Many talk about the Jin Shin Jyutsu Finger Method. But what is it? And how come I can feel better when I hold one of my thumbs or fingers?
When I have a tummy ache I hold one of my thumbs. Within seconds to minutes, my tummy ache is gone. When I feel that my muscles are tense, I hold my index finger. Within seconds to minutes, I can feel my body relaxing, easing, releasing tension.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is a Universal Art, available to each one of us from the moment we come into this world. It is part of our human make up.
The basis of Jin Shin Jyutsu, and what makes it so dynamic is the self help available to us. The basis of self help IS the thumb and fingers.
We all hold our fingers to help ourselves. Babies do it when they suck their thumbs. Sucking the thumb helps regenerate baby’s energies, eases their tummy and soothes and nurtures them.
Our energy body is made up of 144,000 energy functions. They are energy pathways like rivers, connecting us from head to toe and toe to head. All those energy pathways are found in the hands. So holding a finger helps 14,400 energy functions.
The energies of each finger relate to an ‘attitude’. So when we feel WORRY we can hold the Thumb to calm the mind. When we feel FEAR, anxiety or nervousness, we can hold the Index finger to calm the nervous system. To harmonise ANGER, hold the middle finger. SADNESS or grief is eased by holding the ring finger. Holding the little finger helps when we feel we are EFFORTING or TRYING TO in life – when we are trying to please everyone else.
You can do this exercise anywhere and at any time that your hands are free. Just wrap your right hand around the thumb or a finger of the left hand. Relax your hands and hold. For best results, sit comfortably and close your eyes.
By holding each thumb and finger in turn every day for a few minutes, we can calm the mind, soothe the nervous system, and regenerate our whole being.
Jin Shin Jyutsu® is a Universal Art of harmonising the energy in the body by using the fingers and hands. It boosts energy levels, calms the mind, balances the emotions and much, much more.
Even if we are not consciously aware of it, we use this Art in our daily lives to help ourselves – all we need to do is look at people on television: politicians, and celebrities on chat shows for instance, to see that they are all practising this Art to help themselves stay calm and energised. They will hold certain fingers, or place their hands on specific places on their body.
However, this Art works really dynamically when we become AWARE of what we are doing. Even better, the effects are cumulative, so the more we practice the better we can feel.
The principles and KEYS of Jin Shin Jyutsu are as old as we are. The KEYS were rediscovered by Master Jiro Murai in Japan over 100 years ago. He studied these KEYS and how the energy pathways ‘flow’ through the body, and fully dedicated himself to understanding the causes of disharmony. Using this system of KEYS on the body, he learned how to correct, or adjust, the energy when it was ‘compromised’, and called this Art that he developed Jin Shin Jyutsu (The Art of The Creator through Compassionate Man).
I use the word compromise (‘unable to function optimally’) to explain the different situations that can arise; as energies in the body could stagnate, or move in reverse, or get mixed up with other energies when they shouldn’t. There could also be an overload (too much) or a depletion (too little). There could even be a combination of these.
So as Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioners, we aim to facilitate the body’s own innate ability to correct and adjust the energy along the pathways. This is also what Acupuncturists, and those working with the subtle energies in the body, aim to do.
One of Master Jiro Murai’s most dedicated students was Mary Burmeister (nee Iino), born in Seattle, Washington, of Japanese descent. She introduced Jin Shin Jyutsu to the West in the early 1960s when she started her practice. Later, she taught the Art to others.
There are two main aspects to Jin Shin Jyutsu: one is that we can receive a session from another (usually a practitioner), the other is that we can give MYSELF a session as self help.
This is what makes Jin Shin Jyutsu so marvellous: we can apply the method of self help to ourselves no matter how young or old we are. Children inherently know this when they suck their thumb; by doing that they help boost their energies and bring balance to their whole being.
