lifestyle

Young acupuncturists get holistic in Tokyo

80 Comments
By Carl Stimson

Kanji, baseball, Buddhism and cell phones — Japan is famous for importing things and making them its own. Acupuncture is no different. The Chinese practice of piercing the body with metal needles to treat disease came to this country about 1,500 years ago. The techniques have developed drastically over the centuries, and what is done by practitioners in Japan today is as different from Chinese practices as kanji and kana are from the writing system now used in the People’s Republic.

Despite its long history, Japanese acupuncture stands at a crossroads. The field relies on the older generations for its patient base, and as the natural health boom of organic food and yoga sweeps through the younger generations, acupuncturists have so far largely failed to identify their ancient therapy with the new way of living.

In the West, the best thing acupuncture has going for it is its association with youth. Despite its 2,500 years of age, there is something cutting-edge about Oriental medicine. Emily Smith, an American practitioner who has acupuncture degrees from both the US and Japan, says the Japanese industry is stagnant. “Especially after the March 11 earthquake… acupuncture probably isn’t a priority for many people now. Of course this is unfortunate because there are very few other modalities that so quickly and effectively relieve tension and stress.”

Tokyo acupuncturist Rika Mizuno is one practitioner trying to take the field in a new direction. “We’re trying to promote the industry, but it’s not easy. You see more articles on natural, holistic or traditional medicine in young people’s magazines, but when it comes to actually visiting an acupuncturist, people rely on recommendations from family and friends. It’s hard for us to really do much as an industry, so it’s really just a grass-roots effort by each individual practitioner.”

Acupuncture in China and Japan was rocked by the 19th-century importation of Western medicine. Traditional medicine was shunned (and even made illegal at times) as the East became obsessed with Western modernization. Interestingly, political changes that proved tragic for millions were salvation for acupuncturists and herbalists. The rise of Japanese nationalism in the 1920s brought blanket approval for traditional ways, and Mao Ze Dong declared Chinese medicine a national treasure in the 1950s.

What is Japanese acupuncture?

But in just the last 60 years, acupuncture in the two nations has diverged significantly. With strong state support, Chinese practitioners took a galaxy of disparate family lineages and forged them into a cohesive theoretical and practical system. This process hasn’t been perfect—critics say the medicine became too homogenous, while communist atheism squashed the spiritual aspect—but “Chinese acupuncture” is now relatively easy to define. Not so for Japan. There are many prominent schools of thought, but they lack a foundation unifying them as “Japanese acupuncture.”

This is not to say Japanese needling has deteriorated. Technique-wise, there are people with incredible skills. “Treatments here, like many aspects of the culture, rely on the ‘less is more’ attitude. Trusting that the body really can regain its own natural balance with consistent, appropriate stimulation is the beauty of Japanese acupuncture,” says Smith.

There is also a long history of the visually impaired becoming acupuncturists and massage therapists, and influencing development. Traditionally, there are four aspects to diagnosis—asking, touching, looking and smelling, with asking the most prominent—but blind practitioners have helped asking questions take a backseat in favor of palpating the body for areas of tension and pain.

This emphasis on understanding a patient’s condition through objective investigation—versus relying on their subjective opinion—has been gaining popularity in the West for the last 10 years. Previously, most acupuncture outside Asia was Chinese-style and this is still most commonly taught. But slowly, Japanese techniques have come to be seen as more refined; they require more skill and awareness, but provide information about the patient at a more direct and deeper level. Western upstarts

Tokyo acupuncturist Hidenori Tomita says that only 7% of Japanese people have experienced acupuncture. While this looks good compared with the estimated 1% of Americans, the trends are telling. Acupuncture in the West has grown from virtually nothing over the last 35 years. What began as a sidebar to the hippie movement is now a professional field with licensing, hundreds of schools, a presence in hospitals and institutes, and growing insurance coverage. In California, ever on the vanguard, acupuncturists can even be primary care providers, which bestows both prestige—and exposure to litigation. In Japan, there has been little or no growth.

