Today I’m introducing a new alternative treatment for pain that most of you have never heard of. It’s called Jinshin Jyutsu.
Jinshin Jyutsu is a style of acupressure that involves the application of the hands for balancing energy in the body.
As many of my regular readers know, I have been seeking alternative therapies for pain relief from Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, and ME/CFS since 2009. As my health continues to worsen, I am constantly looking for new ideas and different treatments, especially natural treatments, to help me manage chronic pain.
I had great success with Reiki a few years ago until my Reiki specialist moved away. I’ve also tried several treatments that did not agree with me, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping, scraping, bloodletting, and acupuncture.
Imagine my surprise to find another gentle healing technique that seems to help. Jinshin Jyutsu worked really well for me, and I’d like to explain more about how this style of Japanese acupressure helps to heal the body and what my experience with it was like.
How did I find out about Jinshin Jyutsu?
I met Gabriele Seewald through my work with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan a few years ago. She invited me to the Women in Conference event that she was hosting with some other women in Taiwan. I went to learn more about the different types of services she offers at her health and wellness center.
After watching Gabriele’s presentation, I decided to book a ROLFing treatment at her wellness center. I’ve heard that other women with AS and Fibromyalgia have had success with ROLFing.
My first session with Jinshin Jyutsu for Fibromyalgia
I was stressed out the day I had my first appointment. My energy levels were really low and I was in a lot of pain. I had extreme muscle exhaustion in my arms and hands, and to my utter embarrassment, it was difficult to even cut my own food that day at lunch. I thought about canceling my appointment, but it was important to me to continue with my hunt for something – anything – that might give me some relief.
When I arrived for my appointment, I met Gabriele’s partner, Ellen, who could tell that I was not doing well that day. Kalen arrived shortly afterwards and the three of us sat down to discuss my best options for treatment.
I thought I was ready for ROFLing, which is a type of deep tissue manipulation that was invented by Dr. Ida Rolf.
This type of massage therapy targets our fascial web. Fascia are sheets of connective tissue that enclose our muscles and other internal organs. This technique is also called structural integration, and it is aimed at the release and realignment of the body, and the reduction of muscular and physical tension. Some of you might also know it as myofascial release therapy. These techniques are similar, but they do have some key differences.
It took Kalen about three minutes to decide that ROLFing was not the right treatment for me. After assessing me, she felt ROLFing would do more harm than good and suggesting trying something gentler.
Kalen suggested that I try a treatment called Jinshin Jyutsu
Jinshin Jyutsu is a simple style of acupressure. It is an ancient Japanese art that utilizes gentle touches with the hands and fingertips instead of using acupuncture needles. This allows blocked energy pathways in the body to flow.
Let me start by saying that one of the most traumatic things a chronically ill person can go through is a new treatment, especially when you are severely fatigued and in pain all the time.
First I have to get myself to my appointment, which is no small feat. Then I have to experience a new treatment that can be both physically and mentally exhausting, and then I have to get myself home. Plus these sessions are well over $100US for 90 minutes. It’s hard on the wallet as well.
Chronically ill patients tend to go into treatments or new types of physical therapy with some hope, but a lot of apprehension, anxiety, and fear.
Jinshin Jyutsu for Fibromyalgia
The first question Kalen asked me when we were alone was if I could remember the last time I cried. I couldn’t, and she told me that crying is essential and that I need to be able to let my sorrow go. She also explained that the treatment might be painful, but that she would talk me through the 90-minute session.
What followed was an incredible experience.
She listening to my pulse and confirmed that my pulse was weak and thready, which means that my energy is very low. This information has been confirmed by every doctor I’ve seen in Taiwan, so that was no surprise to me.
Then she listened some more and told me that the left side of my body and the right side of my body weren’t talking. She said that my body was broken in pieces and that it would take some time to unblock the energy pathways in my body.
She explained that when a person is injured or has chronic pain, energy pathways in our bodies can be blocked. Taking moments out of our day for things like deep breathing exercises or yoga or even positive affirmations while resting are all helpful to patients that are coping with pain. These techniques also help with cycles of pain and depression.
