By Mark Davis BHSc (Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncturist).
I first traveled to Japan in 1990 after years of fascination with everything Japanese from an early age. I had studied Japanese for two years at college and was just starting my 2nd year of Japanese Language at the University of Tasmania when I had the opportunity to work in Japan.
Later when I later started studying Chinese Medicine, as fascinating as it was, with my connection to Japan rather than China, I slightly lamented the fact that it was Chinese Acupuncture that I was studying. However I always knew that I would study Japanese Acupuncture postgraduate, there are no courses offered in Australia for undergraduates, and in fact, postgraduate course opportunities are also limited.
So together with Shiatsu Masa, I was extremely pleased to have the opportunity to attend a 2-day certification course this weekend for ‘Japanese Needle Therapy’. The course is offered by the highly qualified Yoshie Asahara of Chudo in the historic Block Arcade in Melbourne’s CBD. Yoshie-Sensei has nearly 20 years experience in Japanese Acupuncture, massage and shiatsu in both Japan and Australia, and she is the founder of this style of Japanese Needling.
Hara (Japanese for ‘tummy’) diagnosis is a key feature of every session, the practitioner encourages the patient to feel for the disharmonies detected and a comparison is made throughout the session to ascertain the successfulness of each stage of the treatment.
Japanese Needle Therapy is a complete system within itself; it utilizes aspects of Japanese Acupuncture, Reiki, Moxa, non-insertive tools and extra fine Japanese style needles, which are superficially positioned in only the outermost layer of skins dermis, so the treatment is totally pain-free, suitable for people of all ages. The skin itself, the largest organ of our body is the main diagnostic tool; practitioners are taught how to access the skin condition on multiple locations for subtle signs of disharmony. It involves a four-step process, which addresses constitutional, systemic and local symptomatic conditions all in one session for quick results.
The tools of Japanese Needle Therapy (top photo) include instruments which stimulate the meridians, including non-insertive tools and extra shallow superficial skin-only needles. These needles used are usually reserved for facial acupuncture – inserted very superficially, only just beneath the skin’s surface, together with sticky-needles which are also painless and may be retained for several days to prolong the effectiveness of the treatment.
Because it is such a subtle style of superficial needling, this technique can even be offered by Shiatsu Masa in conjunction with Shiatsu treatments; you can benefit from the proactive health benefits of Japanese Needle Therapy in conjunction with a super ‘feel good’ Japanese style massage!
So what is the difference between Chinese Acupuncture & Japanese Needle Therapy? Quite frankly it is like Chalk & Cheese; both modalities are equally beneficial under certain circumstances, Japanese Needle Technique is super gentle (it is not ‘true acupuncture’ due to its super shallow insertion in the skin’s outermost dermal layer) and therefore appealing to people who are needle phobic; others might be better suited to one of my style of Chinese Acupuncture, it is always best to discuss the various options with your practitioner. Japanese Needle Therapy, however, is a super soft and an effective way to introduce you to Oriental Therapies.
It is not often that Shiatsu Masa & I can attend the same course, so we were both really happy to take a class together locally; which we can both integrate into our current practice – a new style of treatment which I am sure our clients will be more than happy to experience.