Tag 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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Summer?

It’s hard to feel like it’s summer these days. First, there’s the weather, which has tended towards unseasonably cool. It’s the middle of June and my roommate (who usually runs hot) turned on the heat this morning. Yes, you read that right.

Heat. In June.

Ponder that.

It’s also hard to feel like it’s summer because unlike many of my library school cohort, I have had no respite since library school classes ended in the first week of May. This is because, with my bad luck, the summer term for acupuncture school started the very same day, which meant that I skipped my last day of library class to attend my first day of acupuncture class.

So now, instead of leisurely whiling away the hours, I have chemistry once a week (just under four hours), tai chi, a course on the history and cultural foundations of Chinese medicine, and anatomy, which will be starting in two weeks time, and will meet twice a week for 3 hours each class. I’m also preparing to take my state teacher licensing exam, a necessary component of my degree program, wrapping up an online biology course, and taking a technology course for library school, which promises to be really fun and interesting.

It’s tiring, yes, and it’s a lot of work, but if I can make my life easier down the road, then it’s worth the sacrifice of a few more hours of free time. August (when classes end) seems both impossibly far away and extremely close. Somehow, I’ll make it, and everything will get done. All I have to do is breathe.