With Jinshin Jyutsu, once a patient knows what they are doing, they can begin using basic techniques on their own each day.
Kalen began by touching different parts of my body. It didn’t really feel like much to begin with, but the longer she applied pressure to certain areas, the more uncomfortable I became. In some cases, my body, especially my right leg, was jumping up and down all on its own. It was the strangest thing!
The key thing to remember with this treatment is that it does not involve manipulation of the muscles like massage and ROLFing.
Therapists use the form of light touch on 26 locations on each side of the body. I think the reason why my allodynia was not triggered by this treatment is because the pressure is very soft and light. Pressure is increased slightly at each location, however.
We talked throughout most of my session. As she proceeded along the left and right sides of my body, I could feel some energy returning. About 20 minutes before we finished, I got really cold. She wrapped me up in a blanket and told me it was natural for patients to experience different things during the treatment, like crying, releasing gas, gurgling stomach, feelings of being hot or cold, or even having to go to the bathroom during the session. (The coldness, shaking, and bathroom visits happened every single session.)
Afterwards, they wrapped me up because I was so cold, my teeth were chattering. Ellen gave me some hot tea and I sat and chatted with her until I felt strong enough to make the trip home.
For the second time in my life during a treatment, I felt that I was in a safe place with people who cared about me. It was clear they were doing everything in their power to help me find wellness.
When I got in the taxi to go home, I burst into tears (YAY! Crying!) and couldn’t do much for the rest of the day, But the next morning, I hopped out of bed and I felt great. I was simply shocked at the difference in how I felt.
Of course, I waited too long to go back and I didn’t see Kalen again for some time. Once again, she checked my pulse and expressed concern that my pulse was so weak. She could tell I was at the very limits of my energy levels.
The first thing she told me was that if I didn’t release my sadness, fear, and anger, I wasn’t going to get better any time soon. She asked me why she was sensing these feelings coming from me. We ended up talking about a lot of things that day.
My 90-minute session turned into a three-hour session. During that time, she was right by my side the whole time and helping me to work through things. She reminded me to relax and that I didn’t need to hold myself so tight. It is a comforting thing to have someone say to you that they have you and won’t let you fall.
She repeated the same words for me from our first session: The longer I try to hold myself together and push through, the worse I will feel.
3 hours! I couldn’t believe it when I walked out of the treatment room, and then, of course, there was Ellen, waiting for me with tea and a hug. I couldn’t believe they had taken the time to work with me this long when I’d only been booked in for 90 minutes.
This time, I didn’t cry on the way home. I came home with Kalen’s message ringing in my head and I decided to paint some rocks with the three feelings that Kalen said were preventing me from getting better. (Scroll down to see those very simple rocks in action!)
They are now sitting in my home where I can see them and the reasons why I am experiencing these feelings are written on the back of my stones as a reminder.
This therapy seems to work for me! My third session with Kalen was good. I was really tired and in a lot of pain that day. I had a lot of swelling along my ribcage that was making it hard for me to breathe. (That was the first time I learned about costochondritis attacks and I suffer from them regularly now.)
By the time I left, Kalen had reduced the swelling along my ribcage. She mentioned problems with my stomach and GI tract (hello IBS) and confirmed that she was able to unblock some of my energy pathways. I had some more pep in my step when I got off her treatment table that day.
My treatments in November 2016 also went well. During these sessions, Kalen showed me some basic moves that I can use on myself. Yes, you can practice acupressure on yourself daily! Even the hand techniques that she showed me are so helpful and I still use them to this day.
As someone who has experienced first-hand the power of Jinshin Jyutsu, I would say that if you are in pain or if you’re having a crisis or you’re simply looking to improve your overall sense of well-being, this is the place you should go to. I wish I could afford these sessions, but my medical bills are so high, I genuinely don’t have any extra money for anything else.
She combines different professional techniques with her personal experience and sense for the unique requirements of each individual in her treatments and she fluent in Mandarin & English.
She is a remarkable person and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
The last takeaway you can take from this article about Jin Shin Jyutsu:
We believe that we can empower ourselves and empower other people.
Additional resources for Jinshin Jyutsu: