Japanese Acupuncture to Release Stuck Energy and Emotions

One of the greatest gifts is discovering how to welcome the body’s messages, and one of the surest paths to moderation is observing the body’s requests and sensations. Excess pleasure and pain lead to discomfort and disease; the idea of yoga and many alternative practices is to bring the body back to neutral. 

Alix Jean, TCM practitioner and Japanese Acupuncturist, joined us on the podcast to share how she treats the body and witnesses the transformation of healing through Hara diagnosis; the treatment used in Japanese acupuncture to assess through abdominal palpitations.

With Hara diagnosis within the abdomen, we literally feel how there is a blockage in one of the organs or meridians. I like the immediate feedback used in the Hara diagnosis. Hara is listening to our guts; your body will give you little signs from the subconscious that you may or may not be aware of consciously.” – Alix Jean.

Our focus for the entire month of November featured Ayurveda and all the ways we treat our bodies to better care for ourselves. Through Ali Cramer, we learned about the doshas and the elements of each constitution; Insiya Rasiwala-Finn spoke about proper nourishment, diet, and ritual; and Maria Garre provided tips and tactile takeaways to stimulate the digestive fires to bolster the immune system during periods of the disease. 

Our interview with Alix concludes our month of navigating the spectrum of wellness, discussing the body’s subconscious messages and how to treat physical, emotional, and mental stress through Japanese acupuncture. 

Read the highlights from our talk; listen or watch the full episode.

Interview with Alix Jean

What is the style of acupuncture that you teach? 

AJAcupuncture defines points in the body to stimulate healing. The style I teach in Japanese acupuncture, it’s unique from TCM in several ways. Traditional Chinese Medicine is what all acupuncturists are trained in, in the West. TCM is our governing body. Japanese acupuncture provides a few extra techniques on top of TCM is how I like to think of it. 

Through additional training, I’ve learned techniques that are more focused on palpitations and Japanese Meridian therapy. In Chinese medicine, we have the meridians, which are energy lines in the body. There are twelve main meridians with the corresponding internal organs. In Western Medicine, we might relate the energy lines to the fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that encases the muscles and organs and, essentially, everything in the body. 

Each meridian corresponds to an internal organ; for example, the lungs are in my chest, but the lung Meridian goes along the arm. When I’m looking at a person, I might assess that some lung symptoms are happening and then check the Meridian for tight or tender points or the nodules or changes within that connective tissue. Those are points that I would work on in the acupuncture session. In TCM, we learned about the meridians; it’s something we focus on, but sometimes the diagnosis goes straight to what’s going on in the organ, and then there’s a point prescription. 

In Japanese acupuncture, there’s a lot more space to check the person through touch. The practice of Japanese acupuncture is more tactile. A lot of traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists will pop the pins in and leave the room and wait. With Japanese acupuncture, I’m in the room the whole time as I’m checking and rechecking the body and the pins. I’m assessing based on the abdomen; it’s called Hara diagnosis. That’s a system of reflexes, which tells me which points to do. 

Through Hara diagnosis through the abdomen, we literally feel a blockage in the organs or meridians. I like that immediate feedback. Hara is listening to our guts. Your body will give you little signs from the subconscious you may or may not be aware of. 

The beautiful part about Hara diagnosis is that there’s a moment of feedback where the patient is on the table, and I feel a difference: what had been tight or tender finally releases. That’s the key difference for me as an acupuncture practitioner; there’s so much feedback and information presented right away that’s useful in reading the body’s response.  We assess based not only on touch but also on observation. You might evaluate the colour in their cheeks or see the person breathing deeper. 

What’s the most common injury or ailment you treat? 

AJThe most common is stress-related things, and then hormone-related issues and chronic injuries. Back pain, mental and emotional distress, hormones are all prevalent. 

A classic part of Chinese and Japanese acupuncture is examining the root branch. We take a look at the root of the issue. If the roots are strong, the roots will nourish the branches. If Hara, the center route is clear, we’ll look at the branches. Sometimes local treatment is needed, say if your shoulder is sore, we work on that specific area, but it depends. Sometimes the branch is so loud; only that area needs relief. Someone might come in with neck pain, and I’ll work on their feet because that’s where the meridian’s root needs to be nourished and treated. The roots of the meridians typically start at the feet and work up to the head. The yang, the deep inner meridians, generally work from the ground upwards.

The other thing to keep in mind is posture, to ask what the spine is doing and see how the posture is affecting the injury. There are so many ways we create imbalances from improper posture, from walking to sitting; it’s all about the placement of the heel strike and where the toes land. Gait issues tend to throw off the hips and shoulders up to the neck because the neck is the lightest point. We have the most mobility in our cervical spine. So pain in the neck could be linked to an issue at the roots, which would be the placement of the feet. 

If you could choose any era to live in, what period would you choose? 

