Japanese Style Acupuncture
Most systems of acupuncture, if not all, have their roots in a system of medicine that developed in China several thousand years ago. The Japanese Style of Acupuncture is no exception to this. Just as the human body has a cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous and musculoskeletal system, the old Chinese acupuncture ancestors discovered that there is another important system of the body known as the Meridian System. This is an energetic system of anatomy and physiology, composed of river-like pathways that travel through and are responsible for optional functioning of all other systems of the body. These pathways are unique entities and do not correspond to nerve pathways.
The Japanese Style of Acupuncture, known as Meridian Therapy, has several distinguishing factors that differentiate it from other styles.
Palpation (the process of using one's hands to assess the body) is fundamental. The ability to actually feel the presence of these meridians as well as points along them is the single most important skill in order to effectively practice Meridian Therapy.
The focus is on “live” acupuncture points. Rather than using anatomical locations to find the points to be used during a treatment, Meridian Therapists feel for where the point is actually open and specifically applies treatment there.
Gentle, non-invasive, non-retention needle techniques. The Japanese Style Acupuncture points are located on the surface of the skin or just below it. Rather than tapping a needle into a point and leaving it there, then removing it roughly thirty minutes later, a Meridian Therapy Treatment is a "non-retention style" of acupuncture. This means that the needles are not often actually left in, but the practitioner is moving around with a needle and working on the patient throughout the entire treatment.
Japanese Style Acupuncturists sense when the energy has been activated. This is more often observed as a subtle, but profound shift. Breathing softens, shoulders relax, sometimes a gentle, soothing, warm sensation is felt and an overall feeling of clarity will enter the room. “The sign of this is like the wind blowing the clouds away. It becomes clear and bright as if looking into the blue sky.” ~ Dr. Shudo Denmei
Root and Branch Treatment: Emphasis is given to the “Root” Treatment (or constitutional treatment) first. The Root Treatment seeks to address the core energetic, constitutional, and structural imbalances in a person. "Branch" Treatments (or local treatments) are employed to specifically target a symptomatic complaint.
Other unique aspects to Japanese Style Acupuncture include: Hara (abdominal diagnosis), Direct Moxabustion (direct point stimulation by heat therapy), Intradermal Needles, Teishin (a non-insertive needle technique), etc.
In essence, referring to a style of acupuncture as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are misnomers. Over time, a style becomes one’s own and no two practitioners actually have the same style; albeit they may share certain similarities.
It is my sincere hope this has been helpful in answering any questions one may have about the Meridian Therapy style of Japanese Acupuncture that I practice.
~ Todd Turetsky, L Ac.