“A lot of people here go into acupuncture because they think just getting some kind of license will earn them money. Very few are interested in yin-yang. Recently, people have realized it’s not so easy to put food on the table as an acupuncturist, so school enrollment is going down,” Tomita says.

Mizuno, who has lived in the U.S. for many years, says acupuncture in the West has the advantage of novelty. “Because it’s not a traditional medicine, they’ve been able to develop the field more freely and practically. For us, it’s not easy to change the image of something we’ve had for so many years.”

Japanese acupuncture has largely missed the natural health boat. Yoga studios and LOHAS restaurants are common as crows in Tokyo, but ask younger Japanese folk what they think about acupuncture and they’ll probably tell you their grandmother gets it for arthritis. The atmosphere of most clinics here tells you a lot: fluorescent illumination, monochrome décor, steel, plastic and linoleum. A typical office in the U.S. has soft lighting, relaxing music, plants and comfortable beds. Some overdo the new-age motif, but it definitely feels miles away from the local hospital.

Japan’s acupuncture has also become removed from the mind-body-earth integration of ancient Chinese philosophy. Outside Japan, acupuncture is used for many and varied illnesses—stroke recovery, high blood pressure, drug addiction and more—while here it is mostly used for pain. Mizuno says most acupuncturists don’t ask about emotional issues. “Culturally, Japanese still hesitate to be open about these things. I was even told not to accept patients with emotional disorders by a number of teachers at school. But we should definitely try to make people aware that acupuncture can work for both emotional and physical problems. In the long run, it’ll really help our industry.”

As anyone versed in Oriental medicine knows, the only dependable element is change. Smart young acupuncturists like Tomita, Mizuno and Smith were bound to capture this huge opportunity. According to Mizuno, most Japanese underestimate acupuncture—if they think of it at all. “Acupuncture is a natural way to bring out the body’s own healing power. It treats the underlying causes of disease and can even make profound changes on an emotional level.”

Smith teaches yoga in her Tsukuba clinic in addition to needling patients, while Tomita painstakingly crafted his space to reflect harmony with nature. There can be no doubt that the steel-and-linoleum clinics will find tough competition from this new breed. These practitioners also seem to truly believe in their practices; something that can’t help but rub off on patients.

Most likely, their hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run, though Mizuno still wishes for a little help. “If only there was some trendy TV drama starring Kimutaku about a cool acupuncturist curing everyone and everything in sight.”

The Yin-Yang of Kampo

While modern Japanese acupuncture drifts in limbo between scientific principles and traditional theories, kampo has staked out a clear position.

Kampo is based on a system of herbal medicine still practiced in China in ways similar to those described 2,000 years ago in the earliest Chinese herbal text, "Treatise on Cold Damage." Herbalists from Beijing to Chongqing examine patients thoroughly, taking into account not only the main complaint, but all aspects of their physical and mental health. Analyzing this information with the theories of yin-yang and the five phases, the practitioner comes up with a pattern of disharmony, then chooses a formula that addresses this pattern. If a patient has heat in the stomach, the formula chosen would be both stomach-focused and cooling. Thus, each patient gets an individualized scrip, with even the same disease treated by different herb combinations.

In most nations herbs are barely regulated. In the U.S., for instance, if these “dietary supplements” don’t contain overt toxins like arsenic or mercury, the government doesn’t spend much time checking if the ingredients match the labels. In Europe and Canada, however, laws have been passed that make herbs jump through much more vigorous hoops.

Japan took a different tack. Starting in 1967, the government began approving set herbal formulas, mostly millennia-old combinations, to be covered by national insurance. There are now 148 such formulas. Since herbal medicine was treated like “real” medicine, it had to act like it, so rules were set governing production, prescription and sale. While this has turned Japan’s herb industry into a global model of quality and safety, one rule has taken kampo far from its roots: only medical doctors and pharmacists could prescribe the formulas.

