Jin Shin Do Foundation for Bodymind Acupressure

Healing after a Car Accident

By Kathy Ungerecht, Authorized JSD Teacher, Anchorage, Alaska


I didn't know her, yet I knew I could trust her. I felt safe in her presence. I was very weak and in extreme pain. I was trembling as I briefly related my injuries from my accident two days prior. As I spoke, her eyes never left me. I could see compassion in her eyes. She didn't push for additional details. I could feel her heart reach out to mine. She somehow knew it was all I could do just to be there that day.

She helped me get onto the table. Her touch was gentle and light. On this first visit she moved slowly and held points on the upper part of my body around the neck area. We didn't talk much as I tried to relax. An hour later she was at my feet, gently rubbing them while quietly calling my name. "Kathy, Kathy. . ." My consciousness slowly came back into the room and I made eye contact with her. She asked me how I was feeling. "Relaxed," I weakly replied. She told me she would like to see me the next day. I agreed, as she gently helped me off the table.

It was painful to get up out of bed and get dressed for my appointment the next day, but something in me knew I had to go, and my ride awaited. She again greeted me with her warm and caring smile. As soon as I was in her office, I felt safe again. Little did I know that this small room would soon feel more like home to me than any place I had ever inhabited. Had I known that this would be the very beginning of a life-changing experience, I might not have gone back for that second Jin Shin Do® appointment. What I did know was that I was in pain, stiff, sore, bruised, and very scared and lonely.

The next few visits were much like the first one. She concentrated on my neck and shoulder areas. I continued JSD sessions on a daily basis and soon the soft tissue swelling started to decrease. After the fifth or sixth visit, I was able to stay more present during the sessions, and slowly I started to talk and open up. However, I continued to drift off during the final neck release stage. At the end of our session, she would always be at my feet - quietly bringing me back into the room, quietly calling my name.

I started to notice more things after several visits. When I would first lie down, she would ask how I was feeling as she held my hand, first on one side and then the other. I thought this gesture was her way of comforting me as we reviewed my symptoms. Much later I realized she was taking my pulses! During one session, she touched a spot on my arm that was particularly sensitive. She asked if I had been constipated. I looked at her, shocked. I had not eaten any solid foods since the accident, because my stomach and intestines had been badly bruised by my lap belt, which held me in place (since the shoulder restraint broke away on impact).

I said, "Yes, I have been painfully constipated since the accident." She continued to hold points on my arm, hand and leg. That very afternoon I had my first bowel movement since the accident! MAGIC!

In the evenings, I talked with a good friend, and shared with her about my Jin Shin Do sessions, which had become my lifeline in many ways. I told her how my JSD practitioner magically knew all the points on my body that were tender. She seemed to know things about me (emotionally and physically) that I hadn't even discussed with her. She would find tender points, hold them with a direct pressure and then, slowly and gently, circle into the point, finding an even more sensitive place within the point, and holding that place until the pain and tenderness subsided. I told my friend how my JSD practitioner would talk me through the pain, tears and emotions that were coming up for me during my sessions. My friend and I both agreed that it was a form of MAGIC!

Our sessions continued on a daily basis for more than three months. During that time, I experienced a wide range of symptoms. My immune system had been greatly compromised. Each week I suffered from colds, the flu, vomiting, severe headaches, or upper respiratory infections. Though I very much looked forward to my JSD sessions, there were days that I had to cancel because I was too sick to get out of bed. Vomiting would continue for days on end, with the retching causing me even more pain. My JSD practitioner often worked on me when I was sick. She was able to hold points that controlled my nausea, and when I had a cold she could clear my sinuses! Eventually through our sessions, my immune system became stronger.

The accident, thirteen years ago, was a head-on car accident. I had extensive injuries to my cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. There were injuries to my neck, collarbone, right and left knees, and right and left hands and arms. I had broken ribs, bruising to my abdomen and internal organs, and extensive head injuries. Like an avalanche, my conditions continually shifted at a fast pace. We never ran out of new things to focus on during JSD sessions. When I first began receiving treatments, my goal was to deal with the physical pain and move on. Not long into the healing process, I realized that I would not just be dealing with the physical.

