WE VISIT doctors for everything from the common cold to indigestion, and very often, we wish our ailments could disappear with just a touch of a hand. Amazingly, this may actually be possible through the ancient Japanese art of self-healing called Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ). Although it may sound like a pseudo-science placebo, the practice of JSJ is actually rooted in time-honoured healing traditions. It was rediscovered in the early 20th century by the late Japanese philosopher Master Jiro Murai. Murai was terminally ill at one point and requested that his family bring him up to a mountain cabin where he had expected to die. While passing in and out of consciousness during meditation sessions, Murai had visions of spiritual masters practising hand mudras (gestures), which he subsequently performed on awakening, and in the process, he underwent healing as well. Upon recovering, he dedicated his entire life to unravelling the link between hand mudras and self-healing, which led to the rediscovery and refinement of JSJ. Along the way, he met Mary Burmeister, a Japanese-American who became his apprentice. He passed down the knowledge to her and she brought it to the rest of the world. Energy is an essential element in the foundation of JSJ. It begins with the understanding that ‘life energy’ pervades the universe and flows within every living organism through breathing. This energy – also known as qi in Chinese, ki in Japanese, or prana in Sanskrit – manifests itself in varying levels of density, and will gradually encompass the physical, psychological, and spiritual areas of our beings. Subsequently, our body, mind, and spirit will be at its optimal state when the energy that flows and circulates within without obstruction is in harmony with the universe. Murai suggested that obstructions to the energy flow arise from the following attitudes – worry, fear, anger, sadness, and pretence. When the qi flow is obstructed, we will experience problems based on the amount of accumulated blocked energy; smaller blockages could result in a mild cough or headache, whereas larger amounts of blocked energy could bring about major illnesses such as heart problems or cancer. But regardless the size of the blockage, Murai stated that it is possible to free the stagnant energy through the gentle touch of a hand on distinctive points on our bodies which he called the Safety Energy Locks (SEL). There are 26 SEL points in our bodies, and just like foot reflexology, touching certain points can release blocked energy in the corresponding body part. For example, gently touching the inside upper corner of the shoulder blade can treat colds and fever. It is also possible to do it on our own fingers. It’s as simple as holding the thumb to aid digestion, the index finger for toothaches, or the ring finger for excessive mucous. “Imagine our hands as jumper cables for our dead car battery,” said Alan Yong, a senior member of the JSJ Malaysia community and certified practitioner of the art. Prior to Yong’s involvement with the art, he suffered neck aches for more than 15 years caused by a degenerating spine condition. He often went for chiropractor treatment sessions in Perth, but that only provided temporary relief for the excruciating pain. In early 2014, while browsing the internet for remedies, he came across a JSJ treatment centre that was located near his home. Desperate to be rid of the pain, he tried one session despite not having any knowledge about the art, and miraculously, the agonising pain he had suffered for years disappeared. Today, Yong is actively involved in the local JSJ community, and is working hard to promote awareness of the art to Malaysians through workshops. He is currently organising two upcoming ones – a free sharing session for cancer patients this Sunday at Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaysia (PAUM) with Australian practitioner Maria Miniello; and a five-day JSJ seminar on July 28 at Holiday Villa Subang, with guest practitioner Jennifer Holmes from New Zealand. “My only hope is to see people live a healthy life, I don’t want to see profit. I just want to see them happy because I know how it feels like to be in pain,” he said. “It’s not just good for their quality of life per se, it’s also good for them economically because medication and treatments are so expensive these days.” Despite that, Yong warns that JSJ shouldn’t be the sole solution to approaching an illness, nor should it be an excuse to not seek medical treatment when things get serious. “For example, if someone were to be suffering from a cardiac arrest, immediately call an ambulance! While waiting for their arrival, perform JSJ on the person to alleviate the symptoms and the pain.” For more, visit the Jin Shin Jyutsu Malaysia Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JSJMalaysia).