Touch is the technique that humans use to soothe themselves and others. It works in a way that mental exercises simply cannot, and it certainly transcends words and the intellect.
In recent posts, we covered the importance of finding stillness and resting in it and also how to give names to the emotions you are feeling as part of your journey to experiencing more of what you want to feel and less of what you don’t want to feel.
But what about those times when upset or anxiousness or unease itself is keeping you from the stillness or calm you are seeking…when you have to try to calm down while in public…when you are pressed for time? Are there simple touch techniques that can soothe you and that you can use on yourself quickly and pretty much anywhere?
There are. In this post, we’ll review three that I use and love. They are so simple that you can learn and perform the basics quickly and well enough to bring relief.
JIN SHIN JYUTSU
The first is a Japanese art called Jin Shin Jyutsu [meaning, way of the compassionate spirit]. It involves holding each finger with the opposing hand, alternating from one hand to the other (thumbs first) and then lightly pressing on each palm at the end. It is a form of light acupressure that involves both touch and breathing and is an excellent way to release tensions. When done in a focused way, 5 minutes of jin shin jyutsu can have the same releasing effect as an hour of meditation.
- Watch the basic 5-minute technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdZbxcoipSQ
- To dig deeper, watch a multi-part series on calming anxiety:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93tFALaQ7aM (part 1, worry)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooB7r1S0ooI (part 2, fear)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLVDjqoqAFQ (part 3, general stress/anxiety)
- An excellent PDF from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health includes words that can be used when teaching the art to other adults and to children:
the link to the Capacitar emergency kit is: https://capacitar.org/wp-content/uploads/EngCapEmergKit.pdf
- To read more, I recommend “The Touch of Healing: Energizing Body, Mind, and Spirit with the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu”, by Alice Burmeister.
Though different sources may vary slightly in describing the emotions and physical connections most strongly related to each finger, here is a general guide:
- Thumb – tears, grief, worry, upset; skin surface, spleen, stomach; when in balance, supports the ability to give and receive nourishment of all types.
- Index/Pointer – fear, panic, feeling scared; muscular system, kidney, bladder; in balance, brings joy.
- Middle – anger, rage, resentment; blood, liver, gall bladder; in balance, supports enhanced compassion.
- Ring – sadness/grief; deep skin, lungs, large intestine; in balance, supports the ability to receive and let go as needed.
- Pinkie/Baby – self-doubt, insecurity; nervousness, trying to pretend; skeletal system, heart, and small intestine; in balance, supports trust and receptivity to inspiration.
TIP: If time or privacy are limited, simply holding the thumb or the thumb, index, and middle fingers of one hand for a couple of minutes can be highly effective.
AROMATOUCH © Technique (ATT)
The AromaTouch © Technique is a simple way of applying essential oils to the body that takes advantage of reflexology points on the hands (a related technique is performed on the entire body). ATT was developed by Dr. David K. Hill, Chief Medical Officer; Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee of doTERRA International; and well-known throughout the world as an expert in essential oils and integrative medicine. With the hand technique, the receiver experiences something like a hand massage but with additional therapeutic effects provided by certain touch techniques that differ from traditional massage and by the oils themselves. By starting at the wrist and using the thumbs to apply moderate pressure to the back of the hand, palm, fingers, and interstitial skin, ATT is able to apply the oils to the entire hand and, therefore, to all organs, systems, and the entire body.
While ATT certification training focuses on performing the technique on someone else, I use the technique on my own hands and feet as needed. I am certified in ATT and love teaching others how to use and share the hand technique.
- For videos and written explanations of ATT, go to: https://www.aromatouch.com/#/
- For a simple hand reflexology chart with suggested doTERRA oils for specific organs and systems, go to: https://www.aromatools.com/personal-care/massage-tools-accessories/charts/foot-and-hand-reflexology-chart-4th-edition.html
ATT supports both physical and emotional relief. Each hand takes about 5 minutes for a full treatment, so the entire protocol on both hands would take 10-15 minutes (the whole body technique – which does not include the hands – takes about an hour).
TIP: If time or privacy are limited, performing the technique on one hand can give significant relief.
TAPPING (Emotional Freedom Technique, psychological acupressure)
My tapping journey started more than 10 years ago when a good friend performed it on my husband to help with stress and anxiety related to PTSD, depression, and other combat-related issues. I only observed her a few times back then, and we moved far away before I could learn any techniques in depth. Just recently, I was able to take my first formal live class on using tapping for combatting stress and anxiety and to attend sessions of the online world tapping summit to deepen and broaden my perspective on what tapping can be used to address (a few examples are: chronic pain and other physical issues; emotional issues; relationships; disorders, addictions, phobias; and goal attainment).
Tapping is a simple series of mental, verbal, and physical steps meant to take the receiver from pain or feeling stuck to relief/release. You can guide your own tapping through these steps once you know them: define the issue; rate your level of discomfort; create a “setup phrase”; tap through the body points a number of times while rephrasing the setup statement as you move through emotions and blocks; reassess the new level of discomfort. The ultimate goal is to have zero or near zero discomfort because you have given yourself permission to face your limiting beliefs and work through them to find freedom.
- A brief written overview of the steps can be found here: https://www.healthline.com/health/eft-tapping
- An excellent starter video with the technique can be found here: https://youtu.be/pAclBdj20ZU
Tapping can be used in a preventative way as well, like a daily tonic to keep you in balance and tuned in to what your mind and body are telling you. Tapping can also be performing using an imaginary/symbolic event if you have stress or anxiety that you can’t pin to a specific real event (you are working through the emotional and physical pain, confusion, etc. either way).
Tip: If time or privacy are limited, you can simply tap on the karate chop point on the side of one hand. I particularly appreciate this, because this tapping protocol is extremely discrete and can provide relief when there are no words or they are too hard to formulate or express.
BONUS: Regardless of which touch technique you apply, use of essential oils for aromatherapy during your practice can add an extra layer of support to the clearing of blocks. One oil duo in particular, Yarrow|Pomegranate, is exceptionally good at releasing buried emotions. It is powerful at breaking down blocks and should be used with caution until you know how your mind and body will handle it. Wellness Made Simple is available to support you during your journey.