I had as many emotional injuries as physical. As time went on and our sessions progressed, it was harder and harder to ignore the emotional aspects of my treatment. I suffered from extreme fear that my physical being and head injuries would never be totally healed, but I also had to begin to look at how my life was unraveling. My injuries had incapacitated me to the point that I was unable to run my business. After months of JSD sessions, I came to the realization that I really disliked the work I was doing and I never ever wanted to go back to it. I went through tremendous stages of fear. I was afraid of the future; I was afraid of losing my life as I knew it; and I was afraid of the injuries that had taken over my body. The insurance companies in alliance with Western medicine added to my stress levels by requiring test after test and doctor after doctor, with endless documentations and evaluations. I tried holding on to everything tighter, for fear of losing control. I was terrified, not knowing where the future was leading me. I was afraid that I would never be whole again.

One day, during a JSD session, I just totally and completely let go in a way that I had never been able to before in my life. From that moment on, I knew that there was no turning back. I knew that Jin Shin Do was going to take me to a place that I had searched for my entire life, and I was going to find answers to many questions. I had to face my fears and vulnerabilities if I wanted to get well. I was willing to embark on a journey of self discovery.

My JSD practitioner seemed to intuitively know how far I could go and how much I could take in a session. She was gentle with me, yet firm. She let me test my limits, always letting me know that I could back away and that I was safe. She encouraged me to go further and deeper each session. She was my coach. When I would thank her at the end of the session, she would say that I was doing the work, not her. She said that her role was that of 'facilitator.'

After three months, my JSD sessions were reduced to three and then eventually to two times per week for the next two years. My heart ached and I was scared, but I had to keep moving forward with the process I had started. My JSD sessions were what gave me the strength and courage to honor my feelings and to take action to make major life changes. I could no longer deny the emotions that I had buried for years. Jin Shin Do gave me the courage within myself to make changes that I needed to make to heal my body, mind and spirit.

My experience has given me a compassionate understanding of pain and fear. My JSD practitioner gave me many gifts. She gave me room to discover and heal within her presence, providing me with a safe and non-judgmental environment. She gave me encouragement, compassion and understanding. She educated me about the work we were doing, and she made valuable suggestions of things that I could do at home to further my healing process. It was on her table, in all those sessions, that I regained power over my life and became strong and healthy, both emotionally and physically.

Years later, I decided to pursue acupressure classes and the possibility of becoming a Jin Shin Do practitioner. While sitting in classes and learning the points, there was a familiarity. My body knew these points. I already had knowledge within myself. When learning of meridians and their specifics, I knew that I had been either deficient or excessive in most of them during my healing process. When learning the Five Elements, I knew that I had visited each one very intimately. I had a knowledge that no one else in my class had. I had experienced the many aspects of Jin Shin Do®.

Kelly Williams, who is now retired, played an important role in my life. She was first my practitioner, guide, teacher and mentor. Eventually, I proudly called her my friend - a friend that I traveled great distances with. The guidance Kelly provided, coupled with my experiences, brings a level of compassion to my work that I would not otherwise have.

Today, I am fully healed from the car accident that turned my life upside down on March 15, 1993. Little did I know, in the beginning of this journey, during those first JSD sessions, that I was embarking on my new career and a wonderful new life. Looking back, I know that I was truly blessed to be led to such a special, gifted practitioner and to Jin Shin Do®.

Recently I took Iona's Bodymind Trancework class at the "A Ranch." I received a very powerful treatment from Iona during that time. I was initially surprised that the focus of the treatment centered on the seat belt injury from the car accident. I now realize that the treatment was one more step in my recovery. It is a reminder that the journey continues and the work is never really complete. As time goes on, the importance of getting follow-up treatments becomes clearer, both for myself and for my clients.

In 1997 Kathy Ungerecht became a Registered Jin Shin Do® Acupressurist. She lives in Anchorage & is now the Senior Jin Shin Do® Teacher in Alaska.

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