A mother’s touch is sometimes all it takes to quiet a crying child. And touch is also proving effective at relieving pain, stress and nausea from cancer.
A new study by the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center found that patients reported significant improvement in side effects from cancer after just one session of Jin Shin Jyutsu touch therapy.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese healing art believed to be at least 5,000 years old. Like acupuncture, it is based on the theory that all disease begins with energy blockages. But instead of needles, therapists use their fingertips to gently touch and connect 26 points on the body known as “safety energy locks.” Connecting these points releases the energy and encourages the body to heal itself, according to practitioners.
The study of 159 patients was funded by the Lexington Cancer Foundation and conducted by Jennifer Bradley, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner at the Markey Cancer Center. The patients were fully clothed except for shoes.
During each Jin Shin Jyutsu session, patients received light touches in predetermined order known as “flows.” Bradley then asked each patient to assess their symptoms of pain, stress and nausea on a scale of zero to 10, with zero representing no symptoms.
The study found that patients experienced significant reduction of all of those symptoms after the first visit, and for each subsequent visit. The symptoms decreased an average of three points for stress and two points for both pain and nausea. Bradley says the greatest overall improvement came during longer sessions.
“It was interesting to note that regardless of age, sex or diagnosis, cancer patients received a statistically significant improvement in the side effects from treatment,” said Bradley. “It is encouraging to note that Jin Shin Jyutsu made improvements in these areas without adding additional unwanted effects that so often occur with interventions.”
The study did not include controls for parameters such as the time between sessions, location and duration of service. Bradley, who offers Jin Shin Jyutsu free of charge to all cancer patients, plans to conduct a more scientific study with more controls and access to patient medical records.
“There is a need for additional research to develop evidence-based interventions that have a positive impact on the quality of life for cancer patients and cancer survivors,” said Bradley. “From what I have seen in my office and the results shown in the study, I believe that Jin Shin Jyutsu has great promise in this area.”