Jin Shin Do Foundation for Bodymind Acupressure

JSD in a U.S. Hospital

By Sandra Farnham, L.M.T., Authorized Jin Shin Do® Teacher, Rockford, Illinois; AOBTA® Certified Practitioner
(From the 2010 Acupressure News, as printed in AOBTA®'s Summer 2011 Pulse.)


One of the most rewarding things that I have done in my life was giving Jin Shin Do® Acupressure sessions to patients at SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. I loved being in the hospital. It was great having patients excited to see me. I mostly worked on the oncology floor. Some of the patients are there for weeks at a time, so I got to know them. As soon as they knew I was there to help them feel better, they loved it. After a few visits, they told me it was their favorite part of the day, or the only thing they had to look forward to.

When working with doctors and nurses, the most important thing to understand was that I was in a western allopathic medical establishment. I had to respect the way they believe medicine should be practiced. That is, I had to have a truly 'wholistic' attitude, respecting the wonders of Western medicine while using JSD® acupressure techniques to help patients feel better and so enjoy their lives more.

The hospital hired me as a contracted licensed massage therapist. My job description was to help patients relax and feel better. I saw inpatients in their hospital rooms. I also saw out-patients who were waiting for surgery. To the hospital, I was there to comfort patients. I started using acupressure points to help with massages.

Most of the doctors, nurses, and administrators didn't know anything about acupressure. When I heard a nurse talk about a problem like nausea, panic attack or headache, I would tell them that acupressure might help and ask if I could see those patients. Some of the nurses would say, 'You can try.' Others would say no that the patient was in too much pain.

The nurses started hearing the patients say things like, "I don't need the medicine now; my stomach is fine" or "the pain is gone." When they saw me in the hall, the nurses started asking me to see patients who had a problem they thought I might be able to help.

'Sitters' stay in rooms where patients are confused and very restless. When I saw sitters, I would go in those rooms to help relax the patients. They usually were quiet and slept for hours after just a short JSD neck release. Sometimes I would just hold the #20s and that would be enough, if they were very frail.

When nurses had headaches, I started giving them JSD neck releases. They were amazed that pain could be gone in just a few minutes. I did the same for our department personnel, who then got me when the upper management people, including doctors, had headaches. They didn't know why it works, but they liked it! The department then let me see outpatients and employees for hour JSD sessions.

A headache clinic opened in the building attached to the hospital. My supervisor and I went to the grand opening, and she introduced me to the doctor certified in headaches. He was very open to trying alternative techniques. I told him about how JSD acupressure helped me with my headaches, and said that I would like to help his patients with muscular tension headaches. He said he had a patient in the hospital who was admitted for intractable headache pain, and he wanted me to see her. I did so, and the pain was reduced from an eight to a two. This was on a scale from ten to one, with ten being unbearable pain and one being no pain. It took only about 45 minutes.

This doctor then referred patients to our department and I saw them for a session as an outpatient. I gave them a 'Fundamentals of Self-Acupressure' handbook. I taught them to use the points in the book to get control of their own headaches. This worked great.

This department of the hospital is funded by part of a large grant to the university with which the hospital is associated. Patients were not charged for the first three sessions or the handbook. There was an ongoing study to show what percent of people seen by myself or my students got relief and were gradually able to take less or no pain medicine. I hoped enough information would be gathered to show insurance companies how much we could save them!

As of January 2010, our status at the hospital was changed from contractors to employees. It was a big step for the hospital to thus take on the responsibility of our actions with alternative therapies and integrated medicine. However, it meant lower pay. Nonetheless, I chose to stay on because there I got to try to help so many people that I wouldn't otherwise see.

One was a young woman whose muscles were so contracted that her head was completely on her shoulder. You could see the jaw muscles contracting. It looked like she was hooked up to an electric muscle stimulator. Her legs and feet were contracting backward too. I held #22, 21, & 20 with the jaw point, and the contractions actually stopped for a while! I held the back points all the way down, and she said the pain was a lot less. I went back when her family was there, and showed them how to hold some points on her. This was her third day and her head was about 3 inches off her shoulder. Of course, she was getting a lot of meds that were helping too.

Once I was walking past a room where a nurse was trying to get a patient to breath through his nose to get better oxygen. He was gasping for air. I went in and held some neck and chest points. His chest looked like a rock before I started. There was no movement there as he tried to breath. After I held #30 with the Lung Source point, his chest relaxed and his breathing improved. The nurse came in and checked his oxygen level. It was 84 before I started and 91 afterwards. I looked in on him several times after that and he was breathing easy.

Now, two of my students continue to work at the hospital. I work for two doctors. One is a pain management specialist. I have a room at their office to see patients.

The best part is: insurance companies pay for patients to see me for Jin Shin Do® Acupressure! They must be seen at the prescribing doctor's office. Acupressure falls under massage therapy, which falls under physical therapy. The diagnosis code is myofascial pain (729.1). The procedure code is myofascial therapy (97124).

My first Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure® teacher, Sue Michaelsen L.M.T., was the first massage therapist at SwedishAmerican Hospital who is a Registered Jin Shin Do® Acupressurist. Sue helped pave the way for this to be possible.

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