japanese-acupuncture

Japanese Acupuncture: “How is it different?”

Japanese acupuncture is far gentler than that used in Traditional Chinese medicine.


After practicing Traditional Chinese acupuncture for more than ten years, I discovered that Japanese acupuncture techniques were not only gentler, but also entailed more refined skills of clinical observation. It made sense to me that if I used gentler treatments with more refined diagnostic skills, each treatment would be more individualized according to the patients’ needs.

The needles used in Japanese acupuncture are ultra-fine and disposable stainless steel. These are inserted less than 1/4 of an inch into the skin and usually cause almost no temporary on-site discomfort. In one specialized technique a silver needle is applied only to the surface of the skin without insertion. READ MORE

Japanese acupuncture is based on an understanding that there are roads or channels, called meridians, which map the entire body. Each channel is related to a specific organ such as the liver, kidney, or heart. There are 12 common pathways. A diagnosis made within this medical tradition relies on a determination of which organ pathway needs the most attention and is described as a sho pattern. Acupuncture techniques are then applied with the intention of regulating excesses and deficiencies and supporting the associated organ of the sho pattern.

Chinese monk-physicians introduced acupuncture to Japan 1,400 years ago. Acupuncture needles then were made from silver and gold. For centuries afterwards, royal families were the main recipients of these treatments; common people relied on traditional plant medicines and manual therapies. Japanese medicine relied on these three modalities until the late 19th century, when Western medicine was introduced as a part of European military influence on Japanese society. Traditional Japanese acupuncturists were then denied the title of doctor if they did not receive additional Western medical training. Nevertheless, traditional acupuncture methods were preserved and eventually, a sophisticated therapeutic methodology was developed that fosters the practice of acupuncture in contemporary Japanese medicine.

One characteristic that marked the development of Japanese acupuncture was the introduction of guide tubes designed to aid in the insertion of acupuncture needles into the skin. Before the invention of guide tubes, traditional practitioners of Chinese acupuncture had inserted the needles by hand or used a small hammer to tap needles into position. Guide tubes allowed for the use of thinner needles and led to less pain in the course of treatment; they have become the standard for needle insertion. Historically, it is interesting to note that a blind Japanese acupuncturist invented the guide tube, which led to a surge of interest in acupuncture as a skilled trade for the blind. Japan thus developed the world’s first formal vocational school for the blind and acupuncture continues to be a vocation for the blind.

After practicing Traditional Chinese acupuncture for more than ten years, I discovered that Japanese acupuncture techniques were not only gentler than what I had been using but also entailed more refined skills of clinical observation. It made sense to me that if I used gentler treatments with more refined diagnostic skills, each treatment would be more individualized according to the patients needs.

Patients generally state that they feel both energized and calmer after a treatment. Dr. Quattro’s acupuncture treatments are intended to improve the patient’s condition, enhance vitality, and prevent relapse of illness.

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