Jin Shin Jyutsu®, An Art for Everyone

We have all seen the commercials, the ones that tout a great new remedy for your ailment. A new, simple fix that is within reach and available from your doctor is yours for the asking. Beautiful people cavort on the screen, implying that everything is there within your reach, if you just follow the directions on the package. Near the end we hear the disclaimers, listing all of the interesting side effects that may occur. Many of these seem worse than the project you are trying to be free of.

We also see many people who are struggling with physical complaints. Fortunately, there are an abundance of modalities that can be used to support us in attaining wellness. Some involve physical manipulation of tissue, some involve working with delicate lymph, and some that work with the mysterious, unknowable forces that animate us.

Jin Shin Jyutsu is in the realm of the latter. Roughly translated Jin (Man) Shin (Creator) Jyutsu (Art) is the Art of the Creator through a Compassionate (Hu) Man. It has also been called The Art of Living, The Art of Happiness and The Art of Benevolence.

The beginnings of Jin Shin Jyutsu are as old as human memory; using hands, awareness and breath to revitalize the being. While it has been passed from generation to generation through oral tradition and art, it was relatively obscure until the early part of the 1900’s. It was at that time that scientist, Jiro Murai, began to work with the materials available and his own experiences to document and expand the written records.

Jiro’s dedication to this work was predicated his own near fatal illness. Using the basics, hand mudras that he had seen in his studies, his breath and his focus, he was able to move through his illness. He would go on to live a long and productive life, eventually passing in his 70’s.

One of his students, Mary (Aino) Burmeister would study with him and bring the Art to the United States. She would continue to correspond with him until his death and share Jin Shin Jyutsu in America through lectures and classes. She would also bring new insight into the routines provided by Jiro Murai and wrote several important books on the subject.

This safe, noninvasive work allows the practitioner to use light fingertip pressure, over clothing, with the client laying supine or sitting in a chair. The work involves stillness, for the client as well as for the practitioner. Healing is accessed through a harmonizing of the person’s own “rhythm of life”.

What can be expected when receiving a session of Jin Shin Jyutsu? A session will generally last 50-60 minutes. The practitioner will use many of the same skills as a traditional massage therapist to determine the most effective selection of hand placements. Included will be what the client tells us and what we see visually, as well as using fingertips at the client’s wrists like many other Eastern modalities. The client will then rest comfortably in whatever position is most comfortable for their situation. The practitioner will lightly touch specific locations based on the information gained. A client will generally feel relaxed. Beyond that, the client experience can vary significantly. Some will drift off into a peaceful sleep because the fatigue they have been carrying is freed up to be released. Some may find quiet clarity to their mental activities. Some may become more aware of feelings in their bodies.

What is especially helpful about Jin Shin Jyutsu is that it provides the client with many tools that can be used for self-care. These practices are easy to remember, simple to apply and can yield immediate benefit. Once their session is complete, the learning from that time can be used to select the most effective self-help and the client can continue the experience on their own in their daily habits.

In working with clients over the past 20 years, I have seen tremendous transformations. Some occur slowly and gradually over time. Some seem like the stuff of miracles, sudden and absolute. I never know how a session will unfold. I never know what my role of practitioner and observer will reveal.

In addition to working with individuals on a wide range of issues, it is clear that this option is especially helpful for individuals with physical issues such as burns, sensitivities to oils or lotions or with any types of skin conditions that preclude traditional forms of massage. It is true that because of its noninvasive and gentle nature it also helpful for clients who are sensitive to touch for emotional reasons, such as survivors of incest or sexual trauma. And finally, I have seen great benefits in working with clients who have experienced other types of traumatic events because this quiet and peaceful work allows them to become more present in their bodies and to feel a sense of relief.

There are no age limits to receiving Jin Shin Jyustu. It is inherent and once we learn about the specific locations and their benefit we can become aware of the many occasions that individuals use Jin Shin Jyutsu self-care without thought or planning.

Jin Shin Jyutsu can be provided in almost any setting. It adapts well to critical care situations, hospital setting, outpatient treatment centers, nursing homes, individual homes, alcohol/drug recovery centers, as well as in a private practice setting. All that is required is a quiet place in which the receiver can sit or lay down and room for a chair or cushion for the provider. As massage therapists, the physical nature of our work can sometimes become more difficult as we grow older. Jin Shin Jyutsu, however, is also gentle and noninvasive for the practitioner. Mary worked into her eighties, while one of her best friends retired from practice this year at ninety six.

I find that my practice of the Art has grown deeper and more mature with the passing of the years. I feel that the quiet that it fosters within myself helps me to feel younger, more relaxed, more at peace in my body.

There are many resources to begin the journey of learning Jin Shin Jyutsu. The very best web resource is https://www.jsjinc.net. Mary Burmeister has provided all of us with three books: Jin Shin Jyutsu IS, Know Myself IT IS, and Know Myself IT IS, IS as well as a children’s book, FUN with Happy Hands. In addition, she wrote two text books. These are available upon completion of the Jin Shin Jyutsu 5 Day Basic Seminar.

One of Mary’s instructors, Waltraud Riegger-Krause, created “Health Is In your Hands” which includes a set of flash cards suitable to all levels of learners, from new to the Art to practitioner with many years of experience.

Mary Burmeister’s daughter in law, Alice Burmeister wrote “The Touch of Healing”, which is a beautiful book that goes into detail about Jin Shin Jyutsu.

Judith Andry, a long time student and friend of Mary Burmeister has offered “A Touching Goodbye” which is a tremendous resource for caregivers. In addition to the book, there is a free download on the website titled Art of Gentle Touch – Natural Positive Self Help for People with Cancer. I use this resource very often because the information contained within its pages is not just useful for individuals and caregivers who are working with cancer, but for anyone wishing to learn and practice Jin Shin Jyutsu for any issue.

Classes are also offered worldwide by trained instructors and there is a schedule available on the website. In addition to those, introductory and self-help classes are offered locally by trained instructors like myself.

Research continues to reveal that healing modalities that have been practiced over the years are, in fact, effective. The website has copies of available articles and research for free download.

You Tube has both good and not so good resources. I can certainly recommend any video by Jennifer Bradley who is working with The Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky, offering Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ), an ancient form of touch therapy, free to its patients.

The very best part of Jin Shin Jyutsu is that each of us has everything that we need to practice Jin Shin Jyutsu for ourselves. Our awareness, our breath, our hands and a desire to learn is all that is required. How wonderful!