I remember I had a client who came to see me years ago. She was a young student at the time, feeling very stressed about her exams. As a child she had always sucked her thumb, and never really ‘unlearned’ that behaviour. So she found great solace in sucking her thumb as an adult to manage her stress. I suggested that instead of sucking her thumb she could hold either thumb for a few minutes with the opposite hand, and that would have a grounding and calming effect on her. She was quite amazed at the results, and that something so simple could be so effective.
So that brings us neatly to the basis of Self Help in Jin Shin Jyutsu. The truth is that by simply holding our Thumbs and Fingers for a few minutes each, every day, we can help harmonise all 144,000 of our energy functions. Better yet, the effect of holding each thumb and finger is cumulative so the more we hold, the better we can feel.
Many people often ask the question: ‘How long should I hold for?’ Now, there aren’t any hard and fast rules. Mary says in her self help books: ‘For a few minutes, more or less.’ But if you really want a time guideline then you could hold each thumb and finger for 5 minutes each. If you hold all the fingers of one hand, you’ll have done 25 minutes. If you do all 10 fingers, 50 minutes. That’s a good, thorough, self help session for the whole being. Moreover, if you close your eyes you’ll feel how the stresses just start ‘melting away’, as Mary said. Once you become more attuned to your body, you will naturally hold each finger for the length of time that feels ‘right’ for you.
Below are the basic self help finger holds with some explanation of what ‘issues’ holding each finger can help. Hold whichever side feels more comfortable.
Hold Thumb for WORRY
It also helps:
Digestion (tummy ache – great for kids)
Headaches (especially base of thumb)
Stress and nerves
To ground, calm and nurture
Stomach and Spleen energy
When have to SIT a lot (sitting creates bloat conditions)
Hold INDEX finger for FEAR
It also helps:
Teeth and gums
Self criticism, shyness
Kidney and bladder energy
When have to STAND a lot (be on your feet)
Hold MIDDLE finger for ANGER
It also helps:
Liver and gallbladder energy
When have to READ a lot
Hold RING finger for GRIEF
It also helps:
Ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
Lung and large intestine energy|
When have to RECLINE a lot (e.g. convalescence)
Hold LITTLE finger for ‘EFFORTING’
It also helps:
Heart discomforts (e.g. palpitations)
Trying too hard (at anything)
Heart and small intestine energy
When need to WALK a lot
Hold CENTER of PALM for FATIGUE and DESPONDENCY
Astrid embarked on her journey in Complementary Therapies in 1997, after a successful career at a large advertising agency in London, England.
She qualified as an Aromatherapist with the Tisserand Institute in 1999 (TIDHA) and has studied several healing modalities, but is particularly fascinated with energy (body) work. In 1998 she discovered Jin Shin Jyutsu (pronounced jitsoo) when she used some simple self help exercises to clear her migraines.
Astrid is a fully accredited Practitioner and Self Help Teacher of Jin Shin Jyutsu, and has shared her love and knowledge of this Art via individual treatments, talks and self-help classes since 2001.
Text and images by Astrid Kauffmann flowsforlife.com
Recommended reading: The Touch of Healing by Alice Burmeister Mary Burmeister Self Help Books 1, 2, 3
For Jin Shin Jyutsu treatments in Wiltshire, England click on TREATMENTS
For Self help Classes with Astrid click onCLASSES
IMPORTANT: This information is not meant as a substitute for medical attention. If symptoms persist always consult your physician.
“We come into the world with an exhalation, to clear and empty us, so that we can receive. We never ‘take’ a breath. We ‘receive’ a breath.” – From The Touch of Healing by Alice Burmeister
On Wednesday, 3 June (3.6) we aim to harmonise all our individual energy functions – and as we do that, we help restore balance to the collective energy as well. The more of us there are, the more we create a rainbow of harmony across the world.
Will you join us for this fifth Global Jin Shin Jyutsu Event to Restore Balance by using the fingers and the breath?
