Elizabeth Meadows – her journey with Jin Shin Jyutsu
By Sonia Yoshioka-Carroll (2007)
What makes a high-flying executive swap her day job for holistic healing? And how did she manage to fight off breast cancer in the process?
To look at Elizabeth Meadows, you’d be hard-pressed to find the woman who – until not so very long ago – was the HR Manager for Microsoft New Zealand. Her mid-length blonde bob has been replaced with a short, gamine cut and she’s not afraid to say that she’s dropped a few dress sizes … “chemo will do that for you” she says dryly.
Elizabeth says her story isn’t much different from other breast cancer sufferers. “I was a busy wife and mother, who was used to working 12 hour days and looking after others. Stress was a daily part of life” she said. “I didn’t have time to focus on myself, so I just kept going. Most women can identify with that.” Elizabeth’s daughter Sarah had recently returned from overseas, and twin sons Robin and Gareth were getting on with their lives when Elizabeth decided to make the break from the corporate world to a life of holistic healing.
“I discovered Jin Shin Jyutsu (pronounced gin shin jit-soo) when one of my sons was struck down with a mystery illness” said Elizabeth. “Here was this strong, fit 19-year-old who was curled up in bed, in total agony, and the doctors couldn’t tell us what was wrong. He’d been given every conventional test under the sun, but no answers or possible cures. He had three years of suffering like that, and became desperately ill and terribly depressed,” she said.
“I had been told about Jin Shin Jyutsu by someone and thought “what do we have to lose?” – so we took him along to a practitioner. He had two sessions and hasn’t been sick since,” she said, smiling. “After that, I decided I should find a bit more about this wonderful process, and spent the next six years studying Jin Shin Jyutsu.”
“The subject fascinated me,” continued Elizabeth “and eventually I decided I should follow my heart and go into practice for myself. So I set up my treatment rooms at home and said goodbye to my Microsoft family after 14 years. It was a big step – made fundamentally bigger when I discovered a lump in my breast 3 months later!” Elizabeth had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Before this, I had never been sick, and I felt invincible,” said Elizabeth. “When I discovered the lump, everything stopped. I’d given up my job in a prestigious company, and my safety net had gone. I had to re-evaluate everything in my life and make some significant changes.”
Elizabeth discussed all her options with her surgeon and oncologist. As well as having the tumour removed, she would undergo 4 sessions of chemotherapy and a 20-day course of radiotherapy. Alongside the conventional treatment, Elizabeth also had Jin Shin Jyutsu treatments three times a week – stepping it up to daily treatments when she started chemotherapy.
“My sister came with me to every chemo session,” said Elizabeth “and we did some simple JSJ holds. “Once they hooked up the drip, I could feel the coldness of the chemicals as they trickled up my arm. My sister would hold opposite fingers and toes to help keep the energy flowing and help move the chemicals through the body to eliminate them as quickly as possible,” said Elizabeth. “Once the chemotherapy drugs are in your body tissue, it burdens the liver and really slows the body down.”
Elizabeth had a JSJ session with her friend Sandy after each radiotherapy session . Sandy sat at her feet, with her palms placed gently on Elizabeth’s calves while she (Elizabeth) placed her left hand on the treatment area and placed her right hand on top. “That hold can be used for any burn,” she explained. “It takes the heat out of the tissue and minimizes damage.”
“I’m convinced that having the JSJ treatment helped me through every part of that process,” said Elizabeth. “It helped me to mentally prepare for what my body would go through, and kept me calm and centered. I didn’t have a huge see-saw of emotions.”
“I recovered quickly from the surgery, however during the chemo phase, I did lose my hair” said Elizabeth. “Most people thought my wig was a ‘great new style,’ which was quite sweet, but I “retired” the wig on Christmas Day 2006. It was very liberating,” she said.
“During the chemotherapy, there was a chance my chemo treatments would be put on hold because my white count was so low. To help it improve, I did a simple JSJ hold and the count doubled overnight. It meant we could continue with the chemo regime,” she said.
“When I went back 9 days after my radiotherapy had finished, there was very little evidence of having had radiotherapy. I didn’t show any oedema or surface tissue damage and the usual side effects of sunburn and blistering weren’t there either,” said Elizabeth.
“I know that my experience is totally personal, so I’m not holding it up as a cure-all for cancer,” said Elizabeth, “but Jin Shin Jyutsu was a key tool in my toolbox and, at my one-year check-up, the oncologist was amazed with my progress. I’m cancer-free!” she said. As well as ongoing JSJ treatments, Elizabeth bolstered her vegetarian diet with vitamin supplements and has cut down her caffeine and alcohol intake.
“This last year has been a turning point in my life,” said Elizabeth “and I am looking for ways to give others the chance to experience what Jin Shin Jyutsu can do for them. I’ve approached the Sweet Louise Foundation to offer my services as a JSJ practitioner. My vision is to open a centre in Auckland focusing on all aspects of holistic healing, where people can come for a variety of treatments and step back from the stress of daily life. It’s this ongoing stress which is killing us, she said.”
Elizabeth has her clinic in and Kohimarama and can be contacted via her website or by phoning 09 521 1794.