Jin Shin Do: Acupuncture Without the Needles

How would you like to be able to ease into a state of head–to–toe relaxation at will? Especially when something doesn’t feel the way it should?  Jin Shin Do may be your gateway to relief.

Just let your fingers do the walking. Or rather massaging.  Acupressure, reports the National Institutes of Health ((NIH), originated in ancient China and is based on the principle of acupoint activation across the meridians which corrects imbalance. Activation of specific points is known to facilitate the reduction of pain at the local sites and reduces the pain from other body parts. By contrast, in acupuncture, this pressure is applied using extremely thin needles strategically placed on those parts of your body needing relief.

According to ancient records, Jin Shin Do was widely known and practiced before the birth of both Buddha and Moses.  Rediscovered in the 1960s, it quickly traveled from Japan to America. You can call it an art or a technique, but by any name it’s transformative, say those who have enjoyed this form of hands-on healing.

The Jin Shin Do practice works with the 26 so-called ‘Safety Energy Locks’ on both sides of the body – usually joints inside the knee, ankle, or wrist. According to practitioners, if one or more of these locks closes, something physically or spiritually is energetically failing.  If all 26 are open, there is health and healing.

This practice is closely related to Jin Shin Jyutsu and like Reiki, its goal is to send a signal to the body to stimulate its own self-healing mechanism. Acupressure, like acupuncture, helps circulate the Qi (chi) and blood flow and releases endorphins and other natural painkillers.

Jin Shin Do translates as “The Way of the Compassionate Spirit.”  A unique synthesis of traditional Japanese and classic Chinese acupuncture/ acupressure techniques, it also reflects Taoist philosophy, Qigong (breathing and exercise techniques), and even some principles of modern psychotherapy.  Acupoints are typically held for one to five minutes for optimal results. It uses gentle but deep finger pressure on specific acupoints to help release chronic tension, balance the “Qi (life force), and improve overall vitality.  Prolonged pressure allows the receiver time to sink deeper into the body, sensing the tension and opening up to any feelings, memories, and images that arise. Using verbal encouragement, breathing exercises, and visualization, patients become more aware of what is happening deep in the body.

Indeed, as different points are held, you may feel moved to talk about (or write/record) any emotions, sensations, or memories that come up.  Jin Shin Do may promote a pleasant even trance-like state, in which you can unwind and move out of your head and into your body, accessing feelings and inner wisdom. In its most basic form, Jin Shin Do can be a powerful, profoundly effective, transformative tool.

What unpleasant or painful conditions can Jin Shin Do undo? Here are a few of the most common.

  • Headaches
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Respiratory problems
  • Digestive issues and nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

You can do it yourself — not like the pros but if you have good hands (or a friend with good hands), here are a handful of ways to get some hands-on healing, the Jin Shin Do way.


  • Warm up your hands under running water, or place them under a simple heating pad and do a few bend and stretch hand-finger exercises to loosen up finger joints
  • Create a healing space, turn down lights, and block out noise. Perhaps fill the room with a  calming  aromatherapy mist, turn on soft music
  • Wear comfortable clothes and lie on a comfortable but firm surface. Completely relax your body head to toe, as though you were in savasana at the end of a yoga class.
  • Breathe deeply and rhythmically for a few minutes before starting.
  • Start by firmly holding the specific pressure point for at least 60 seconds, using a massaging or a gentle up and down movement. This can be repeated a second or third time.


  • To relieve allergies sinus congestion, And/or swelling in cheeks, /head colds: Accessing this acupoint is particularly effective during allergy season or when you are recovering from a head cold.  Locate the pressure point just below your cheekbones in line with your pupil. To drain congestion or irritation from the sinuses, press or rub firmly with one or several fingers until you feel relief. If the area of your cheekbones is red, warm, and swollen (indicating inflammation), only use light pressure to prevent further irritation.
  • For wrist pain, discomfort in the chest, and nausea: Turn your palm up, and measure two-and-a-half finger widths away from your wrist crease toward your elbow to locate this point. . You can press on it with gentle or firm pressure with your opposite hand. Or, in a seated position, stack your forearms on a table or in your lap so the fingertips of both palms align onto the opposite inner wrist over that healing point
  • For stomach pains and anxiety: Find the point two inches below the wrist on the palm side of the forearm.
  • For headaches, facial and neck pain: Find the point between the thumb and index finger between the first and second metatarsal bone in the crease between the thumb and index finger and massage and/or use a slow up/down, back and forth motion.
  • For stress, insomnia, lower back pain:  Press fingers in the depression between the big toe and the second metatarsal bone and massage.
  • Diarrhea, insomnia, leg pain: Use four fingers at the acupoint inside the ankle and above the tip of the ankle bone.
  • Depression, fatigue, gastric distress: In a seated position with your foot on the floor, place four fingers a few inches below and outside the knee bone (patella). Use both pressure massage and a circular massaging motion.

-Frances Goulart

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

Other Posts You Might Like

2 comments on “Jin Shin Do: Acupuncture Without the Needles

  1. Interesting information. Accupressure can actually heal common ailments that can reduce our dependency on pills. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this post.

  2. Avatar photo

    Thanks so much for visiting, and for your kind comment. We appreciate both!

Leave a Reply (and please be kind!)