Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Touch Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

An article in the University of Kentucky News by Allison Perry reports that cancer patients reported less pain after receiving a touch therapy called Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient form of therapy similar to acupuncture:
The study found that in each session patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress, and nausea with the first visit and in subsequent visits as well. The mean decreases experienced were three points for stress and two points for both pain and nausea.

"I was pleased to see quantitatively the improvements that patients noted in these primary areas of discomfort," said [Jennifer]
Bradley. "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. It is encouraging to note that Jin Shin Jyutsu made improvements in these areas without adding additional unwanted effects that so often occur with medication interventions."
Funded by a grant from the Lexington Cancer Foundation, Jin Shin Jyutsu is considered part of an integrative treatment plan available at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Bradley offers Jin Shin Jyutsu to all cancer patients at no charge. Patients may self-refer, though half are referred by their physician or Markey staff.
How and why it works needs further explanation, at least for the scientific rationalists. Can it be that the human act of touch—an act of compassion— releases endorphins in the recipient's body? Or it it just a matter of pressure points? Or it it both? I am no scientist, but I wonder. Even so, anything that can reduce the painful effects of cancer and its treatment is a good thing. 

The article explains the process, and it seems like an effective pain-management method: "During a Jin Shin Jyutsu session, patients receive light touches on 52 specific energetic points called Safety Energy Locks as well as fingers, toes, and midpoints on the upper arm, upper calf and lower leg in predetermined orders known as 'flows.' Patients remained clothed except for shoes and all hand placements are done over clothing."