Until recently, doctors’ education did not include any courses on how yin-yang fluctuations affect the body, so kampo companies had to learn their language. Herb makers began extensive research programs exploring the active chemical components as well as doing clinical trials on humans and animals. They also issued prescription guidelines based not on yin-yang but on modern medical diagnosis—the common cold should be treated by "kakkonto," seasonal allergies by "sho-sieryu-to." A tiny minority of doctors pursue advanced training in Oriental medical theory.

For a traditional practitioner, it can be hard to accept what kampo has become. But if one looks past what is lost, there are good things about the current system. The quality and safety of Japan’s herbal medicine is unparalleled, and a natural, holistic therapy is available and affordable. Indeed, an estimated 80% of doctors in Japan prescribe kampo.

Two years ago, the laws were changed slightly. One can now legally sell kampo with an easily-obtained “drugstore” license. This allows qualified traditional practitioners to recommend (but not prescribe) herbal formulas and sell for a profit. This recent change’s impact has yet to be evident, but it could have far-reaching implications on herbal medicine delivery here.

The next time you’re feeling under the weather, ask your doctor if there’s an herbal formula to help. If you have to toss back something, why not make it natural?

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


80 Comments
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Acupuncture in China and Japan was rocked by the 19th-century importation of Western medicine.

Of course it was. "Western medicine" is actual medicine.

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"Western medicine" is actual medicine. ROFL.

Most of the western medicine comes from traditional/native medicines. Surgical procedures are a slight different Pony though. Western medicine has way too many side-effects as it is a kill or cure treatment. BTW, let me know when western medicine cures the common flu.

Good chance if a doc in japan prescribes you a powder it is Kampo.

Both systems have a LOT to offer as either one is better for certain sicknesses, cures, etc.

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Most of the western medicine comes from traditional/native medicines.

But of course, you know what we call "traditional" medicines that prove to be efficacious?

A: Medicine.

"Western medicine" is just a euphemism used to differentiate actual treatments from pre-scientific treatments like acupuncture that don't do anything.

I don't know much about the herbal concoctions used in Kampo but I certainly wouldn't trust anyone peddling them along with nonsense about "yin and yang fluctuations".

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Most of the western medicine comes from traditional/native medicines.

Yes. True. However, the difference is that western medicine works. The difference being a solid process of ensuring the efficacy of treatments that eastern medicine lacks. Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine have been proven to be completely bogus.

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SiouxChef.

Do some research into traditional meds and how they developed isolated compounds to make our modern meds.

Problem is the isolation of the compound also reduced other ingredients that prevent side-effects. Most of our Meds are still coming out of the rain-forests and are based on native "Kampo"(if you so will).

But to each their own.

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202hindsight.

Disagree. Granted some stuff is pure snake-oil as is modern meds that are only sugar-pills, etc.

Traditional meds can be found in native cuisine, spices, etc too, there are reasons why certain foods and spices are used seasonally only. Next time you use a room-refresher or a bath-additive ask why it works.

Anyhuh, need to head out.

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Forgot to add Tiger Balm, Vicks Vapo-rub, etc is all traditional meds too.

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Traditional meds can be found in native cuisine, spices, etc too, there are reasons why certain foods and spices are used seasonally only. Next time you use a room-refresher or a bath-additive ask why it works.

OK, it's true that many traditional remedies work and that's why they use them. Willow bark was known as a pain killer for many years. After some research apsrin was invented based on willow bark. The difference is that western medicine has a rigorous approach on studying the results of remedies that eastern medicine lacks.

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studying the results of remedies that eastern medicine lacks.

Wrong there, check the findings from Universities worldwide.

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If you really think acupuncture works, such as to kill pain, then forgo novocain and ask for acupunture the next time your dentist drills into your tooth. Then you'll find out how effective the traditional Asian approach to medicine really is.

