Japanese acupuncture significantly differs from other styles in its delicacy. It is extremely gentle but a highly effective form of treatment, using very fine needles, which are inserted very shallowly or not inserted at all.
The main differences between Japanese and Chinese style acupuncture are:
- Japanese style uses needles three to four times finer than Chinese styles, enabling a painless insertion.
- The development of the pre-sterilized and disposable needle.
- The use of an insertion tube which allows the needles to be gently tapped in and controlled so as to eliminate or minimize any discomfort on insertion.
- Needling usually remains very shallow, about 1-2mm, without the need to manipulate needles, rather relying on location, direction of needle and the breath to create the required effect. Other times the needles do not even penetrate the skin, but rather simply touch the points.
- Points are located by palpation and patients verify immediately the effect via a reflex point.
- The pulses and abdomen are palpated to indicate patterns of imbalances and treatment principles.
- A greater variety of points are used for their immediate, palpable effects rather than usage of points based on standardized point combinations.
- Unique variations and refinements in the development and usage of cupping, moxibustion (thermal therapy), bloodletting and physical therapeutic movements (Sotai).
- Treatment is directed at harmonizing Ki in the body through the meridian system instead of using herbal diagnosis methods.
Patients may experience little more than a sensation of warmth or tingling as the points are stimulated. The whole process is very relaxing. Most patients feel a deep sense of calm and wellbeing.