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Shoulder Wellness: The Whole Person Approach with Jin Shin Jyutsu®

By Michelle Giambra, Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner & Self-Help Instructor


The shoulders are a common area of complaint for tension, stress, discomfort and pain. Causes of shoulder problems can include accidents, injuries, genetics and lifestyle.  Both underuse and overuse from activities such as long hours on the computer, golfing and lengthy car trips place stress on the shoulders. Mental and emotional anxieties also affect all parts of the body, especially the shoulders.


The Mental and Emotional Connection

Our thoughts and emotions significantly affect our bodies. Have you ever noticed the tension that builds in the shoulders with thoughts like, “I should have done this,” “I shouldn’t have said that” or “I should be doing such and such?” These thoughts cause the shoulders to tighten and raise towards the ears. Mounting tension and stress reflect the thought patterns, and shoulders become the “should”-ers. This is related to the “trying-to’s,” one of five attitudes identified in Jin Shin Jyutsu®.


“As Above, So Below”

No body part is an island unto itself. Tension in one part of the body that is not addressed will affect other areas of the body. With the Jin Shin Jyutsu, principle of “as above, so below,” we understand that an imbalance above the waistline often exhibits itself below the waistline too. The shoulders affect areas below the waistline and vice versa. 


The Whole Person Approach

Jin Shin Jyutsu considers the whole body and the whole person. So each session is unique, customized to the individual’s needs. When someone presents a shoulder issue to a trained Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner, the practitioner assesses the level of harmony of the energy pathways in the body, observes body alignment, then considers the relationship of the shoulder to the pelvic girdle and the connections with mental and emotional information shared by the client.    

The practitioner fine-tunes the session by identifying specific hands-on energy harmonizing sequences to use based on all of this information. Two people with the same type of shoulder complaint might receive two completely different harmonizing sequences because the sessions are customized to the individual’s needs.

One of my favorite “shoulder stories” is about a client who had a frozen left shoulder. He was a “nonbeliever” in holistic modalities. He only came for a session because his wife booked it and paid in advance. We began with a short interview and then he laid down on the massage table. I placed my fingertips on certain pulse points on his wrists to assess the flow of his energy pathways. I touched certain areas of his body in specific sequences to harmonize the energy flow. 

Note, I did not touch his shoulder for the entire session. Using the “as above, so below” principle, I worked primarily with a harmonizing sequence on this right hip and leg. About halfway into the session, he remarked that he felt something happen. At the end of the hour, he sat up and, in amazement, raised his arm. He had full range-of-motion in his previously “frozen” shoulder.

We don’t always experience these dramatic results in one session, but this is an example of the profound nature of Jin Shin Jyutsu and the “as above, so below” principle.   Jin Shin Jyutsu is a safe, gentle and powerful adjunct to all healing modalities. This example demonstrates that a receiver does not need to “believe” in the practice for it to be effective. As with most modalities, more than one session could be needed.


Self-Help for Shoulders

Most trained practitioners also teach Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help to their clients. One or more of the following applications can be used to ease shoulder issues and to maintain shoulder wellness:


  1. Drape the right hand over the left shoulder with the fingers touching the top of the shoulder blade. Place the left hand in the left groin. Relax the shoulders and breathe Gently. No need to apply pressure or massage. Hold for several minutes, or until the stress eases.
  2. Drape the left hand over the right shoulder with the fingers touching the top of the shoulder blade. Place the right hand in the right groin. Relax the shoulders and breathe gently. No need to apply pressure or massage. Hold for several minutes, or until the stress eases.
  3. Hold the little finger by wrapping the right fingers around the left little finger. Be comfortable, relax and breathe. No need to apply pressure or massage. Hold for several minutes, or until the stress eases. (Reverse for the right little finger.)
  4. Give yourself a “big hug.” Place the right thumb under the left collarbone. Place the right fingers in the left armpit. Place the left thumb under the right collarbone. Place the left fingers in the right armpit. Be comfortable, relax and breathe. Hold for several minutes, or until the stress eases.
  5. Take 36 conscious breaths. Close your eyes and relax. Become aware of your breathing. Count the breaths by counting exhalations. Exhale, count one, inhale. Exhale, count 2two inhale. Continue until you complete a total of 36 exhalations.


The Jin Shin Jyutsu information provided in this article is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your own physician or other healthcare professional. Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner, Michelle Giambra, LMT has over 20 years of experience with Jin Shin Jyutsu. She offers individual sessions, teaches self-help classes, and facilitates guided energy-harmonizing meditations at her Suncoast Jin Shin Jyutsu studio located in the Rosemary Court Wellness Center, downtown Sarasota.  She is also available for home and hospital visits. For more information, call

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