Category Archives: acupuncture school

Experiencing Japanese Style Acupuncture

Part and parcel of becoming a good practitioner of acupuncture is to be treated by other acupuncturists.  A few months ago, as I had a needle inserted into bladder 1 (a point that lies in the corner of the orbital socket), my intern remarked that when the time came to practice needling this point on a classmate, I would have an advantage because I had had the point needled on myself.   There is a certain logic to this, because while I have never stuck a needle into someone’s eye socket, feeling how the needle is supposed to go in and what the sensations are like is helpful to making the experience a little less (hopefully) traumatic.

Being treated with acupuncture also played a fundamental role in bringing myself and many of my classmates to this field of study, and influences our belief in this field of healthcare as an effective treatment modality.  So, having done Chinese acupuncture with a number of different practitioners and having taken herbs, I decided, on the recommendation of my roommate, to explore Japanese style acupuncture this semester.

Many of you may be surprised to learn that there is such a thing as Japanese style acupuncture, but there is.  Acupuncture encompasses a wide variety of treatment styles, and Japanese differs from Chinese in the needling technique, the diagnostic process, the inclusion of palpitation of the abdominal area, and the number of needles used.

The differences became apparent at the beginning of the treatment, as I sat down to do my intake.  Instead of going through the categories (skin, respiratory, musculo-skeletal, digestive) straight off the bat the way the CAS (Chinese acupuncture) intake goes, we talked at length about my eczema before moving on to these other points.    I then lay down on the exam table, and she proceeded to take my pulse (again, slightly differently than CAS), and then raised my shirt to press my abdomen, searching for tender/sore spots.   Unlike CAS, there was no tongue examination.

After her supervisor came in to meet me, she then set about needling me – imagine my surprise when she told me I was getting a heavy-duty JAS treatment with a grand total of…12 needles! Whenever I’ve done CAS treatments, I’ve ranged from having between 15-40 needles inserted at any given time, so 12 was a big change in a way.  The needles were also gold, another difference, and she used an insertion tube (something we are initially taught not to do in this program, but that is central to JAS insertion technique).

All in all, the treatment was very relaxing and seems to have helped.  I’ve felt considerably better since going, and I’m looking forward to being treated in this style for the rest of the semester.   I think it’ll be a good modality for me at this stage of my healing process, and I’m feeling very optimistic.

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Welcome to Acupuncture School

I’m currently in the midst of orientation day at acupuncture school, and the differences between it and library school could not be greater.  At my library school orientation, we discussed matters germane to us as future educators: licensing, standards, etc.

At acupuncture school, we began with an icebreaker to introduce ourselves to our classmates as a precursor to the extremely hands-on practice we will soon be engaging in with each other.  In a matter of days, we will begin to literally use each others’ bodies to learn, touching, feeling, palpitating, needling, scraping, and more.  To say it’s a much more intimate learning experience is a vast understatement.

And now, I am sitting in the midst of a seminar on infectious diseases.  This is important information – we will be working out in the general public, exposed to any number of infectious patients, some with your run-of-the-mill issues like the common cold, others with more serious issues such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.   I think I know more than the average person about infectious diseases, being generally interested in the sciences and having studied biology at a higher level, but I had forgotten how learning this information has a tendency to make you a little hyper-paranoid.

I am not the most health-nervy person out there – I don’t jump or take notice of every little sniffle or sneeze, but when you take a moment to stop and consider just how many nasties are out there, that we are being exposed to without even realizing it, well, it’s enough to make you really freak out if you let it.

My feelings on this first day are hard to describe.  I’m apprehensive at being able to tackle both programs at once.  I’m worried that I’m going to be in over my head, that my relationships are going to be impacted, that my skin is going to flare up again.  I’m wondering how I’m going to juggle what promises to be an intense workload.  But most of all, I’m curious to see how my brain handles dealing with two very different subject matters simultaneously.  I had a taste of it this summer with my technology class, but for a variety of reasons, my brain didn’t really feel like it was being split in two, so to speak.  This semester, I think it very much will.

No matter what, it promises to be an interesting ride.  All aboard!