Therapist talk:

Acupuncture Treatment in Oriental Medicine

By Eitaro Hamano

(Acupuncturist)

1. The different forms of acupuncture and moxibustion: Oriental medicine acupuncture and Western medicine

What can be treated with acupuncture and moxibustion? Why does acupuncture improve our body condition? In Japan, acupuncture and moxibustion are generally considered to be effective for stiff shoulders, frozen shoulders and back pain. On the other hand, acupuncture and moxibustion in Europe is considered to be a part of medical treatment that complements standard medical treatment. Physiotherapists may also use acupuncture as part of their treatment. 

 

As a matter of fact, there are various types of acupuncture and moxibustion. In particular, the Chinese style of acupuncture and moxibustion, so-called TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), is the mainstream system in the world. In China, it was not until modern times that the state intervened and it became systemised as it is today. Since ancient times, Japan has accepted Chinese medicine and developed it independently. After the introduction of Western medicine in the Meiji era, various styles have been created by acupuncturists. Therefore, there are many kinds of treatment and therapist communities in Japan depending on how the acupuncturist approaches treatment of the human body. 

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Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment can be roughly divided into the Western ‘medical acupuncture’ system and ‘Oriental medical acupuncture.’ Western medicine considers the body as a mechanical machine based on Descartes's ‘mind-body dualism’. For example, it is concerned with what part is defective, whether to remove the part, and how to suppress the affected area for the time being. In the case of Western acupuncture and moxibustion treatment, physical therapy is given with the expectation that a physiological analgesic effect will occur on the aching muscle, on trigger points, or its related nerve in the problem area. Rehabilitation departments target the treatment of symptoms primarily.

 

On the other hand, Oriental medicine acupuncture and moxibustion treatment begins with the natural philosophy that the body is a microcosm (a part of nature), that each part of the body has its own network, and the human body has a relationship between these functions. It has been developed as a system of clinical medicine from these ideas. Therefore, when looking at human beings and their entire environment as a whole, therapists place importance on how patients are out of balance and became ill. 

 

Therefore, it differs from Western medical acupuncture and moxibustion in that it can deal with a wider range of physical disorders. It's not that Oriental medicine is better than Western medicine, but that there is a difference between each approach in treatment. In addition, acupuncture and moxibustion is broadly considered to have an immediate effect on pain, but it also has the power to boost immunity, prevent illness, and relieve chronic physical and mental disorders by addressing its origins. 

 

Next time, let's take a closer look at Oriental medicine acupuncture and moxibustion.