Japanese Acupuncture

Bird of Paradise in Tucson

Bird of Paradise in Tucson

Japanese Acupuncture is an extraordinarily refined practice of acupuncture.  It is known for using much finer needles than Chinese acupuncture.  The needle techniques are performed with relatively shallow insertions and are more gentle and subtle in style as well.

Japanese Acupuncture was once a profession for the blind.  At many acupuncture schools, the entrance requirement was to be blind.   This has led to a style of treatment and diagnosis that is based on a highly developed sense of touch.
Both Japanese and Chinese acupuncture styles balance the energy system of the body known as “Qi” in Chinese (pronounced Chee) or “Ki” in Japanese (pronounced Kee). Chinese acupuncture accesses the Qi of the 12 meridians or channels of energy in your body with deeper needling technique to work with the energy of the channel. Japanese acupuncture with its delicate technique accesses the Yuan Qi or Original Qi that flows through the Eight Extraordinary Vessels. The Eight Extraordinary Vessels were responsible for your growth and development in utero, before you had the 12 meridians of energy.  The Extraordinary Vessels act as reservoirs of energy when you become an adult.  Japanese acupuncture accesses your primordial Qi.

Japanese acupuncture places primary importance on the practitioners sense of touch for diagnosis.  Diagnosis is based on the palpating the Hara or the abdomen and the radial pulses at your wrist.  The meridians or pathways of energy of the body are also part off the physical assessment.

In Chinese acupuncture, questioning and tongue diagnosis are considered more important.  Each system is effective and has its own strengths.

Two Styles of Japanese Acupuncture

I practice two styles of Japanese acupuncture:

  • Polarity Treatments or Yin Yang Balance Treatments
  • Meridian Therapy.

Both styles of Japanese acupuncture treat the front and the back of the body, the Yin and the Yang.  Just when you get comfortable, I will have you turn over to treat the other side!

Japanese Yin Yang Balance Treatments balance the body structurally through polarity. Polarity treatments are particularly effective for pain due to structural imbalances, including back pain, knee pain, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain. This treatment style is also beneficial for neurological and autoimmune disorders.

Meridian therapy balances the body naturally following the laws of nature from the 5 phases: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.  Meridian Therapy is a gentle technique that is particularly suited for clients who are very deficient and cannot tolerate strong needle stimulation.

With its gentle techniques and fine needles, Japanese Acupuncture is appreciated by people who don’t like needles. Many Japanese techniques do not require needle insertion.

Polarity Treatments – Yin Yang Balance

Yin Yang Balance

Yin Yang Balance

Ion Pumping Cords are made from copper wires with a diode and positive and negative ends.  They balance the Yin and the Yang of the body using polarity. This system was developed by Yoshio Manaka MD during World War II to treat burn patients. Manaka theorized he could transfer excess potassium ions from burned tissue to healthy tissue. Using the Ion Pumping Cords that he developed, his patients healed faster with less pain.

After the war Manaka continued developing polarity treatments combined with acupuncture and other modalities to treat imbalances of the body including pain, digestive disorders, allergies, headaches, hepatitis, insomnia, emotional issues and other health concerns. Diagnosis is based on abdominal palpation of the Hara for imbalances of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels.

The Ion Pumping Cords look like miniature jumper cables for matchbox cars. I don’t hook you up to your car battery. I use the natural polarity of the body. You become your own battery using your own Qi to balance your energy.

“I had suffered from one sided neck pain for almost 5 years. I took anti-inflammatory, pain prescriptions drugs and over the counter drugs with massage every 2 weeks for 5 years. I decided to try something else, acupuncture. After 2 treatments, I felt relieved of the pain. It has been 5 months since and I am still free of that pain. Thanks, Jean Carr, for the wonderful job. Those that don’t believe in acupuncture should at least try. I believe in it 100%.” Betty M.

Whiplash Treatment

The Yin Yang Balance System is particularly effective for correcting structural imbalances. A famous Ion Pumping Cord treatment is called the Whiplash Treatment. The Ion Pumping Cords access two powerful Extraordinary Vessels: the Du which goes up the spine and the Dai which goes around the waist.  Working with the Du and the Dai balances the vertical and horizontal axis of the body.  The whole body is realigned.  Clients often feel  gentle shifts of energy in their body and get a deep sense of relaxation from the ion pumping cords.

I have seen this four cord treatment return a client to work after a recent car accident. She had been suffering for 6 weeks with severe pain and headaches. Nothing else helped. After one treatment she was able to return to work.

Car accidents from years ago can be an underlying cause of pain. I used this Whiplash treatment for a woman with fibromyalgia who had been in a motor vehicle accident in the 1960’s. All of her treatments started to work.  I have helped clients with a history of trauma from automobile, motorcycle, airplane, skiing and horse back riding accidents, football sports injuries, falls from stairs, ladders and hay lofts.  It’s amazing how many people start remembering unusual accidents in my treatment room!

Taiji Whole Body Treatment

Ion Pumping Cords on client.

Ion Pumping Cords on client.