Join us any time that is convenient for you on June 3, 2015,where ever you are in the world:
Summary of Exercise for the Fifth Global Event on June 3
1) Wrap the right hand around the left thumb. Relax the hands. Exhale, then inhale comfortably three times as you hold… Then wrap the right hand around the left index finger and exhale, then inhale 3x then do the same for the left middle finger, ring finger, little finger and left center of palm.
2) Wrap the left hand around the right thumb. Relax the hands. Exhale/inhale comfortably three times as you hold… Then wrap the left hand around the right index finger and exhale/inhale 3x then do the same for the right middle finger, ring finger, little finger and right center of palm.
When you finish holding all the fingers and palms you will have exhaled/inhaled 36 breaths.
THE 36 CONSCIOUS DIVINE BREATHS AND HOLDING YOUR FINGERS
as explained by Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner Pam Makie who is based in New York City:
ATTITUDES are the keys to our harmony with the universe. Each Finger, Thumb and Palm are the simple unlocking KEYS to harmonizing attitudes. Anytime you need to harmonize any attitude, lightly hold the entire corresponding finger, thumb, or palm with your opposite hand. For example if you feel worried hold your entire thumb, if you are angry hold your entire middle finger, etc. See the attitude and finger connection in the illustration.
BE THE BREATH. THE 36 CONSCIOUS DIVINE BREATHS (JIN SHIN JYUTSU)
(3+6=9. Number 9 is New Beginning.) As Mary Burmeister said: “In this Breath, I am One of a kind. There can be no competing, comparing, judging, labeling, or being judged.”
Years ago, while teaching a Jin Shin Jyutsu Self Help Class, I suddenly realized if you hold each finger, thumb and palm for 3 conscious divine breaths each, it adds up to 36. A good way to keep count, and it’s also a new beginning (9)! It becomes a nice little simple but powerful “meditation” for daily use.
So combining this with some of my meditation practices this evolved:
Sit in a straight back chair such as a dining room or kitchen chair. Take off shoes, and place your feet flat on the floor. Relax. As I remember Mary Burmeister saying, “Drop your shoulders. Be the dropping of the shoulders”. Sit comfortably straight. First concentrate on your feet…see them getting bigger and more “open”, more grounded/connected to the earth. They will begin to feel expanded and warmer. Observe how it feels.
NOW FOR THE DEEP CONSCIOUS breaths. WITH AWARENESS first EXHALE FULLY. Now, keeping the awareness of you feet, INHALE (through your nose) from your solar plexus up completely filling your lungs from the bottom up. On the gentle complete inhale feel the expansion of the hips, pelvic girdle and rib cage. Keep shoulders relaxed. Then EXHALE deeply and completely through your nose. BE AWARE of your breath. BE the EXHALE. Are you exhaling and inhaling completely, are you breathing in/out from all areas of your lungs? To check your breathing at first, it may help to keep your hand on your solar plexus to feel the rise (inhale) and the fall (exhale) of that area. Think of inhaling up the back, and exhaling down the front.
Now you are aware of the basics of breathing CONSCIOUS DIVINE BREATHS.
To start the 36 breaths use your opposite hand to separately hold the thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, and palm. Count 3 BREATHS while holding each. Now repeat with the other hand. Observe how you feel after.
Observe the cumulative effect from practicing this daily. As Mary Burmeister said, “Be your own Testimony”.
The Universal Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu contributed the awareness of the 36 Conscious Divine Breaths, and the attitudes connected with the fingers when we are not in optimal harmony, and to hold these fingers.
Not only are you becoming aware of your breath, you also are harmonizing any attitudes of imbalance.
This is a “complicatedly simple” but very powerful way to help yourself.
When not doing this exercise, you will find yourself breathing “better”. Also, if you are fearful you can simply hold your index finger without utilizing the entire exercise. BE YOUR OWN TESTIMONY. This is an art. You are the artist.
Thanks in advance for practising this exercise with us.
Harmonize the world one set of hands at a time, a day at a time!
The thumb and the fingers form the foundation of Jin Shin Jyutsu Self Help.
