Comfort Accommodates Tension

Comfort accommodates tension.

Mary Burmeister, Jin Shin Jyutsu Master Teacher

Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions are commonly conducted with the client on the massage table. The set up is two sheets, which allows hands to easily glide underneath the different Safety Energy Locks (energy spheres/circuit breakers) on the body. Some practitioners use one sheet which was Mary Burmeister’s way. Her sessions were actually on a mattress on the floor, with practitioners kneeling, heels tucked into Safety Energy Lock 25. Located at the sit bones, the 25s help us to “quietly regenerate.” (Looking to balance your weight? Hold the 25s. They activate our metabolism. Also great for calming nerves.)

For both the practitioner and receiver of Jin Shin Jyutsu, comfort is essential. Tension disrupts the agreement to meet between the practitioner and receiver.

So you may be surprised that we don’t use pillows. Not under the neck, not under the knees. Not usually, anyway.

We want to see how the body lies on the table. Where does the person put their hands? Do the feet turn in or out? Does the head turn one way? Is one area sunk in or raised? Where is the tension showing up? How?

Propping the body with pillows takes away this important information. This body reading part of a Jin Shin Jyutsu session.

Also, comfort accommodates tension.

What does this mean?

A person, for example, has a lower back pain. They use a chair support cushion when they sit. Maybe they prop their knees up with pillows when they sleep. This brings them relief and even comfort. Maybe they think it’s “just age” or “that’s how life is” and are satisfied enough that their pain and tension are alleviated.

Or perhaps someone is recovering from an injury. Physio and general movement may not be comfortable, likely challenging. The fear of pain is there as well. Yet it’s moving the body that promotes circulation that helps the injury to heal and for the body to re-pattern.

Without addressing the tension and giving ourselves a soft place to be, we allow this tension to grow. And we find other new ways to stay comfortable.


Not using pillows (as a general “rule”) helps the practitioner see the body, with its patterns of tension. It also helps the client to meet their challenge. As practitioners, we do not want our clients to be uncomfortable. With compassion, we meet them where they are. Do they need more support this day? Perhaps feeling comfortable helps our clients to feel safe and to share their story.

Maintaining a comfort zone can, paradoxically, lead to discomfort in the long run. If by being comfortable we avoid important life issues, internal tension accumulates. Eventually, as both internal and external pressures for change persist, the “comfort zone” ceases to serve us.

Eric Allenbaugh

Comfort & Tension in Life

Where in your life are you using comfort to address tension? What ways are you wanting and trying to forget about the discomfort? Is comfort in life enough for you? What about pleasure? Vitality? Forward movement?

Comfort allows us to sink easily into patterns and habits. Greater effort and awareness are needed to then notice if something goes out of balance or is actually no longer aligned with and in support of us. This is the internal pressures that Eric Allenbaugh writes about.