What is Japanese Acupuncture? (Part 1)

People often ask us, what is the difference between Chinese and Japanese acupuncture? The answer to this question is both simple and complex. The philosophy and medical theories that form the nexus of Traditional Asian Medicine all come from the classical texts of China with the oldest being the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine written approximately 2,300 years ago.

As medicine developed in China, much of this information was spread predominantly by monks traveling between monasteries to the Korean peninsula and then ultimately to Japan. The teaching also spread westward to Tibet, Vietnam, and Burma (Myanmar) influencing other cultures and their approach to medicine.

As knowledge spread to Japan, its unique people, culture, and history started to influence and shape the medicine to the distinctive needs of its people. Particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries when Japan was closed off to much of the outside world, acupuncture and herbal medicine was further shaped and refined becoming a highly valued source of health, wellness, and treatment of disease.

During the late 19th and 20th centuries, Japan opened itself to the world and more modern forms of medicine were introduced by the Dutch and American delegations. At this time, traditional forms of acupuncture began to be viewed as unscientific and the constant refinement of diagnosis, treatment and technique that were the core of effective traditional treatment began to decline. It was at this time that a highly committed group of traditional acupuncture physicians started a movement to get back to the classical nature of the medicine that was imported over the centuries from ancient China.

To be continued….

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