Traditional medicines, with a small number of lucky exceptions, are nothig but primitive placebo. When people relied exclusively on trad. medicine, the average life expectancy was around 40. In societies that rely on Western medicine, it's around 80 or higher.

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JeffLee.

Put down that western medical paper, they don't want traditional meds to work as they will lose revenues selling you their placebos, etc.

Try them yourself than we can talk again.

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@JeffLee:

If you really think acupuncture works, such as to kill pain, then forgo novocain and ask for acupunture the next time your dentist drills into your tooth.

Obviously, pain meds are appropriate at times...

But for chronic ailments such as back pain, acupuncture works well; without a buildup of drugs in the body. Your own body's re-routed "currents" are used to heal...

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Zenny, actually, life insurance companies LOVE traditional ("primitive") medicine because their statistics show that once their seriously ill customers turn to traditional medicines, they tend to die quicker. So the companies no longer have to provide care-support payments, and that means big profits for the insurance industry.

Sugar pills are actually used extensively by the alternative medicine crowd, like Patrick Holford. When you buy a modern medicine like Advil, you actually get an active ingredient, not sugar.

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JeffLee.

Suit yourself, I studied asian traditional meds as part of getting my MA Instructor licence(took 3 years). And that was at an internationally recognised University.

Like I said some is snake-oil, same as some western treatments.

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Put down that western medical paper, they don't want traditional meds to work as they will lose revenues selling you their placebos, etc.

Typical special pleading. When the magical effects of a treatment like acupuncture disappears under randomized, properly blinded studies, it's a 'big-pharma' conspiracy' or 'science can't be used to test [insert inefficacious treatment]'.

Efficacious treatments become part of 'Western' medicine.

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Zenny, exactly, suit yourself. If your child is in a serious car accident and bleeding to death, where would take him/her? To a herbalist or alternative practioner? Or to a Western-style emergency ward at a modern hospital?

I know what choice I would make.

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JeffLee.

WRONG, what YOU don't get that the approaches/benefit are different and serve different needs. For certain stuff western is better for others traditional ones.

You only see black(traditional) = bad and white(western/modern) = good and the golden bullet to everything.

Nuff said.

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what YOU don't get that the approaches/benefit are different and serve different needs.

Really? Can you elaborate about why?

Wrong there, check the findings from Universities worldwide.

That's the thing. Many studies have been made on acupuncture, but not by the practitioners of acupuncture. Because if they did, they would find out that acupuncture is purely placebo effect.

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you really think acupuncture works, such as to kill pain, then forgo novocain and ask for acupunture the next time your dentist drills into your tooth.

actually, they do use acupunture for surgery in china and i can tell you from experience that both kampo and acupuncture do work. i was skeptical as you but i once had back pain that was so excruciating that i couldn't even sit up straight. at the hospital they just gave me painkillers and muscle relaxants and told me to lie down for a couple days for it to get better. on the other hand, immediately after acupuncture i could stand up and walk. it was pretty amazing.

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acupuncture is purely placebo effect

If a placebo can effectively remove pain without the need for some chemical drug that may have undesirable side-effects, isn't that a good thing?

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202hindsight.

Much of asian medicine is about prevention to diseases and if a person is sick the meds will assist/boost the body to heal itself. (Cancer is one case).

As for the studies there is a difference in frame of references and doing the study based on a solely western point is flawed as is evaluating western medicine from an asian/traditional viewpoint

Interestingly enough Acupuncture research has resulted in injection needles that cause less/no pain as acupuncture is painless.

Acupuncture is also recommended by western docs for some conditions why would they do that if it don't work?

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No, I DO get it. Traditional is used for the placebo effect. ("I feel tired these days.")

Modern medicine is used when proper, effective cures (ie, a physiological improvement) are called for.

Hence, your "different needs." In fact acupuncture was developed in ancient times FOR serious needs. However, some Western snake-oil salesmen tinkered with it to use it as a placebo treatment, for lots of $$$.

