Secretariat 2012 WFAS International Symposium and Workshop on Acupuncture

Japan Tokyo Seino Acupuncture and Orthopedics Clinic
Director of the clinic  Mitsunori Seino


Acupuncture and moxibustion (AM) therapy is a therapeutic treatment that originated
in China and was later developed in Japan. According to the literature, moxibustion therapy was introduced first as a medical treatment, as verified in the “Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailmentsw܏\a@x. AM therapy spread all over China and later expanded into neighboring countries such as Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan. In China, however, AM therapy and chinese medicinal therapy were not “state medicine” for 132 years between 1822 (Qing dynasty) and 1954ithe Peaple’s Republic of Chinaj. As a result, the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) within China declined markedly. The AM therapy practiced in China today is different from what was practiced in the Ming-Qing dynasties. Furthermore, the educational content was temporarily modified as Vietnam underwent structural changes under French occupation, and Korea and Taiwan adopted the Japanese system. Thus, it is not possible to say that these countries continued and passed down the AM therapy that had been practiced since ancient China. AM therapy that was introduced and developed in Japan, however, has been practiced as “state medicine” for more than 1600 years according to literature dating back to 414 AD. So what is Japanese AM therapy.The AM therapy practiced in Japan will now be introduced.

yMain Textz
The lineage of doctors have played an important role in Japanese AM therapy, passing down many skills through the generations. In both acupuncture and moxibustion, they make excellent use of various techniques to address many types of illnesses. traditional Chinese medicine a therapeutic method developed by the Chinese after 1954, is being used today in many countries around the world. However, this method incorporates many therapeutic treatments used in Japan, with only the names having been changed. Regardless of this, Japanese AM therapy uses many additional techniques. Key elements that support these techniques are the treatment tools that originated in Japan.

Japan has the technology to make very thin acupuncture needles and fine moxa. Significantly, many techniques were introduced that developed from this technology. At the same time, numerous therapeutic treatments to treat different type of illnesses have been developed.

Characteristics of acupuncture therapy practiced in Japan:

  1. Used fine needles to minimize pain from the procedure.
  2. Developed treatment procedures that sense changes in the body with both hands as well as use of the pressing handto further minimize pain.@
  3. Introduced a procedure that uses needle guide tubeI to help reduce the pain sensation. This also helped in providing consistency in treatment procedures.
  4. Developed acupuncture techniques with fine needles that provide the same effect as when using thicker needles (e.g., needle retention techniqueuIp,pecking sparrow techniquep, etc.).
  5. Developed various treatment tools to treat different types of illnesses and different body constitutions (e.g., infant needle͂, intradermal needlesI, press-tack needles ~I).

The following describes the characteristics of moxibustion therapy in Japan. To treat different types of illnesses and patients with different body constitutions, moxibustion therapy:

  1. Introduced the use of fine moxa.
  2. Used different varieties of moxa.
  3. Varied the size and hardness of the moxa.
  4. Varied the heat produced by the moxibustion treatment (e.g., cauterization methodĎ܋, cone moxibustionmM, etc.).
  5. Developed a variety of different treatment tools (e.g., Kamayamini

 (moxibustion with moxa tube)J}~j, Sennen moxibustion(gentle moxibustion)N, moxa burner, etc.).

Additionally, in Japan, both acupuncture and moxibustion therapies are performed on the same patient at the same time. Consequently, the following can be said:

    1.  A therapeutic method was developed that combined both acupuncture and moxibustion (e.g., needle moxa techniqueI, etc.).
    2. Whether to use acupuncture or moxibustion at the acupuncture point is decided for each therapy’s effective point, and the decision depends on the efficacy of treating various types of illnesses and patients with different body constitutions.

Both acupuncture therapy and moxibustion therapy can be used as treatments for numerous illnesses. Acupuncture therapy is a highly versatile treatment method that has a fast response and can be used in a wide range of areas. Moxibustion therapy is effective in treating highly refractory diseases that are slow to respond to acupuncture therapy. Therefore, by using a therapeutic method that combines the characteristics of both therapies, it is possible to create a treatment that is fast acting and can treat a wide range of illnesses.

In other words, Japanese AM therapy is a therapeutic treatment created by the delicate and sensitive@Japanese to meet the delicate and esthetically conscious@expectations of the Japanese people. This is a major factor that differentiates Japanese AM therapy from AM therapy of other countries.

According to the literature, while originating in China, many techniques were lost in China even before AM therapy ceased to exist in that country in 1822. One of the main reasons for this demise is the loss of the lineage of doctors . On the other hand, AM skills and techniques in Japan continued to be passed on because the lineage of doctorscontinued generation after generation. The background of this long existence is thought to be as follows. While male-line succession is common in Japan, when a doctor had no male offspring, there was a tradition where the most competent male apprentice married a daughter of the patriarchfs@doctor .
In this way, the apprentice married into the family and sustained the practice.

Japan is the only country in the world has been practiced as “state medicine” that has continued to pass on the ancient Chinese ideology and techniques of AM to the present day without interruption. Japanese AM therapy is a therapeutic treatment that excels in treating illnesses that cannot be effectively treated by modern medicine. A fast-acting, therapeutic treatment that can be used for a wide range of illnesses is being practiced in Japan. I hope that medical AM practice based on AM skills and techniques that have been handed down in Japan is reflected in AM education being delivered in various countries.

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