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  • Chinese Acupuncture vs Japanese Acupuncture: What is Better?
  • Chinese Acupuncture vs Japanese Acupuncture: Key Differences

    For those that have opted to undergo an alternative therapy to treat a condition or to minimize pain, the next big question is which form of therapy to chose?

    Most people are not even aware that acupuncture also has several different versions – it developed in different regions and evolved differently in each case. The different forms of acupuncture are thus, named after the prominent nations where this development took place – China, Japan and Korea.

    Of all the three different denominations – Chinese, Japanese and Korean – it is apparent that the Chinese version has gained the maximum prominence, and has the highest recall value.

    But the fact remains that other forms of acupuncture – especially the Japanese acupuncture – are also quite effective, and have a great following in their own right. For example, in Japan alone, there are over 100,000 practitioners of the signature Japanese style of acupuncture.

    Chinese Acupuncture vs Japanese Acupuncture

    When it comes to making a choice between the two – Chinese acupuncture vs Japanese acupuncture, the honest answer is that there is no simple answer. The reality is, both have their own merits, and may work differently for different persons under different conditions. In short, it will all depend on the context of the ailment – that will ultimately decide which therapy will be more beneficial.


    Acupuncture Therapy


    Let us look at some of the key differences, and how these will affect the ultimate choice between the Chinese and Japanese approaches.

    First, there is a difference in the way the needle is used in both approaches. While the needles used in both the forms are extremely fine per se, between the two forms, the Chinese style of therapy uses thicker needles – the Japanese needles are thinner, and much smaller.

    So, if you have a fear of needles, or you are apprehensive of the pain (however mild) they may cause, you may be better off with Japanese acupuncture.

    Secondly, the Chinese acupuncture therapy is a part of the much wider discipline of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and that also involves an extensive use of herbs. On the other hand, the Japanese approach does not prescribe any herbal medicines in conjunction with the treatment.

    Should your Japanese acupuncturist feel that you also need to supplement your treatment with herbs, they may refer you to a Kampo, who is a traditional herbal expert. In Japan, the herbs used have to be approved by the central drug authorities – so the prescription is minimal, and the herbs available are of the finest quality.

    Conversely, the relaxed use of herbs in Chinese therapies allows a more customized preparation that may have a better effect.

    Thirdly, the Japanese approach to acupuncture advocates a much deeper and intimate diagnosis that involves a lot of touch and feeling for palpations – especially on the abdominal region. The practitioner may also do some preliminary testing before commencing treatment – simply checking how the affected organs respond to the stimulation of the corresponding acupuncture points. All this is achieved through touch.

    Interacting with the patient, and gathering feedback is, therefore, key to getting the correct diagnosis in the Japanese style of acupuncture.

    When making a decision regarding choosing between Chinese acupuncture and Japanese acupuncture, you can consider the above mentioned differences in approaches and treatment styles.

    Also, experts recommend that a patient who is just starting to explore an alternative therapy should try both the techniques, and then see what is working. Once the more successful of either is discovered, it should be persisted with for a better chance of success.

    Image Attribution: Image/Wikimedia Commons

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