The process of inserting a 'pin' into the skin of a person or animal, in order to have a positive physiological effect on the internal workings and dynamics of that individual's system, regardless of the theory or methodology used to determine a rationale for point selection is the process of acupuncture. Needless to say, it is better to have acupuncture performed by someone who has trained in correct methodology and who appreciates the many layers and systems that acupuncture can affect.
What is generally considered Japanese acupuncture, includes many and varied methodology and incorporates many styles and techniques. Some are uniquely or typically Japanese. Others are similar to the styles and methods that come from China, Taiwan and Korea.
The practice of using specific needles, inserted somewhat deeply into the skin and muscle, to obtain a strong ‘de qi’ sensation or nerve stimulation; or indeed methods involving electro-acupuncture which are commonly delineated to be “in Chinese style” are practiced widely in Japan and around the world. Such techniques are obviously not uniquely Japanese.
Techniques that are representative of Japanese practice come under three main categories and include those techniques and methods that are uniquely Japanese by virtue of their having been invented in Japan; those techniques that have been refined and developed by Japanese practitioners, and techniques and methods that are more common in Japan than elsewhere.
As a modality of treatment, Meridian Therapy acupuncture is probably the most well known Japanese style. In a usual treatment, the light insertion of ultra fine, sterile acupuncture needles into the bodycan be used to regulate and balance the body's energy flows. In the Toyohari tradition however, silver needle, teishin, enshin or yoneyama, are used to affect the meridians, these are called needles but are not inserted into the body.
Toyohari acupuncture is acupuncture that is applied according to the principles and diagnostic integrity of Meridian therapy. As a therapy, Meridian Therapy looks to treat the body's constitution, in order to correct the symptoms that a patient is experiencing.
Toyohari and the broader discipline of Meridian Therapy is not a disease name therapy. This means that it doesn't speak to or look to apply acupuncture within a disease name model. It seeks only to address any constitutional imbalance and thereby the symptoms that affect the body.
For meridian therapy acupuncturists, the movement and balance of the ki and ketsu (blood) is primarily of interest. In other words we are looking to correct any imbalance in the body's circulatory and regulatory systems to ensure proper functioning.
There is a strong diagnostic framework which relies on information elicited from the 4 diagnoses [looking, listening, asking and palpation]. Palpation of the pulse and hara (abdomen) and meridians is of great significance.
A Sho selection is then based on all the information that the practitioner gathers and analyses. The importance of the Sho selection is paramount as it is both the diagnosis of the body in the moment and the treatment strategy. With healing which should be understood simply as the movement of the body towards vitality, that end of the spectrum of being which is adaptive and well; the Sho may change.
In meridian therapy the diagnosis and treatment of the Sho is considered the Root or constitutional treatment. Branch treatments are then done to target symptoms specifically.
Toyohari is a specialty training and is largely a non-insertion tradition of acupuncture, this is why it is an excellent therapy for those who are needle phobic, children and babies, and those highly sensitive patients. It works just as well as insertive needle acupuncture. Occasionally Toyohari will use insertion techniques, and also includes a range of techniques such as moxibustion, cupping, and microbleeding.
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the skin – or applying various other techniques to the acupuncture points – to restore balance and encourage the body to heal itself. Scientific studies have shown the potential for acupuncture to be effective in treating many disorders. Acupuncture is effective and safe when performed by a skilled practitioner.