Japanese Style Acupuncture
"The hara is the basic place of the living energy. Therefore, the roots of all diseases are here. When you diagnose disease, you must diagnose the hara. Before touching the pulse, one has to diagnose the symptoms. Before diagnosing the symptoms, one has to touch the hara." - Yanagiya
If you have had an Acupuncture treatment in the past, chances are it was most likely a Chinese Acupuncture Style treatment. Although this form of acupuncture is the most common style practiced, there are many other styles of acupuncture practiced around the globe today. And while the goal of any acupuncture treatment is to bring the body back into balance and relieve the symptoms of the main complaint, the treatment strategies and approaches often look and feel different between each of these styles.
From a broader perspective, Chinese Acupuncture treats the signs and symptoms of the imbalance or illness that a patient presents with. Japanese Acupuncture Styles, however, concentrates on balancing the energy, or Ki, flow within the body in what is known as Meridian Therapy. The emphasis during a Japanese Acupuncture Style treatment is on strengthening and harmonizing the overall flow of energy in the body, rather than treating any specific disease or illness.
"In Meridian Therapy, the condition of the meridians is diagnosed rather than diagnosing to identify the disease (as in Western medicine)." - Honma, 1949
Palpation is at the heart of diagnosis in every Japanese Acupuncture Style treatment. A diagnosis is made through palpation of the abdomen, or Hara, and listening to the pulse. Areas on the abdomen, called reflection zones, represent the different systems of the body and are palpated to find manifestations of deficiency or excess in the patients body. Information obtained during palpation of these zones is a reflection of the overall health and condition of these systems. Palpating the pulse helps to diagnose the balance of energy, or Ki, in the organs and meridians.
Japanese Acupuncture Style treatments are typically a two step process. First, a root treatment is given, followed by a local, or branch, treatment. The root treatment is determined during palpation of the abdomen and pulse and addresses the underlying cause of the symptoms presented by the patient. The local treatment addresses the symptoms directly.
During treatments, thin filiform needles are inserted into specific points on the body superficially, usually between 3 to 5 millimeters, using a guide tube. This style of treatment results in a more relaxing experience for the patient and is especially suited for the very young, weak, or sensitive patient. In cases where there is a phobia of needles, there are non-insertive options available.
The use of direct and indirect forms of moxibustion are also used during treatments. Moxibustion is an herbal therapy using moxa made from the leaves of dried mugwart (Artemisia vulgaris). Moxibustion has been used as a treatment strategy for thousands of years and the properties of the herb help to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Ki, and maintain overall health.