Sorry if I seem harsh, but I've known people who bad-mouth modern medicine and praise traditional medicine. But then once a real medical threat arises with them of their loved ones, guess where they rush off to? Yep, modern hospitals. The hypocracy is so obvious yet they don't even realize it. Nuff said.

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JeffLee.

Suit yourself. But I can assure you that you rely a LOT on traditional meds, etc in your daily life. I NEVER said traditional was better.

Again you don't get it as per your own words.

Traditional is used for the placebo effect.

Which shows you know little about traditional meds (western and asian) and how modern meds developed and continues to find cures.

Done here.

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Acupuncture is also recommended by western docs for some conditions why would they do that if it don't work?

Argumentum ad populum. That some--or even many--doctors are ignorant as to where science lies with regard to acupuncture is not evidence that acupuncture works.

Cleo asks a good question:

If a placebo can effectively remove pain without the need for some chemical drug that may have undesirable side-effects, isn't that a good thing?

When people start buying into the magic and replacing their physicians with acupuncturists, the placebo effect is no longer a good thing. There isn't a disease around for which you can't find someone who will claim it can be treated with acupuncture.

From the first Google result for 'what can acupuncture treat' (without quotes) here are just a few serious conditions picked from a very long (but "by no means a complete") list that can supposedly be treated with it:

HIV and AIDS, High Blood Pressure, Hepatitis, Polio, Emphysema, Depression, Diabetes

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SiouxChef.

Pull the other one it hatheth bells on. So now you are slaking your own western docs that you hold in such a high regard because they recommend traditional treatments? Guess who is better trained for curing people.

I asked before show me how western meds cure the common flu. Answer is: It can't, western meds only removes the symptoms and that been known for decades.

It still takes your body 2 weeks with meds or 14 days without meds to get over the flu.

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isn't (placebo) a good thing?

Yes it can be, as Sioux points out. Placebos can be powerful and effective. The problem is they don't need to be acupuncture, slamming objects up the anus and other hocus-pocus measures. Mere sugar pills can give the same effect, given the patient's state of mind. In fact, some alternative practioners do secretly dish out sugar pills (for a steep price).

The danger? It's when seriously ill people mistake "feeling better" with a real cure (physiological improvement) and then forgo treatment capable of making a physiological improvement for themselves... or their children.

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As for the studies there is a difference in frame of references and doing the study based on a solely western point is flawed as is evaluating western medicine from an asian/traditional viewpoint

I must be psychic. I predicted your use of this special pleading at 11:12AM ('science can't be used to test [insert inefficacious treatment]'--and strangely, you still used it).

There is no such thing as a "western frame of reference". A treatment produces an observable effect or it does not.

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Acupunture : has not been proved to work but has been proved not to work ... it's great to see AM skepticism here.

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JeffLee.

So you are all for the placebo effect since it is a well documented fact of western medicine and it also uses it.

Where we disagree is when you class all other meds as pure placebo and show no proof for it.

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http :/ / w w w . sciencedaily.com / releases / 2007 / 10 / 071016181238 . htm

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http :/ / w w w.dukeintegrativemedicine.org / index.php / 20090213132 / therapeutic-services / acupuncture.html

Please, show where the articles gone wrong.

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I asked before show me how western meds cure the common flu. Answer is: It can't, western meds only removes the symptoms and that been known for decades.

I didn't answer because I thought it was a particularly blatant distraction. But if you really want to address it, it's yet another logical fallacy: ignoratio elenchi. "Western meds" not curing the flu--or any virus for that matter--isn't relevant to the efficacy of the treatments discussed in the article.

You might as well have asked, "How many western doctors wear white coats?"

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Please, show where the articles gone wrong.

Don't believe everything you read on the InterWebs. Especially if they have an agenda. If you want to read high quality impartial reviews of alternative medecines, you could do worse than reading what the Cochrane Collaboration come up with.

