Acupuncture old and new
The word acupuncture can mean so many things to so many people. The word acupuncture was originally coined by French Jesuit priests when they were in China hundreds of years ago. Acupuncture first started to to become more popular in the West in the 1960’s. In the early days of acupuncture in the West there were only a handful of books and limited teachings. Most teaching was done on a small scale and privately taught compared as to now, where it is at Bachelor degree level and taught at universities in Australia or NZQA endorsed colleges in New Zealand.
Acupuncture in New Zealand
There have now been over 30,000 research studies done on acupuncture in the western world, more than physiotherapy and chiropractic combined.
In New Zealand there are over 700 members of Acupuncture New Zealand and some of these practitioners specialize in Classical Japanese acupuncture. One such practitioner is Andrew Fraser who works in both Hamilton and Auckland.
How did classical Japanese acupuncture evolve?
Classical Japanese acupuncture has evolved over the centuries and was originally brought into Japan in the 6th century. Many modern day Japanese scholars of the art still read the ancient classical texts in Chinese from that era. At one stage in ancient Japan, the art of acupuncture was reserved only for the blind so as to give people with this disability an opportunity for employment. In modern day Japan, there are still many blind acupuncturists practicing acupuncture. As such, likely because blind people have a heightened sense of touch and palpatory skills, palpation of the body and meridian lines developed and enhanced the diagnostic skills of the practitioner.
Blind practitioners also developed the use of the guide tube to insert the needle more easily. Modern day guide tubes are commonly made from stainless steel and many needles now come packaged with a plastic guide tube.
Are the needles different in Classical Japanese Acupuncture?
Andrew Fraser says “The other big difference between classical Japanese acupuncture and modern day Chinese acupuncture is the thickness of the needles. My needles are very thin and as such, the level of penetration is minimal. Patients are still surprised that results can be obtained even though they don’t feel the stronger sensation that other acupuncturists might perform“. There are many needle application styles used in classical Japanese acupuncture of which one of involves needling a body part area many times over and over again. When it is performed , patients hardly can feel it. In fact Andrew Fraser says “Patients find it really relaxing and I often finish off a treatment using this technique“.
What about moxibustion in Classical Japanese Acupuncture?
Moxibustion is used extensively in Classical Japanese Acupuncture
There a number of moxibustion techniques used which include kyutoshin, Chinetskyu and Tonetskyu. More details about these techniques can be obtained from the FAQ area of this website. We ask Andrew Fraser which moxibustion technique is more often used or more important. Andrew Fraser says “They are all equal and are applied accordingly in different case scenarios. For example I use rice grain moxa on plantar fasciitis, needle head moxibustion for lower back pain from weak kidneys and heat perception moxa technique when treating skin diseases. The moxibustion aspect of classical Japanese acupuncture can be used successfully for such a broad ranging list of conditions, I could actually almost give up my needles and rely entirely on the moxibustion itself”.
There are over 700 members of Acupuncture New Zealand through out the country. Some of the practitioners have specialized in classical Japanese acupuncture and there are regular courses available to members to learn this technique.