Jin Shin Do® Acupressure is a transformational process that integrates Eastern and Western modalities. It was developed, beginning in the early 1970s, by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden. Besides taking classes in Jin Shin Jyutsu with Mary Burmeister, Iona studied East Asian health arts with Michio Kushi, Jacques de Langre, Shui Wan Wu and Kok Yuen Leung, Sung Jin Park, Johng Kyu Lee, Se Han Kim, and Jean-Claude Thomas. In 1976, she spent three months in Japan, which included studies with Dr. Haruki Kato, a student of Jiro Murai, the originator of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, M.A., L.M.F.T., AOBTA® CI, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM®) eventually integrated aspects from a number of traditional practices to create a transformational process she called Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure®.
Jin Shin Do means “The Way of the Compassionate Spirit.” It recognizes that the inner spirit that resides in the heart—called Shin in Japanese and Shen in Chinese—has a strong influence on both the body and the emotions, and that verbal interaction and emotional processing can help release physical and emotional tension.
Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® uses gentle yet deep finger pressure on specific acupoints and verbal Body Focusing techniques to help release “armoring” or chronic tension, balance the qi (chi) or energy, and improve vitality. This clothes-on method helps relieve stress- and trauma-related problems. A unique synthesis of a traditional Japanese Acupressure technique, classic Chinese Acupuncture and Acupressure theory, Taoist philosophy, qi gong (breathing and exercise techniques), Reichian segmental theory, and principles of Ericksonian psychotherapy, it is recognized as a major form of Asian Bodywork Therapy by NCCAOM® (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) and AOBTA® (American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia) among others.
The form of Acupressure used in Jin Shin Do is unique in that focuses on both the twelve primary meridians and the eight energy channels (four yin and yang pairs) called strange flows or extraordinary meridians. These extraordinary vessels include a pair of regulating channels, a pair of bridge channels, a belt channel and a penetrating channel, and the governing and conception vessels. The energy in these strange flow channels is a reservoir that the regular meridians can call on when uneven energy distribution needs balancing.
Initial assessment of the meridians includes pulse reading, questioning and listening to the client, and assessing the tension by palpating (slowly feeling) important points in the neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, and back. Iona’s “Emotional Kaleidoscope” diagram maps the relationship of about 100 emotions and feelings with the Chinese five elements and organ meridians, and so assists the practitioner in locating tense points that need release and meridians that need to be balanced. For the “Emotional Kaleidoscope” diagram plus explanations and case stories, see Iona’s second book on Acupressure: The Joy of Feeling: Bodymind Accupressure® (1987). Iona Marsaa Teeguarden is also the author of Acupressure Way of Health (1978) and A Complete Guide to Acupressure (1996, revised in 2003).
Using mostly the fingertips and thumbs, and relying on precise point location and firm, direct pressure delivered at specific angles, Jin Shin Do aims to release tense and armored points and facilitate the flow of the released energy along the strange flow channels so that they can better balance and harmonize the twelve primary meridians. JSD also offers bodymind awareness techniques such as qi gong breathing meditations and methods of engaging cognitive resources that enable the client to actively participate in the release process, as well as methods of disengaging the smart brain so as to get in touch with the bodymind. Jin Shin Do® Acupressure promotes a pleasurable, trancelike state during which the recipient can get in touch with feelings or emotions that may be related to physical conditions.
After objectives are discussed, a treatment session most often begins with work on the neck and shoulders to help the client relax and to open up avenues of awareness and communication. Throughout the session, the client is gently encouraged to focus on the breath, and on tense points and places of comfort, in order to be more aware of the shifting conditions within the bodymind. The client may feel the change in energy flow as a pleasant pulsing stream or tingle.
The practitioner applies gentle but firm pressure to combinations of acupoints by using one hand to hold the blocked point on a meridian and the other hand to hold one or more distal points that help its release because they are functionally related, often because they are on the same meridian or vessel. Pressure is applied slowly, and tense points are held for a few minutes to allow the deep release of tension. As the treatment progresses, pressure can be increased for deeper penetration as permitted by the recipient’s tolerance for pressure or by the release process. The simultaneous holding of two points provides a more effective release at the blocked point and a general balancing effect, caused in part by the creation of an oscillating current between the two points. The gentle yet deep finger pressure softens tissue without forcing muscles and relieves blockage and tension without causing pain. The acupoints and meridians are located in interfascial spaces—spaces within the connective tissue, or fascia, that envelop all the organs and muscles. Because of this interconnection, the benefits are easily transmitted throughout the whole body.
At the end of the session, it is particularly important to hold a series of vital points in the shoulder and neck. Then important points on the central channel are held, and the feet are massaged for grounding.
Jin Shin Do® Acupressure can also be self-applied, and it is effective even at a basic level. An International Directory of Registered Jin Shin Do® Acupressurists and Authorized Jin Shin Do® Teachers and information on booklets, charts, CDs and DVDS, and the user-friendly Jin Shin Do® teaching method are available.
Contact: Jin Shin Do® Foundation for Bodymind Acupressure® – jinshindo.org
This modality comes from “Our Inner Ocean”, a book by Captain LeCain W. Smith: The author, LeCain W. Smith, learned early in life that his personal path to awakening was through ocean sailing, bodywork, and transformational energetic experiences. When living on the sea, making friends with the elements and with nature, he uncovered his passion for adventure, exploration, fitness, and health. He spent many years studying and experiencing bodywork and practicing yoga, qigong, breath-work, and meditation. This passion, combined with seeing numerous friends struggle with health problems, eventually drove Smith to reach out and help others through the writing of this book. If this endeavor changes the life of only one person, he will consider it a success.
Good health is something we all aspire to, but it’s so much more than just being free of disease. A perfectly functioning body, tranquil mind, and vibrant spirit working together harmoniously create the joy and happiness that put the good in good health and the worth into a life worth living. Our Inner Ocean describes ancient and new holistic modalities of practitioner-applied bodywork and revitalizing self-care practices.