Google Cochrane Collaboration and when at their site, search acupuncture. The have the results of many studies.

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2020hindsight.

Right back you and others. Unless you all believe that anti-alternative meds are 100% unbiased.

Siouxchef.

It is relevant because you and other posters claim western is the golden bullet and the rest is crap.

Again if you are given flu meds in japan on average half is kampo. Western to fight the symptoms, kampo to boost the body to fight the disease.

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From the Kampo wiki;

The medicines are therefore prepared under strict manufacturing conditions that rival pharmaceutical companies. In October 2000, a nationwide study reported that 72% of registered physicians prescribe kampo medicines.[3]

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I hear USAID prescribes kampo.

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zenny, I appreciate the merits of eastern and western medicine (which would you prefer to call traditional? I think they both are).

That said, the introduction of western medicine (pharmaceuticals, hospital procedures) were a great gift to the west of the world. Now the West are realizing the additional benefits of incorporating eastern ways. Maybe now a true "holistic" approach?

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correction: That said, the introduction of western medicine (pharmaceuticals, hospital procedures) were a great gift to the REST of the world.

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zenny, My point is that western institutions like hospitals, organizations, and others, are recognizing the legitimate health benefits of eastern practices. That insurance companies are covering some of these treatments may be the final standard of western acceptance. That said, western drugs are the most effective treatments known to mankind.

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manfromamerica.

We agree and I been saying that all along. Both sides are good and complement each other. As for holistic medicine, snake-oils, etc ......

We need to sort the wheat from the chaff and that includes both sides.

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Western drugs tend to cure stuff quickly but at a cost(financial and physical).

A mix of eastern(preventative) and western for serious cases is best, IMHO.

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Forgot to add.

There are times when western drugs take too much out of an already weakened Body(Cancer being such a case).

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The common cold: So western meds treat cold symptoms without curing the underlying issue? Just makes you feel better until your body deals with the problem? Sounds not too dissimilar from the weaker oriental meds that help boost your body's immune system, etc., so that your body can better do the healing.

Yin-yang, kampo, diarrhea: I know nothing of yin/yang, but I've used kampo for stomach bugs/ diarrhea and have found it to be quite fast acting and effective. I'm quite certain that was not all in my head.

Acupuncture: I wouldn't be surprised to hear it confirmed that the small electric currents that metal objects setup in a body influence the electro-chemical processes that go on in that body.

Science and the clinical hard line: My training and past work was in science (physics) and I fully accept the results that that process produces. But from this background I also know that science is a slow process, even more so when it comes to experimentation on living things and in particular humans. Also, our understanding of the universe through science is not complete. I would say use whatever works best. If a traditional method is already available and science has not explained yet, that does not mean it does not work and why not use it? After all, science is only a process of producing explanations that fit the data.

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zenny, totally agree. just don't knock the pro-western med guys as unenlightened. That's what they trust, and their trust in it isn't faulty.

I haven't tried a Japanese acupuncturist, but have been to Chinese many times and have recommended it to many others.

Western alternative medicine has also developed some interesting practices like Rolfing.

I will say though I am a bit skeptical about Reiki.

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zenny,

Western drugs tend to cure stuff quickly but at a cost(financial and physical). A mix of eastern(preventative) and western for serious cases is best, IMHO.

a very good way to put it.

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A mix of eastern(preventative) and western for serious cases is best, IMHO.

I would agree, if the Eastern medicine is proven to work by careful scientific studies. There may be kampo out there that works and if so, create well designed studies to determine if does work and publish them for peer review. At that stage I will believe.

Many such studies have been published for acupuncture and the conclusions are at best a good placebo. The placebo effect tends to be better the more intrusive it is. So needles are better than sugar pills.

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Reiki = snake-oil.

I only knock the guys/gals that can't see beyond western medicine and refuse all other approaches. ;)

Like I said a lot of snake-oil salesmen out there that use Ki/Qi without understanding the concept, Ki/Qi is nothing magical just how they explained observed results centuries ago.

