There are many different styles of playing the piano: jazz, for example, or classical. Both kinds of music can stir our hearts but the instrument remains the same. In acupuncture there are also many styles, different in approach, but using the same basic principles.
Acupuncture was brought to Japan from China, but in each country it developed very differently. The huge influence of blind practitioners in Japan led to an emphasis on palpation, the use of touch for diagnosis, and relatively simple theoretical models.
Japanese acupuncture draws on a huge range of therapeutic methods other than needling. These techniques tend to be very delicate and minimal. And they don`t hurt!
Here at Meridians in Kuala Lumpur, we practise two different styles of Japanese acupuncture: the yin-yang balancing method developed by Dr. Manaka, and Toyohari, a gentle and powerful style of acupuncture developed over the last fifty years by blind acupuncturists. Both these styles use modern techniques, but are firmly rooted in traditional acupuncture theory. We also offer Shonishin, acupuncture massage for children.
Acupuncture, yin yang, kyo and jitsu
The traditional explanation for acupuncture is that energy or Ki flows around the body through conduits or channels commonly known as meridians. If this energy does not flow properly pain and disease can develop. Treating specific points on these meridians with needles or other acupuncture-related methods influences this flow of Ki, and can help a person recover.
Imagine wearing a shirt collar that is too tight. You feel constricted and go red in the face. Loosening your collar will help.
Conversely, imagine wearing a pair of baggy trousers with a belt that is too loose. It`s hard for you to walk because you have to hold your trousers up all the time. Tightening your belt will help.
These concepts of looseness and tightness are discussed in acupuncture as yin and yang, deficiency and excess and known in Japanese acupuncture as kyo and jitsu.
Acupuncture has a very strong effect on the muscles and structure of the body. One of the key aims of treatment is to balance this structure by releasing areas of the body that feel too tight and strengthening areas that feel loose or weak. In traditional terms this is known as balancing yin and yang, kyo and jitsu.
Root and Branch
East Asian Medicine uses many analogies from nature. Acupuncture is like gardening. When you tend your houseplants you pull off the old or diseased leaves and water the pot. The same with a tree. You prune the branches and water the roots. Gardeners treat root and branch.
Health problems are the same. If there is an imbalance in the flow of energy in the meridians, the root, a person may develop symptoms, the branch. These symptoms are an expression of an imbalance at the root level.
Treatment has to address both root and branch; the person`s vitality and their symptoms. Japanese acupuncture systems accomplish this treatment of root and branch in a very structured way. This consists of a multi-step treatment sequence which first of all benefits the root and then addresses the symptoms.