Just by holding the thumb and the fingers every day one at a time for a few minutes, is a good way to regenerate all our 144,000 energy functions.
Moreover, the effects over time are cumulative, so the more you hold your fingers, the quicker you’ll notice the benefit.
Each thumb and finger is related to an emotion or as we call them in Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ATTITUDE. There are five atttitudes that form the basis, the starting point as it were, of every dis-ease and disharmony:
Worry, Fear (that’s the biggest one at the moment!), Anger, Grief and Pretense (trying to, or ‘efforting’ – the one to hold for the Heart). The hold for Depression and Fatigue is the center of the palm.
Simply hold a finger for a few minutes, or when you’re watching television, waiting for a bus or whatever, to harmonise each attitude. As I always tell people whom I introduce to this Art: ‘You need never be bored again!’
See the links to these older posts for the finger holds:
No matter where I am, or where I travel to, I always see people in a perfect Jin Shin Jyutsu self help hold. They are helping themselves, but they don’t even know it!
Recently, I sat next to a gentleman on a (short) flight. He was at least 6 foot tall, the flight was full and he had to cram himself into a seat next to the window. However, he had a very calm energy about him, and he did not fidget. Then I saw that he was holding his thumb! So I also held my thumb, to help us both!
Isn’t it comforting to know that helping MYSELF is as simple as holding a thumb or a finger? When I first started working with this Art, I was disbelieving. I said to myself: ‘It can’t be that simple. I will start with something much more complicated so I get REALLY good results.’
The interesting thing is that some of my most powerful results have come from spending a few minutes just holding a finger!
I encourage you to choose one of your thumbs or fingers (or let IT choose you!!) – to close your eyes and hold it for a few minutes in a quiet space. The last time I suggested this to a friend, she was amazed to discover that a whole HOUR had gone by – after which she felt like new….
But don’t take my word for it. As Mary always used to say: ‘Be your own testimony.’
Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese healing art which uses the hands to harmonise and regenerate the whole being.
By knowing where to place the hands on the body you can manage pain, eliminate fatigue, stimulate your immune systemn and alleviate most conditions.
I often describe it as ‘acupuncture with the fingers’ and it is safe for every body from pregnant mothers to babies to the elderly or infirm. There are no contraindications either, so Jin Shin Jyutsu is a great support to the system, reducing the negative and harmful effects of drugs or invasive treatments like chemotherapy, for instance.
Every body is made up of the same physical parts and so it is that every body is made up of the same energy ‘flows’. The energy body is a complex and intelligent network that is just as much part of our make up as the physical body, and it can be accessed through a myriad ways (acupuncture, massage, reiki, reflexology, bowen, shiatsu, osteopathy and many others).
So every body can work with their energy for health and vitality to clear small ‘stucknesses’ or large ‘stucknesses’. A small stuckness could manifest as a headache or a cold, and a large stuckness could be cancer.
There are acute conditions like a muscle spasm in the leg for instance and chronic conditions that have developed over time like asthma and arthritis.
To introduce Jin Shin Jyutsu is simply to awaken the awareness of this innate wisdom that each and every one of us has at our disposal to use for a happy, healthy and fulfilled life: Free of stuckness in pain, fatigue, worry, FEAR, anger, grief and pretense.
Awaken your vitality, your health, your power, your wisdom, your potential – you can start, by holding one or more of your fingers. This is the power and the empowerment of Self Help Jin Shin Jyutsu.
If you REGRET the PAST (mind) and if you WORRY about the FUTURE (mind) then you miss the great GIFT of the NOW (BEING) which is why it is called THE PRESENT. When you feel you are not in the present moment, when you feel overwhelmed, not grounded, up in the clouds or just not enjoying life (‘I HATE THIS!’) – HOLD YOUR THUMB. All you need to do is grab one of your thumbs with the opposite hand – hold and relax.
See an older post for more information and the photo. Happy Holding!