The Art of Jin Shin by Alexis Brink
Updated: Feb 12
Balance your body, mind, and spirit and heal yourself with your own hands using this clear, step-by-step illustrated guide to the practice of the ancient Japanese healing art of Jin Shin -- written by a trained expert with nearly three decades of experience.
You might be surprised to learn that the majority of today's most common ailments including anxiety, backaches, colds and flu, digestive issues, immune disorders, migraines, and insomnia, can be alleviated naturally by restoring and harmonizing blocked, stagnant energy. The art of Jin Shin, based on the Japanese healing art of energy medicine, is practiced throughout the world. While related to acupressure and massage therapy, this holistic practice uses only minimal pressure and gentle touching with the fingers and hands to redirect or unblock the flow of energy along the body's fifty-two points (twenty-six on each side of the body) -- called Safety Energy Locations, or SELs -- areas where energy tends to get congested. This simple, non-invasive process allows your body's energy to flow smoothly, and with balance restored, you will experience a sense of wellbeing and calm.
The Art of Jin Shin explains all the basics of this healing art and provides you with the knowledge you need to practice it on yourself -- with exercises ranging from simply holding a finger for a few minutes to spending twenty minutes to harmonize a specific circulation pattern. Whether you desire a deeper understanding of the body/mind/spirit connection or want to create a daily Jin Shin maintenance routine the power is literally at your fingertips.
I was so excited to see a brand new book on the energy work I learned years ago called Jin Shin Jyutsu®. Since then, the Jin Shin Institute has updated to use the English word "art" in the name rather than "jyutsu" which is usually confused with "jitsu" and martial arts. Now western practitioners are allowed to say "Jin Shin" or "the art of Jin Shin". I love my original texts -- spiral bound books with Mary Burmeister's drawings and my own notes filling every space. I would have loved an additional text like this one by Alexis Brink back then.
Brink includes the history of Jin Shin as founded by Jiro Murai. It follows the motivation he had in finding a cure for his ailing body. He then taught two students, Dr. Haruki Kato and Mary Burmeister. Kato continued the teachings in the far east while Burmeister took this new art to the western world. It's from there that Americans had become familiar with it. One of Burmeister's students was Philomena Dooley and thus began New Jersey's branch of training in this art. Practitioners like myself have studied at Morristown Memorial Hospital.
When it comes to Brink's passion, there's no doubt whatsoever that she believes in the miracles of Jin Shin. My only criticism of this book is that there are no cautions about seeing medical doctors to compliment the treatments. Brink even talks about clients who had given up their medications after a week or two of sessions. I love complimentary medicine as much as the next person, but I think it's a bit irresponsible to highlight people going cold turkey off their prescriptions. Some may have great success while others may be in life-threatening danger.
There is plenty that's fantastic about Brink's book. She repeats that there's no wrong to do this art. There are instructions throughout the bulk of the book, but if you become a person who likes self-care in Jin Shin, you aren't going to cause yourself any harm if you place your right hand where the book says to place your left hand. The body is filled with all these safety energy locations (SELs) and missing one step or confusing it, won't be detrimental. Those SELs are explained perfectly in the book whereas my old spiral books have my handwriting in every spare margin.
The Art of Jin Shin also explains the importance of breathing with 36 divine breaths which Brink says should be a daily practice for everyone. If you've taken yoga, you've probably heard of pranayama, the yoga of breathing. In Jin Shin, they start every session or training with this conscious breathing exercise. Brink created this book more specifically to be used for self-care than to use to work on others although one could certainly could figure it out. The models in the photos are shown in the self-care variation. This brings me to another point that I appreciated about the book: diverse models of all ages and ethnicities. Again, Jin Shin is fantastic for self-care and it's how it was discovered in the first place.
Self-care using the fingers -- this is one of the easiest approaches to working with Jin Shin's energy centers and their meridian pathways. It was Mary Burmeister who is credited with contributing the emotional attitudes assigned to each finger and the hands. For example, stomach and spleen energies are in the thumb which also correlates to worry. Each finger has an emotional resonance and a pair of meridian pathways.
There are flows (placement of your hands on SELs in a sequence) and easy instructions. Some flows are more complicated than others. The SELs are numbered and named. The names are so lovely and can give someone a simplistic idea of why they would want to rest their hand on that particular spot. For example, SEL no. 11 is called "Unloading." It's located at the top of each shoulder where the neck begins to curve (upper trapezius). This, as you may know, is a common place where people are tense and knotted with signs of burdens -- things they need to "unload." If you're ever unsure, you can find one of the first three flows that would work well. They also have colorful names: the Main Source flow, the Supervisor flow, and the Mediator flow.
The afterword by Karen Duffy more closely reflects what I would have liked from the author Alexis Brink in that Duffy openly discusses her personal medical history with two devastating chronic illnesses. She doesn't stop her western medical therapies. She uses Jin Shin as self-care in addition to her western regime of doctors, scans, and medicines. Brink has a lot of responsibility now as the head of the Jin Shin Institute in New York. She is carrying the torch of the art and how its taught to others.
To summarize, I loved The Art of Jin Shin and wished I had had it when I was going to training sessions in Morristown. Having this book as an additional resource will be helpful for me especially having the electronic version in my Kindle. I'm already carrying three bags around when I teach a yoga class. I don't need more books in that physical burden. I'm not anti-hardcopy by any means. I love if I can make notes and stick flags through a book too. It's just that the way I would incorporate Jin Shin into my classes, having the ebook makes it a little easier.