Styles of Acupuncture
There are many styles of acupuncture in use today from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it is taught in China to Korean, Japanese, Five element and medical acupuncture or dry needling that takes a more western approach and isolates acupuncture form its roots and development of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I initially trained in an integrated approach combining the best of TCM and Five Element acupuncture styles but later trained in Japanese and more traditional forms of acupuncture which I find more effective and more suitable to our idea of treatment in the West.
There are many styles of acupuncture that were passed down through family generations which are becoming more popular and due to its effectiveness and unique acupuncture points, the Master Tung style of acupuncture is one of the most popular.
This style focuses on distal needling and techniques so the area of pain or illness is not needled at all, which reduces the risk of causing more pain or inflammation. This style works quickly and once the needles are inserted a marked reduction in pain or symptoms should be experienced. I find this the most effective of all the styles of acupuncture and it is the main style I use in my clinic.
Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is now taught and practiced in China is really a modern system. During the cultural revolution in the 1960’s a decision was made to standardize the practice of Chinese Medicine.
This was carried out by examining the various family lineages, extracting what they seemed to have in common, eliminating anything that the Communist Government considered to be too overtly spiritual, and naming the resulting collection of knowledge and techniques Traditional Chinese Medicine and creating an official curriculum to be taught in the universities of China.
Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on patterns on disharmony in the body and relies on the 8 principles of hot/cold, full/empty, internal/external and yin/yang. A prescription of points is chosen depending on the patterns diagnosed and point indications. This strength of this system is in treating pain and internal disease and most of the research undertaken is carried out using traditional Chinese medical theories.
This style of acupuncture was developed by Kiiko Matusmoto who was trained under some of Japan’s most esteemed master acupuncturists.
Kiiko Matsumoto through continuous clinical experience and her in-depth understanding and interpretation of the classic texts of Chinese medicine, which is constantly being developed and updated, developed this unique style of acupuncture which is characterised by its focus on palpation (evaluating structural and internal issues through touch).
In this style of acupuncture we examine and palpate specific areas of the abdomen, the back, neck and other areas in order to get an understanding of what imbalances exist within a person. Acupuncture treatment points are then chosen carefully in order to soften/release these areas, which provides instant feedback that the body has begun the healing process.
Kiiko Style Japanese acupuncture uses very fine needles and uses shallow insertion and treatment is very gentle and pain free which alongside the instant feedback is one reason that so many people prefer this style.
Kiiko Style acupuncture offers a totally new way to look at patients as it combines classical Chinese medical principles with modern pathophysiology in a way that facilitates the understanding and brings out the best in both.
Based on the theory of the five elements, fire, earth, metal, water and wood, and how these elements relate and interact within the body, this style of acupuncture looks to treat the root of the symptoms and strengthens the underlying constitutional imbalance.
In this style the emphasis is on treating the whole person and not just their current symptoms and is useful for treating emotional and even spiritual aspects. Each element is associated with many factors which include the emotions, colour, seasons, taste, odours and organs within the body and through diagnosing the element that is most imbalanced treatment can have a profound impact on many levels of our overall wellbeing.