Acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles in specific points that lie along the body’s meridians, relieving obstructions in the flow of Qi, bringing balance and promoting the body’s natural healing capabilities to enhance its function.
Based on the Chinese Classics, in particular the “Nei-Jing”, which was probably written between the 2nd and 3rd century B.C, Oriental Medicine is one of the oldest medical systems still in therapeutic use today.
Chinese philosophy states that “Qi” (pronounced “Chee”) flows like rivers along pathways (meridians) throughout the body. This constant flow of Qi keeps the body in balance but sometimes can become blocked like water behind a dam (often due to lifestyle factors, injury or infections and viruses etc.). This blockage or disruption in the flow of Qi can lead to illness.
A Western view of how acupuncture works is that it stimulates the central nervous system to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These biochemical changes dull pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions.
As a result of recent scientific research, acupuncture has been proven to benefit a wide variety of conditions. Through this understanding the tradition of acupuncture is steadily becoming an accepted form of healthcare amongst the western medical and scientific community.
There are various schools of acupuncture and their techniques vary depending on their philosophies. At KiSen acupuncture there are two forms of acupuncture practiced.
Toyohari: A Japanese technique that was developed by the blind acupuncturists in Japan.
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine): The more commonly practiced technique in both China and the West.
Toyohari – Japanese Meridian Therapy
Acupuncture in Japan has been influenced by a four hundred year old tradition of blind practitioners. This particular practice is broadly called Japanese Meridian Therapy and has many schools teaching slight variations depending on how they have developed.
In 1959 Kodo Fukushima, a blind acupuncturist founded the Toyohari Medical Association, which trained hundreds of sightless practitioners and in more recent years those that are sighted. Practitioners regularly come together to study and work together, refining their skills.
Toyohari excels on the practitioners ability to feel and work with Qi, placing great emphasis on pulse and abdominal diagnosis. This sensitivity is required for precise point location and subtle (often non-inserted) needling techniques, making it ideal for those who are wary of needles.
It’s theoretical foundation is derived from the medical classics, in particular the Nan Jing but includes the Nei Jing, Su Wen and Ling Shu.
Toyohari is a powerful therapeutic system for both preventing disease and maintaining health.
Moxibustion – Kyu
The common name is Mugwort but called Moxa by acupuncturists. It is the dried leaves of Artemisia Vulgaris. This is used to apply warmth and heat to specific points or general areas of the body.
The process of applying moxa is called moxibustion and allows the therapeutic heat to enter the body moving Qi and Blood and creating a powerful healing response.
Application is done in many different ways. Some include the following:
- Chinetsukyu – Cone moxa: Creating small cone shapes that sit directly on the skin and then lit. Depending on the technique that is being applied the patient may or may not feel the heat. When the heat is gently felt it is removed and another applied until the heat is felt deeper into the body. This is sometimes applied on top of salt or ginger or both, depending on the desired affect being administered.
- Kyutoshin – Moxa on needle: The herb is gently rolled into a ball and stuck to the end of the needle. It is then lit from underneath so a warmth can be felt radiating over the local area.
- Moxa Stick: The herb has been rolled into cigar shaped sticks which is lit and held 2-3cm over points or areas while radiating heat.
- Okyu: Japanese technique for rolling moxa into small sizes like rice grain, sesame or thread like. This is then applied directly to the skin using a special cream and lit. In this method you may or may not personally feel the stimulation but will receive the healing affects of the moxa.
When appropriate a specific moxa technique can be taught to a patient for further treatments at home in between their acupuncture appointments.