When most people think of acupuncture, they think of needles -- which leads them to memories of doctors’ offices, painful injections & booster shots! This connection is so unpleasant that it stops people from trying acupuncture or even learning what it is really allabout, but did you know that acupuncture treatments are so relaxing that most of the people fall asleep or reach a very deep state of relaxation during treatment?
In our blog today, we would like to dispel the myths and fears by sharing information about acupuncture and needles that are used during the treatment.
While western, medical needles are used to and intended to inject medicines into the body, acupuncture needles are intended to release specific symptoms while creating balance within the body. Symptoms are released by inserting hair-thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points along mapped out meridians in the body. Your acupuncturist will determine which points need to be stimulated to treat your condition(s). Most of the needles will not be felt at all – those that you do feel will feel like a pinch.
There are two main styles of acupuncture and both of them are practiced here at Sollievo: Chinese and Japanese. Both are rooted in the Medical classics of ancient China -- written over 4000 years ago. Both styles are very powerful and produce amazing results in treating illnesses, but there are differences between them.
When acupuncture was brought to Japan, many of the first practitioners were blind, and thus began the divergence of the two systems. The practice of Japanese acupuncture began to take shape in more subtle & gentle ways. The practitioners relied heavily on tactile senses and palpation to find the acupuncture points; for example, a Japanese acupuncturist will diagnose by doing a thorough, verbal health history, checking your pulse (several times), palpating your abdomen and other parts of the body to determine where to insert the needles. Japanese acupuncturist use as few needles as possible and insert them very superficially.
In Chinese style acupuncture, the philosophy is different as is the diagnostic approach. The Chinese believed that more is better and therefore, more needles are used in treatment, the needles are thicker and, to increase the intensity of the treatment, “QI” is manually activated by manipulating the needles once placed in their points. A Chinese style acupuncturist will also do a thorough, verbal health history, check your pulse (once) and look at your tongue to diagnose conditions. Some Chinese-style practitioners, after decades of practice, can gather most of the necessary information without even talking with you – they look at your tongue and take your pulse and can tell what is going on inside your body! Amazing!
In both styles, a verbal health history is taken – often the questions asked may seem irrelevant, but remember, the entire approach is different from what we know in the west. Stay tuned to our blog where we will begin to shed light on Eastern Medical thought and the 5 Element Theory.
Our acupuncturist, Larisa Rich, is certified in both the classical Chinese and Japanese styles of acupuncture. In addition, for those completely needle-phobic people, she practices non-insertive acupuncture – where the needles are blunt-ended and therefore do not penetrate the skin’s surface (aka: no needles at all!!).
We want to hear from you: Have you ever received acupuncture? Do you know if it was Chinese or Japanese acupuncture? Do you have any questions for us about the differences between these two styles of acupuncture?