Another Ion Pumping Cord treatment is called the Taiji or Whole Body Treatment. This 4 cord treatment connects all 12 meridians at the same time through the Jiao Hui Meeting points.

The Taiji Treatment helps treat physical and emotional fatigue, stress, anxiety, generalized joint pain, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, chemotherapy support and jet lag.

The Taiji treats Jet Lag or any severe fatigue such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia by connecting all 12 meridians with the Ion Pumping Cords. This resets the body clock. Each of the 12 meridians correlates to a 2 hour cycle of the 24 hour clock. This 24 hour cycle is called the Chinese Body Clock. Correlations for diagnosis can be made from knowing what time of day conditions occur.  See Chinese Body Clock in Handouts.

“I cannot describe what chemotherapy is like, but if you MUST have chemo, then you MUST also have Japanese acupuncture to bring you back to the edge of life. Janice W.

Taiji is the most powerful treatment for cancer support for chemotherapy treatments. I have treated a number of clients during and after their chemotherapy treatments. The Taiji treatment helps with the devastating fatigue and flu-like feelings of illness from chemo.  I  see spirit return to the eyes of my client after experiencing a Taiji treatment with the ion pumping cords.  I always include moxa on the most powerful point for energy on the body, Zu San Li.  See Moxabustion in Services for more information on moxa and Scar Treatments for a discussion of post- mastectomy treatments.

Manaka’s system includes many other Ion Pumping Cord treatments as well as other polarity techniques.

Meridian Therapy

The Japanese experience many natural disasters including tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons.  Because they live on an island, the Japanese realize they are vulnerable to nature.  They try to live in harmony with nature rather than try to conquer it.

The source of both Chinese and Japanese medicine comes from observing nature.  The Chinese needed to understand cycles in nature to plant crops.  They used the same observations from farming to medicine to philosophy.  The metaphor of the body as a garden is often used in Oriental medicine.  The meridians are compared to the flow of water from springs to seas.

“I sought acupuncture treatment for minor but persistent joint pain and found not only relief, but a balancing energy and overall improvement in well-being.  Jean Carr has an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge which she generously shares with her clients with good humor and compassion.”  Barb T., Vancouver, B.C.

Meridian Therapy is based on a classical Chinese medical text, The Nan Jing, The Classic of Difficulties. The five phases of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood found in nature are found in cycles in our bodies.  Each meridian corresponds to one of these phases.  See Five Phase Correspondence Chart in Handouts

5 Element Chart

5 Element or 5 Phase Chart

Each organ also corresponds to an emotion, a season, time of day, parts of the body, sense, flavors, smells, colors and foods. Oriental medicine is a medicine based on correspondence and resonance.  Each organ resonates with aspects of our selves and our environment.  We are meant to be in harmony with nature throughout the seasons of the year.  For more information see Chinese Calendar in Handouts.
Fire                  Heart

Earth                Spleen

Metal               Lung

Water              Kidney

Wood               Liver

Meridian Therapy sees all disease as a condition of deficiency or excess of Qi in the meridians.  Meridian Therapy treats the Sho, the primary pattern of imbalance or the root treatment.  Diagnosis is made from the Hara by palpating the abdomen.  I look for areas of tension, tenderness, warmth or coolness, even being ticklish tells me something!  I take your pulses on your wrists  to determine your Sho.  The pulses provide feedback throughout the treatment.

Japanese Hara

I select acupuncture points based on your Sho or pattern of imbalance.  Various channels are considered to have Mother and Child RelationshipsFire is the mother of Earth.  We see this in volcanoes.  Earth generates MetalMetal is the mother of WaterWater is needed to grow the WoodWe need Wood to feed the Fire.  This is known as the generating cycle.  There are other cycles for balance and  control.  In Meridian Therapy the treatment principle is based on the Sho, the primary pattern of deficiency.  Where there is deficiency, the treatment principle is to supplement the Mother.  I will use points that supplement the Mother/Child relationship.  As a mother, I totally agree with this approach!

Many specialized tools can be used externally on the skin in Meridian Therapy for treatment without actually inserting needles.  Some of the tools look like miniature rakes and wire whisks.  These are used to move the Qi in the channels where there is stagnation or bring Qi where there is vacuity (deficiency). The Teishin is an oversized needle with a blunt point that is used externally on the skin the same way needles are used in the skin.  The Zanshin looks like a small cornucopia and is great for areas of pain or breaking up scar tissue.  Different metals provide different treatments.  Gold and copper are warming and supplementing.  Silver is cooling and disperses stagnation.  For pictures and more explanations, see Japanese Tools and Techniques.

China Ming studying the Hara from the desert tortoise.

China Ming studying the Hara with Smokey, the desert tortoise.

Moxabustion, burning a special herb called moxa or mugwort on the acupuncture points, is classically used in Japanese treatments.   For some clients, I use only moxa on the acupuncture points and do not use any needles.

It never ceases to amaze me when something as simple as 2 or 3 points and a little moxa can balance a client.