There’s never a convenient time to be caught by a cold. You probably have too much going on to rest, which is what your body is begging you to do. And maybe, like me, you don’t like how decongestants make you feel. Natural cold remedies are more readily available than ever, but what about self-healing methods? One option is Jin Shin Jyutsu, a healing art that can boost your immune system and help with many other health issues as well. The best thing about it? You can learn to heal yourself. All you need is your hands, once you have “grasped” (pun intended!) a few basic principles.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (sounds like gin-shin-jit-su) is a healing art that facilitates the flow of energy in the body. It is based on the premise that the cause of all illness resides in a blockage in the flow of energy. I had just taken my first Jin Shin Jyutsu class when I caught a really bad cold, which gave me the perfect opportunity to test the validity of this premise.
The cold caught me when I was visiting my parents in Vermont—the same miserable cold I got every Christmas. Beginning with a terrible stuffed-up nose, the congestion usually settled in my chest and stayed there for days, leaving me exhausted and out of commission for the holidays. This time, as I lay in bed I heard a medical expert on the morning news recommending the best over-the-counter meds for fighting each symptom of the common cold. I rolled my eyes at the synchronous timing, but this mainstream medical advice highlighted the difference between treating the symptoms and treating the cause.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient healing art originating in Japan. Its teachings were passed on orally from teacher to student until the early 1900’s when Jiro Murai organized it into a coherent system of healing. The underlying principle of Jin Shin Jyutsu is that we function best when our internal (subtle) energy flows freely. Our energy is like a river that branches into smaller and smaller rivulets, overseeing all the processes of our body down to the cellular level. This energy is the matrix upon which our body is built. Stress, environmental factors, poor diet, and injury all interfere with its flow. Blocked or restricted flow of subtle energy can lead to discomfort in body, mind, and spirit. When stress and other adverse conditions are prolonged, the initial disharmony can deepen, causing disease. Jin Shin Jyutsu encourages the restoration of harmony. In other words, by cultivating balance we can avoid becoming sick in the first place.
Mulling over the recommendations I was hearing on the news and my knowledge of Jin Shin Jyutsu, I realized over-the-counter cold medicines would treat the symptoms of my miserable cold but not the underlying cause. This cold caught me because I’d been working too hard and my run-down immune system was not up to dealing with the bitter Vermont wind. I needed to rest and restore myself. So instead of reaching for the decongestant, I strengthened my immune system by “jumper-cabling” my “3’s”.
Treating the Cause
The “3’s” are one of 52 sites where branches of subtle energy meet. These sites act like circuit breakers, which shut down when overloaded. The 3’s, located near the tops of the shoulders, govern the immune system. When they “shut down,” symptoms like my stuffy nose occur because the body’s immune system is not functioning optimally. That’s why at the onset of a cold you may notice that your shoulders feel colder and stiffer than usual. When open, the 3’s energize the immune system, so the remedy for a cold is to open the 3’s by “jumper-cabling” them.
“Jumper cabling” is a Jin Shin Jyutsu technique for jump-starting the body’s energy system. It is accomplished by resting a hand on one of the 52 sites where branches of subtle energy meet, thereby optimizing the flow of energy. When the energetic circuitry is reset, the breath deepens, the body relaxes, and symptoms subside.
As I lay in bed next to a growing mound of used tissues, I jumper-cabled my 3’s by draping my left hand over my right shoulder and connecting the nail on my right index finger with the pad of my right thumb. After a few minutes, I moved my right thumb to the nail of my middle finger, then to the ring finger, and finally the little finger, holding each for a few minutes. Then I put my right hand on my left shoulder and repeated the process on the other side. Feeling a bit better, I got up.
We had a big day planned: shopping in the morning, cooking in the afternoon, and a Christmas party at night. Not wanting to bring attention to what I was doing, I repeated just the holding of my fingers in the car, between various stops. In the afternoon, I took a Jin Shin “nap” and jumper-cabled my 3’s again. By the evening, my energy was back to normal and I was ready for the party. I stayed up until 11 pm and felt fine the next day. I was elated …and hooked!
If you would like to catch the next cold before it catches you, try this simple sequence to unlock your 3’s:
- Place your left hand on your right shoulder and use your fingertips to find the most tender spot, searching anywhere from the top of the shoulder to the inner edge of your shoulder blade.
- When you’ve found the tender spot, release the pressure under your fingers and simply rest your hand there.