AJAncient China is one, and I’ve always been drawn to medieval Scotland as it’s part of my heritage. 

What are some of the items you always have with you? 

AJMy triad of cell phone, wallet, and keys. I also always have a deodorant in my bag. I always forget to use it in the morning. I always have three things in my heart: this ability to pause; an openness to holding space without judgment at all times. Appreciation of beauty. I feel like I’ve always been a daydreamer. 



How did you become interested in acupuncture? 

AJIn my late teenage years, I was in a car accident that was a big kind of life changer for me. It was kind of intense. I was also studying psychology at the time, particularly health psychology, so I was already interested in that area. I discovered a link between physical and mental health and emotional health through my injuries and my healing experience and not healing and what that felt like. I felt that all aspects were not being addressed, I had been through a shock, and when I tried acupuncture, it provided the relief I needed. 

What’s your favourite part about treating people?

AJIt’s so rewarding to see people getting better; it’s the most gratifying thing in the world. In Japanese acupuncture, you can see the moment when it occurs. I feel it’s humbling to honor the process of someone else healing and be witness to these aha moments.  

CROI feel the same way in terms of teaching. It’s like those moments when you see and feel people drop into their bodies. I find that it takes 15-20 minutes for people to arrive because they’re thinking about all of the things that happened that day, and it takes time to drop in and be present in the moment fully. When the shift occurs, there’s almost like this energetic hum. One of my favourite parts of teaching is watching this process and witnessing what occurs when we are aware and in our bodies. 

How would you achieve balance through TCM? 

AJWith Chinese medicine, it’s based on observations of nature. Therefore every day is different, and it would depend on the season. You would see what’s occurring in nature to decide whether it’s a yin season and go more inwards, such as winter, or a more yang season and spend more time outwards, such as summer. It’s always about balancing the constitution based on the environment and what you’re dealing with on that particular day. 

How do the emotions correspond to the body and its organs? 

AJIn Japanese and Chinese acupuncture, we work with the elements and yin and yang concepts. The yang energy is all things solar and active and typically associated with the masculine. The element for yang is fire. The yin energy is more receptive and contracting and is commonly associated with the feminine. The element for yin is water and earth. We’re always moving through the phases of the elements within the body. 

The liver and gallbladder are related to springtime. For spring, the element is wood. With wood, everything moves up and outward. Wood is represented as growth and leadership. The emotion that corresponds with the liver is anger, and the idea is that the energy moves upward and outward for growth. It can be a positive thing because it’s progressive. When checking the liver and gallbladder meridians, there’s this energy of up and out, this sense of drive, growth, and goals. 

Spring moves into summer, and with summer, we have the element of fire. Summer is joyful and open-hearted. It’s represented as love and passion. The pathology of joy is this idea of over excitement and doing too much, as in chasing joy or almost like you would chase a drug addiction. It would mean you have too much fire, too much of a good thing. The organ associated with these ideas and elements is the heart.

From summer, we shift into autumn, where we discover the earth element. The earth element doesn’t have one direction; it comes back to the center. It’s the grounding and stabilizing source of nourishment. It’s the digestive organ that brings us back to our center. The emotion we have in this area is worry and overthinking. So we want to balance this energy by taking care of ourselves as much as we are others. The imbalance would be over-giving to others and not taking care of the self. 


Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Your Ayurveda Playlist

Classes that ground the over-excitement and angst associated with Vata.
  • Ganesha Mantra
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Quick Chill – Restorative Yoga
  • Back Release – Hatha Yoga
  • Get Ready for Bed – Yin Yoga
  • Stay Low – Hatha Yoga
  • Mudra Meditation
Classes to soothe the intensity of Pitta while gently stimulating the inner fire.
  • Beauty Within & Without – Vinyasa
  • Ocean Meditation
  • Fluid Power – Vinyasa
  • Creative Flow.- Vinyasa
  • Saraswati Mantra
  • Go with the Flow – Vinyasa
  • Keep it Moving – Vinyasa
Classes to stimulate the inner flame and digestive fires to clear stagnant energy and lethargy.
  • Ignite – Vinyasa
  • Fire Flow – Vinyasa
  • Shiva Mantra
  • Space through Strength – Slow Flow
  • Super Duper Power – Vinyasa
  • Pranayama Meditation
  • Unfurl Your Peacock Tail – Vinyasa



Join Practice with Clara

New members get
7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Key

Related Posts

Emerging A New Being

Last Friday, for the live class, I pulled out a playlist I haven’t listened to in a while. I didn’t look at all the songs,

Listen With Intent

  I was speaking with a friend of mine this week about their aging parent. My friend expressed their fear that their parent may get

Can Restrictions Set You Free?

  Springtime is here and it’s a great time to clear away the lethargy of winter.  I started a cleanse today. It’s a 3-day kitchari

The Subtle Body
Workshop Series

2-hour worshops on pranayama, meditation, and mantra.