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zenny,

re: reiki - thanks for backing me up on that, I'm glad I'm not being unreasonably skeptical.

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SiouxChef.

Want me to start quoting, I already did a few times.

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i have always used both. they can compliment each other.

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i have always used both. they compliment each other.

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It is relevant because you and other posters claim western is the golden bullet and the rest is crap.

This is a straw man you made up. I didn't say this nor did anyone else on this thread.

Moderator: Readers, pleas keep the discussion focused on acupuncture and keep the discussion civil.

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Read my comment above.

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i have always used both. they compliment each other.

Do they say things to one another like, "You look great today"? :-)

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Doesn't Wii Fit have an acupuncture game?

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"Of course this is unfortunate because there are very few other modalities that so quickly and effectively relieve tension and stress."

Massage therapy provides the same feel-good placebo effect AND has the great benefit of not involving being pierced with sharp instruments, greatly reducing the chance of infection from unsanitary practice.

And if you don't think that to be an issue, well, just do a quick Google image search of "Japanese acupuncture" and take a quick count of the number of pictures of people not using gloves.

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Why would anyone want the acupuncturist to wear gloves? the needles are sterilised, and the only thing the needls point touches is your skin. I7d imagine wearing gloves would hinder the acupuncturist. I've had acupuncture on lower back pain (on occasion quite agonising - unable to sit kind of pain)and it killed the pain immediately.

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Maria.

Agree the acupuncturists hands never touch the skin and gloves would reduce sensitivity. And the needles go in between the nerves so no pain.

Still undecided on the electrified acupuncture though. ;)

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Gloves, no gloves, no matter. I'd rather have my dentist wear gloves.

Still undecided on the electrified acupuncture though. ;)

Are you talking about the little jumper cables attached? I'm also undecided on that one.

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Acupuncture points in the ears also been used to suppress appetites in overweight people.

Forget the TV-marketed stuff that claims same results.

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MFM.

Yeah, those.

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maria -

you have a good point - acupuncture is not entirely "painless" as everyone thinks. A few points are quite painful (and are meant to be) when they stick you.

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MFM.

If the needle hurts same as pushing on a pressure point than there is a serious associated condition.

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I tried acupuncture once. After the session was finished, I got up and fainted and felt sick for 3 days. I never tried it again. But maybe the guy who did it on me wasn't good. Kampo is my preferred medicine, it has helped me many times. But also there, I want to be cautious. My friend once had a bad infection on her leg and got some mixture of herbs put on the wound. She almost died and it was almost at the last minute when I took her to a Western hospital. Therefore, it is best to keep those medicines balanced. Common sense is what counts.

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Foxie. Lets walk via PM, some good Veleda(original), etc shops down here.

But agree a balance is a must and there are many quacks out there.

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walk = talk

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zenny, I reread Maria's post.. Acupuncture is not an anesthetic. the pain depends on what the purpose is. for example acupuncture treatment itself for lower back problems can be quite painful.

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Never said it was an anaesthetic, but pushing a needle into an agonised area will cause pain. For others it will result in pure relieve and no pain.

Ever had a cortisone injection inside a Joint? I did when I dislocated my shoulder, gave a new definition to term of pain and doc wiggling the needle didn't help. I put the joint back in myself on the mountain(great relief), but that injection ....

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Can anybody else hear ducks? I'm sure I heard quackery the minute I started reading this "article".

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Common sense is what counts

Could not agree more. Do you resort to a primitive technique developed by ancient people who didn't know about the existance of cells, the function of blood, and otherwise lacking basic medical knowledge?

Or do you opt for modern Western medicine, which has more than doubled the average lifespan, eradicated most of the world's deadly diseases and drastically shrunken infant mortality rates?

Indeed, let's use some common sense.

