The following was submitted for publication in the UK Yoga Magazine December 2022 edition.
FINDING THE NEW IN THE ANCIENT
Touching into the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu
by Carlyse Smyth and Cheli Mula
Jin Shin Jyutsu may be variously explained as a “light-touch therapy”, an extension of or pre-cursor to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and at its heart it transcends these attempts to contain it. Just as Yoga, “unity”, is a part of the tradition of ancient wisdom so Jin Shin Jyutsu may also be seen as a part of the tradition of ancient wisdom.
Jin Shin Jyutsu may be more fully understood as an expression of the fundamental principles of Life itself – the Breath. It is the story of the Exhale and Inhale; the movement of the Breath as it creates, transforms and sustains all aspects of MYSELF.
In the early years of the 20th century in Japan, Jiro Murai committed himself to the rediscovery of the underlying principles that had resulted in his recovery from a life-threatening condition. His life was dedicated to experiencing, practicing, researching, and coming to better understand the life-containing energy system that each one of us is. To pass this knowledge on to others, in his later years he began to codify his understanding. He named his work – Jin Shin Jyutsu. Among his students was a young American woman of Japanese descent, Mary Burmeister. On first meeting her he asked if she would take “a gift” from Japan to America. A gift, rising phoenix-like from an ancient land recovering from the aftermath of war, to a place encountering a new world-stage with uncertain eyes. Mary Burmeister dedicated her life to the translation and dissemination of this “gift” fulfilling her commitment to her teacher, Jiro Murai. This gift, passing from Jiro Murai, to and through Mary Burmeister, to her students, and from her students to another generation of students, is now available around the world.
Mary Burmeister translated the name Jin Shin Jyutsu in her Self-Help Book 1: “Jin is man of KNOWING, compassion; Shin is Creator; Jyutsu is art (Creator’s art personally for MYSELF.)”. And, she wonderfully left us to play with these three aspects of the name to find our own meaningful combinations.
The practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu involves a simple touch. The hands applied to combinations of 26 Energetic Areas on the body. Jiro Murai called them “ki ten”( ) and Mary Burmeister named them “Safety Energy Locks”. These 26 Energetic Areas (26 on the left and 26 on the right) together with the core Main Central Energy of our system form a trinity. It is through this trinity energy that we may access the fundamental energy that is constantly generating and regenerating. The easeful movement of this trinity energy, ascending and descending from head to toe and toe to head, may then express itself as a feeling of health and well-being in our lives. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, we access this trinity energy through simply placing our hands on specific combinations of these areas on the body. A session with a practitioner can be up to one hour.
There are many different routines that can be utilized for self or others. One such routine carries the name: Self-Help Main Central. You can be sitting, reclining, lying down or even standing whichever position is most comfortable for you.
Whether we go to a practitioner for a session or engage in our own self-help routines, the principles of the practice are the same: place the hands gently (no pressure or massage is needed); relax to whatever degree is possible in the moment; do nothing. Be the observer. Stop, Look within, Listen. Simple instructions, aren’t they?
Each student may find through direct experience, the potential for an opening into their own personal connection with the inner knowing of Self. The Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu is in-built into the energetic system of life. Our hands are the vehicle by which we can access and rediscover a sometimes-forgotten world within. It is a deep connection to our core nature.
“My brother introduced me to Jin Shin Jyutsu. Of course, at the time I did not know its name. He just said he would like to practice something he was learning and would I be willing to receive a session. I simply said “yes”. We were at my father’s house at one of our family gatherings. We found relative quite in a front room and I laid down on the floor. My brother knelt beside me and began by placing his hands gently on two areas. From time to time he would move his hands. He was curious and asked, ‘Carlyse do you feel anything?’ I think I said something about feeling a little relaxed. I don’t know how much time elapsed. There was no drum-roll, no trumpet sounding, nothing to herald the coming change. I was simply lying there normally. I never knew I was asthmatic. I thought everyone breathed as I did through a wall of water we call the lung. And then in the next moment I received the first clear breath of my life. Some might call it a miracle. I only know that all changed in that moment. For me, Jin Shin Jyutsu was and is, literally, the Breath of Life. And so began my own study of this Art which has now been a part of my everyday life for more than 40 years. Each day my experience of it is new and constantly re-newing.”
The experience of Jin Shin Jyutsu is different from person to person. Often there is a sense of deep relaxation, akin to a meditative state. As energy is made available from the core, it may provide the space to wait patiently for answers. Answers to core questions: Where is my focus? Is this thought-action useful? How am I engaging with life? Jin Shin Jyutsu may be help with inquiry through reducing all to the simplicity of touch. A touch that opens us to a new awakening awareness.
Cheli Mula is a long-time Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner and creator of Health-in-the-city, complementary therapies in the heart of London. www.healthinthecity.co.uk
Carlyse Smyth is an instructor and 35-year practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu living and practicing in the Greater London Area. www.csmythjsj.com