Fall 2023

Join Clara for Meditation Monday

Mondays at 8-8:20pm PST 

Live on Zoom – Free for everyone!



Join a FREE Yoga Series

7-Day Yoga Series for Beginners
7-Day Yoga Series for Vinyasa Lovers

Join me for an experiential practice!

My favourite thing about yoga is getting to watch people have a connection with themselves.


Yoga at Home

Reaffirm your commitment to a home yoga practice!

Read our post on how to set up a home yoga studio and the benefits of joining the Class of the Day.

Join the Community

Our community boasts yogis from countries all over the world who gather and co-create the spaces we share on the Practice with Clara platform.

Join a community of over 1.3k yogis from around the world in the Practice with Clara Facebook Group

· Share your feedback

· Seek help and motivation from the community

· Discuss and receive input on yoga challenges and injuries

· Cultivate a global community

· Exclusive access to content and upcoming events

· Bring your ideas and questions to the Practice with Clara Ambassadors 

Take a LIVE yoga class with Clara each week and join hundreds of yogis worldwide. 

· Ask Clara questions in the live Q&A after class

· Participate in a class with Clara and the community

· Put in your request for a specific class

· Build to a peak pose in a vinyasa-style sequence

· Learn modifications for injuries

· Receive how-to guides to advance your practice

See the History of Our 30-Day Yoga Challenges 

Take a look at the past 30-day yoga challenges. 

Read the history of the 30-day challenges with the past partnerships, themes, interviews with professionals, and more. 

Join an Upcoming 30-Day Yoga Challenge

See when the next 30-day yoga challenge is hosted to join the LIVE yoga & meditation classes.

Check out the events page to learn more. 

Are you looking for more opportunities to practice yoga, for free? 

Check out our Free Yoga page to see the latest offerings. 

Choose from three unique, free, offerings: 

30-day challenge
7-day series for beginners
7-day series for advanced vinyasa yogis 

Explore Yoga Teacher Training Options 

Learn to teach LILA FLOW YOGA with our free eBook!

The key to advancing your vinyasa practice and teaching style.

This workbook provides five written class sequences for you to experience a version of Wave Theory as designed by Clara Roberts-Oss, founder of the Practice with Clara Program.

✧ Community Feedback ✧

vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga

✧ Frequently Asked Questions ✧

1. What is the Practice with Clara Membership & App?

Practice with Clara is an online platform and Apps that allow you to take your yoga with you anywhere, anytime! With hundreds of classes in various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Prenatal, and Meditation, there’s something for everyone at any level of the practice. The Practice with Clara Membership provides a monthly or yearly subscription package with the first 7-days free for you to experience the courses. 

2. How is the Membership Different from the YouTube Playlists?

A membership to the Practice with Clara Apps provides:

  • Access to the members-only library of yoga classes
  • Weekly LIVE classes with Clara
  • Unique events and workshops
  • Downloadable assets including:
    • Monthly Calendars
    • Journaling Booklets
    • Spotify Playlists
  • Access to a community of yogis worldwide 
  • Q&A sessions with Clara
  • & much more!

Clara’s YouTube Channel provides carefully curated playlists to introduce you to the free programs and yoga challenges for you to get a taste of what’s offered and commit to your wellness!

3. What Do I Get When I Join the 7-Day Program?

The 7-day programs include: 

  • 7-Days of Vinyasa Yoga Intensive
  • 7-Days of Yoga for Beginners

These programs provide a weeks-worth of yoga classes to ignite your yoga practice and cultivate a new, healthy habit. 

When you sign-up for one of these programs, you’ll receive:

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 1-week
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

These programs are free with no hidden costs or fees; PLUS, you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

4. What Do I Get When I Join the 30-Day Yoga Challenge?

We host quarterly 30-day yoga challenges that are always free for all members of Practice with Clara. Each yoga challenge is themed based on the season. We’ve provided our inaugural challenge, Reconnect | A 30-Day Yoga Challenge, as an email series for you to try to test your physical and mental discipline and endurance!

What you receive in Reconnect | 30-Day Challenge

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 30-days
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • A journaling booklet to incite self-reflection 
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

This program is free, anytime, with no hidden costs or fees, PLUS you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

 5.  I Want to Try the App, What’s Next? 

Great, we’re so happy to have you join our community!

To set up the Practice with Clara App, here are your next steps:

6. I’m Injured, Pregnant, or New to the Practice—Can I Join?

YES, no matter where you are at in your practice, there are classes for you on Practice with Clara. 

We’ve created playlists for beginners and those who are new to the practice.

we also have the Prenatal Collections with classes from the 1st – 4th trimesters that I created when I was pregnant with my daughter. 

Finally, I offer PLENTY of modifications and suggestions based on injury in all the platform classes. 

The biggest thing is to always listen to your body; your body is the greatest teacher.

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.