Melinda Buckwalter on SEL 23

Issue Number 26, Autumn 1999 of the Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, The Main Central, contains an article submitted by Melinda Buckwalter that has relationship with Safety Energy Lock 23, so before we move onto the next Safety Energy Lock, I’d like to share what Melinda wrote:

The Psoas

Before I found Jin Shin Jyutsu, I studied with a dance teacher, Nancy Topf, who taught a combination of dance, postural alignment, and hands-on body work. She worked with anatomical imagery and the energetic cycles set up by body structure. She worked by placing the hands on the body and allowing a direction to be transferred through their stillness. Her students called her the “psoas guru” because of her fascination with this muscle, which is responsible for deep spinal support.

The psoas (pronounced “so as”) is a very interesting muscle because of what it does – it attaches the spine to the legs, acting as a hip flexor (i.e. walking) and a trunk flexor (i.e. sitting up). Most important, the psoas supports the spine’s upright position while we stand, walk, and sit. It acts as a guy wire or column of support for the spine. It attaches our trunk, who we are, with our legs, how we are getting there. In other words the psoas is a structure which enables our being to get where we are going. The muscle originates along the sides of Thoracic 12, in Safety Energy Lock 23 territory, where it interdigitates with the diaphragm muscle and has slips that attach along the lumbar spine, making it an important muscle for breathing and lower back health.

In Nancy’s class we did a series of stretches which allowed us to sense and feel our bodies. We learned not with our minds or our eyes but through sensing our inner structure by means of body felt sensations. One of the ways we accessed the psoas muscle (too deep in the body to really feel by touching) was through its role as a helper in deep breathing and laughing. Nancy would have us lie on the floor on our bellies We would start by saying “Ha!” and feeling the vibration in the abdomen. Usually someone would start to chuckle, and before you knew it the whole class would be literally belly laughing. The first few times I did this exercise I felt it was strange to be laughing without a joke. Then it dawned on me – I was being the laughing; I didn’t need a joke!

I have had similar experiences in Jin Shin Jyutsu class when we work on the 15’s. Usually one table will start giggling, and soon the whole room has joined in. Wouldn’t you know the 15 is located at the inferior insertion of the psoas muscle where it comes out of the depths of the belly to cross the pubic bone. Of course, the 15’s are called “washing our hearts with laughter”! They help us to access the psoas to unload in a very natural and physical way with a laughing massage for the whole body. Next time the 15’s start you chuckling, go with it and be the laughter!

Thank you, Melinda.

…full text is available at

Gassho, Namaste, Blessings


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