- Now connect the nail on the right index finger with the pad of the right thumb and rest your right hand on your right hip crease (where your leg meets the pelvis in the front of your body).
- Set the intention to relax by dropping your shoulders, letting the chin fall slightly, and watching your breath.
- Stay in this hold for a few minutes, noticing if you are beginning to relax and breathe more deeply.
- Next, connect the middle fingernail to the pad of your right thumb and hold it for a few minutes.
- Repeat the process with the ring and little fingers, gently pressing the nails into the pad of your right thumb.
- Repeat on the other side by placing the right hand on your left shoulder, and connecting the pad of your left thumb to each of the four fingernails.
Feeling into the Pulse
As you hold each place, you may begin to feel a pulse under each hand. The pulse is not a blood pulse but an indicator of the flow of energy. You may not be sensitive to this the first time you practice—if you can’t feel anything, just hold each connection for a few minutes. If you can feel a pulse, with practice you will be able to discern different textures within the pulse: the pulse might be loud and pounding, or uneven, long, buzzy, jagged, or quiet. When you’ve developed sensitivity to this level, wait until the pulses calm down and feel silky, smooth, and even, like a sine wave, and they are pulsing under each hand at the same time. The pulses don’t need to be silky smooth before you go to the next hold—wait for a change in texture, and then move on. The pulses will harmonize over the course of your self-treatment.
As you continue jumper-cabling your 3’s, you may notice you are more relaxed and are breathing more deeply than when you started. The energetic input your body receives from 20 minutes of jumper-cabling takes about 8 hours to integrate, so don’t be surprised if you gradually feel better throughout the day or after a full night’s sleep. You can repeat this protocol after 8 hours if you have time.
The Power is Yours
Jin Shin Jyutsu philosophy states that the power to heal lies within each one of us. By paying more attention to signals from my body, I’ve learned to notice an oncoming illness before it takes hold. When I catch a cold before it catches me, I am empowered to heal myself. My tools are my hands, breath, and self-awareness. These tools, coupled with a holistic philosophy like Jin Shin Jyutsu, offer valuable and powerful means that guide my journey of healing and self-discovery. Learning a few simple sequences to unblock the flow of stuck or stagnant subtle energy may be all that you need to convince yourself of the power of self-healing.
More to come…
Stay tuned for more posts on effective use of Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help for relieving digestive issues, emotional issues, pain, and more! In the meantime, if you would like to delve deeper, you can find a self-help class on the Jin Shin Jyutsu website, or read the book The Touch of Healing by Alice Burmeister. While self-help is safe for anyone to use, a certified Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner can support your healing when it comes to addressing more complex conditions.
Jin Shin Jyutsu: Integrative Cancer Therapy
Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions are given as part of the integrative treatment for cancer at the Markey Cancer Center in the United Kingdom. A pilot study conducted at Markey Cancer Center in Kentucky has shown that Jin Shin Jyutsu is effective in decreasing the pain, stress, and nausea often associated with cancer treatment. Doctors and patients in this study praised the modality, reporting less pain and anxiety, along with a reduction in the need for pain medicine and a more serene acceptance of the diagnosis of cancer.
Another study compiled data on nurses who received self-help training in Jin Shin Jyutsu. Committing to daily practice for one month, the nurses in this study showed “significant increases in positive outlook, gratitude, motivation, calmness, and communication effectiveness and significant decreases in anger, resentfulness, depression, stress symptoms, time pressure, and morale issues. Nurses reported less muscle aches, sleeplessness, and headaches.”
Bradley, J. M., Slone, S. A., & Weiss, H. L. (2012). The Use of Jin Shin Jyutsu Touch Therapy as an Integrative Treatment for Pain, Stress and Nausea in Cancer Patients. Unpublished pilot data, University of Kentucky, Lexington. Retrieved from
Burmeister, A. & Monte, T. (1997). The Touch of Healing. Bantam Books.
Jin Shin Jyutsu, Inc. (2015).
Lamke, D., Catlin, A., & Mason-Chadd, M. (2014). “Not Just a Theory”: The Relationship Between Jin Shin Jyutsu® Self-Care Training for Nurses and Stress, Physical Health, Emotional Health, and Caring Efficacy. Journal of Holistic Nursing 32(4): 278-289. http://jhn.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/21/0898010114531906
Sine Wave. (2006). Retrieved from: https://www.propellerheads.se/blog/thor-demystified-7-the-phase-modulation-oscillator