Lindley play. Which is to say, it was already a place in my heart and heritage. I sat next to two older women – Chrissy and Terry – who were taking the seminar as a means of self help and to share with their grandchildren. In total, about 60 people were present, many of whom had flown from out of town and who spanned many age ranges. What struck me most, however, was that most of the attendees worked in the field of nursing, physical therapy, and hospice work. Furthermore, many of these health workers, employed by large corporations, desired a more personalized way to aid patients than the options offered by pharmaceuticals.

This brings me to what Jin Shin Jyutsu actually is. Translated as “Art of the Creator through man of knowing and compassion,” Jin Shin Jyutsu operates by using the hands as “jumper cables” to unlock blockages in energy pathways in the cells, which result in disharmony in our bodies and lead to disease, stagnation, mental illness, etc. While Jin Shin Jyutsu does not advocate for a replacement of allopathic medicine, by any means, it does abide by the fact that all humans have innate wisdom and capabilities to harmonize and balance ourselves mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. The application of Jin Shin Jyutsu can take anywhere from a couple of minutes up to an hour – it can be done in bed, in an office, or on a bus. It is as much a philosophy of connection to the world and understanding oneself as it is a hands-on technique.

The 26 "safety energy locks" of the human body, all of which correspond to different energies and functions within the body.
The 26 “safety energy locks” of the human body, all of which correspond to different energies and functions within the body.

I had for a long time been interested in alternative medicine, or what one might call the more esoteric qualities of traditional/ spiritual based healing. I have had many talks with people of all walks of life about their views on healing, from yoga instructors to doctors in the family to peers bound for med school. What I deeply appreciate about Jin Shin Jyutsu is that it advocates what works for each individual in a way that does not push a philosophy or a mindset. In the 5 long days I spent learning about energy centers in the body, origins of disease, and the humor with which one can approach healing, I was reminded of the powers of personalization – what works for one person might not prove effective for another. This is okay. We are all different expressions of the same energy, and we all take from different philosophies or modes of healing exactly what we need.

Five months after my seminar, I say with confidence that knowledge of Jin Shin Jyutsu has changed my life and that I have only touched the very tip of the iceberg of what this healing art can accomplish. Yet that tip of the iceberg incorporates all of the core tenants to trust oneself, to be kind, to remember that harmony is not inherently “better” than disharmony, that they both have their moments for teaching and growth as we expand to be more open-hearted, healthy people. Importantly, I met many people of various walks of life who I otherwise may not have come into contact with, and who introduced different paths that range from working in trauma units to private massage practice to simply using on Jin Shin as a means of connecting with and healing loved ones. I am deeply grateful for the individuals who dedicate their lives to teaching and sharing a way of being that opens so many pathways to expression, connection, and living in alignment with the desire for a healthier and more compassionate world.


The group of those who came from all over the country to learn!
The group of those who came from all over the country to learn!