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Acupuncture Types – Japanese, Chinese, Korean Acupuncturists

Acupuncture is one form of complementary medicine which recently has significantly increased in popularity in the West. Due to the multiple health benefits associated with acupuncture, various health professionals, such as physiotherapists, doctors, nurses and dentists are also trained in this complementary therapy.

What is Japanese Acupuncture?

There are three main types of acupuncture, which include Japanese, Chinese and Korean acupuncture, although the use of needles to treat health problems is thought to have originated in China some 2,500 years ago. Japanese acupuncturists believe that health relies in energy or ‘ki’ being able to flow throughout the body, with acupuncture utilised to help rebalance this flow as a means of restoring good physical and mental well-being.

In Complementary Medicine For Dummies, Young (2007) highlights key features associated with Japanese acupuncture, to include the following:

  • very fine needles
  • shallow insertion
  • sometimes needles are simply touched against skin, not inserted
  • high emphasis on making treatment painless
  • needles placed in ‘shinkan’ or narrow tubes before insertion – makes it painless
  • individual specialist techniques used – such as ‘ippon hari’ or one needle acupuncture

What is Chinese Acupuncture?

As acupuncture is believed to have originated in China, it is not surprising that the Chinese take acupuncture very seriously, making it well worth seeking acupuncture treatment from a Chinese alternative medicine clinic. While other approaches to acupuncture may vary depending on which region of a country the acupuncturist trained, Chinese acupuncture is more standardised, which means that if you move town you can get the same treatment from another Chinese acupuncturist.

According to Young (2007), key aspects relating to Chinese acupuncture include as follows:

  • slightly thicker needles than those used in Japanese acupuncture
  • needles inserted directly by hand
  • aims to achieve ‘de qui’ or needling sensation when needles inserted
  • often less gentle than Japanese acupuncture

Understanding Korean Acupuncture

A third type of acupuncture, known as Korean acupuncture is usually less well-known in comparison to both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture. However, it is likely that as with many alternative medicine approaches, the Korean type of acupuncture will also increase in popularity as its health benefits become more known. Young (2007) identifies that the key difference between Korean acupuncture and other types, is that Korean acupuncturists primarily focus on hand acupuncture to treat the whole body.

As highlighted above, acupuncture is a very popular form of complementary medicine, which is now used by doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, dentists and even vets. While Chinese acupuncture is most well-known, Japanese and Korean acupuncture are also used to treat a wide variety of health problems from asthma to diabetes, migraine to menstrual pains.

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