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Acupuncture (Eastern) and blood letting (Western) were techniques that were used in the past based on what they thought at the time. These days they know more. So that's why blood letting isn't practiced these days. Not sure why acupuncture still is because it has been proven to be as bogus as blood letting. I guess it has the distinction as being one of the best placebos.

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A study done in the UK has shown that acupuncture is the most effective treatment for lower back pain. I tried it, and it works. There's a good place (a bit far) in Hibarigaoka. The guy is the official "masseur" for the national swimming team.

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I've always found Western and traditional ways to have its good points and bad points. While some traditional methods may not work for some, the same could be said about Western medicine (e.g. some people are allergic, or would develop unwanted side effects). Acupuncture takes a leap of faith involving possible pain, while taking a pill is easy. Then again, you face a greater risk of becoming addicted to taking pills (e.g. sleeping pills like Trazodone) and causing harm to your body (or leading to death).

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Interesting. Is holistic medicine getting an increasing trend in Japan, too?

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My father was highly allergic to cats, developing rashes on his neck from contact. Problem was his girlfriend had cats. After four visits to the acupuncturist and was cured. He later had a cat that liked to sleep on his chest while my father read the newspaper.

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After four visits to the acupuncturist and was cured.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

There are many possible explanations for this; poking oneself with needles to correct "imbalances" of a non-existent "energy" as prescribed by people of the Han Dynasty is among the least plausible.

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"There are many possible explanations for this; poking oneself with needles to correct "imbalances" of a non-existent "energy" as prescribed by people of the Han Dynasty is among the least plausible."

@ SiouxChef

Energy in teh body IS no longer a "myth" of "wholistic" healers. I don't remember all the details precisely but I'm sure you can look it up easily...anyway, In a fairly recent Science magazine in the US there's been articles of universities doing studies on Energy of the body and using some sort of dye or colour in the cells to trace movement of certain currents in the body and they actually traced what was visual proof of the chakras as is discussed in Indian healing.. secondly, even if not for the new method of tracing energy in the body, we know that every person has a magnetism and a electrical megahertz. and that's how the body sends signals from the brain to the organs and communicates how they function.. that's why Chiropractic is good practice because it helps the body's functions opperate more fully with all the energy it's suposed to be receiving. If the body's energy megahertz is high around 80 you're very healthy, if your energy is low around 50 you start getting sick and disease. If your body's energy mghz falls around 20 your body is about to die. :0 So yes.. the body does have Energy and it is real and energy, or lack of it, is life or death for us, so indeed it is not something to ignore.

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Energy in teh body IS no longer a "myth" of "wholistic" healers.

Believing something doesn't make it real.

we know that every person has a magnetism and a electrical megahertz . . . If the body's energy megahertz is high around 80 you're very healthy, if your energy is low around 50 you start getting sick and disease. If your body's energy mghz falls around 20 your body is about to die

That sounds really 'sciency'. I suppose it can sound convincing to some--people who don't understand what the word "megahertz" means, for example--but it is completely made up.

that's why Chiropractic is good practice because it helps the body's functions opperate more fully with all the energy it's suposed to be receiving.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but "innate intelligence" and "subluxation" in that field aren't real either (and I was under the impression that most chiropractors have abandoned those pseudoscientific notions for that reason).

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we know that every person has a magnetism and a electrical megahertz . . . If the body's energy megahertz is high around 80 you're very healthy, if your energy is low around 50 you start getting sick and disease. If your body's energy mghz falls around 20 your body is about to die

You see, this is why I never walk into a room with sharp metal objects.

Also, a healthy energy level apparently transmits on the same frequency as Tokyo FM. This explains why I can never pick up that station. All of those healthy people are interfering with my signal.

Also, I would like to see this study where they are injecting people with ferrofluid dyes. I can definitely see myself going for a full-body chakra current path tattoo using this very scientific methodology.

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At least I am assuming they would have to be ferrofluid, unless this whole magnetism and chakra energies stuff are two completely different kinds of crazy.

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