When I was getting my Master's in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine long long ago, one of my favorite classes was Japanese Acupuncture. We learned Manaka style Acupuncture focusing on the Extraordinary Meridians, which are 8 extra channels that are considered to be older and deeper to the body than the 12 main meridians that we feel in the pulse. Because they are older and deeper, we assess them using Hara or abdominal diagnosis and, in Manaka Acupuncture, use ion pumping cords to balance them. Something which I can explain another time!
Sound like gibberish? Yes, I know, but its amazing stuff that I have always loved. Whether you know it or not, I still ALWAYS use acupoints to treat extraordinary meridians in all of my treatments because I feel that strengthening those older deeper channels leads to better efficacy (I hope you'll agree!).
In that class I learned about Kiiko Matsumoto - another Japanese acupuncture master who could make many ailments melt away. I have always wanted to learn from her, but time and life has interfered until FINALLY last month I got to take a class with her and it didn't disappoint.
What is KMS or Kiiko Matsumoto Style Acupuncture?
Kiiko is a true scholar - she reads ancient Chinese acupuncture texts using original dictionaries from the Han dynasty or before, depending on what she is learning because as you may imagine, things were different then. Just like if someone says "cool" to you now, you know that it means "that's awesome" and not "its cold," Chinese language in the Han dynasty versus today was the same - while we might read the name of an acupuncture point in Chinese and think we understand the reference, without the proper interpretation we may be wrong - this is where Kiiko shines and imparts incredible deep knowledge. She uses this depth to broaden the use of specific points and channels, enhancing and reshaping what we already know from Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, and in so doing increases our efficacy.
Coming from a Japanese tradition, she also does not rely on tongue and pulse (gasp!!). She uses Hara diagnosis (abdominal palpation) and channel palpation and when the points and connections are right the change is instantaneous. Instant feedback from modifications in tenderness and sensation, instant gratification, sounds very modern for an ancient medicine, yes??
To me, this is another area of genius in Japanese Acupuncture - the ability to immediately get feedback about what is working and what isn't in treatment by understanding what specific patterns of tenderness are telling you.
One of the other hallmarks of Japanese Acupuncture is using extra fine needles and emphasizing comfort and a preferred lack of strong needle sensation. This was something I adopted from my early Manaka style classes long ago that I have always tried to incorporate into treatment.
Lets Feel Your Tummy!
So what does this mean for treatment at All Ways Well? It means I might want to feel your tummy at your next treatment in order to use these new Kiiko tools in my toolbox! Sometimes the abdomen will reveal things we have missed before, sometimes it may not tell us anything new or lead to changes in treatment, but if you're game to try, let me me feel your tummy and see what comes!
I won't be able to take another class in Kiiko's style until next year, but that means I have lots of time to perfect the treatments I learned this year. In particular, if you have abdominal pain, neck pain, SI joint (low back/sacrum pain) or if you have ever been electrocuted (I know, crazy one right??) I will be extra excited to try out these new treatment methods and I hope you will be too!
Questions? Concerns? Let me know! I would be overjoyed to discuss what I am starting to understand about this exciting system of Acupuncture! And I am extra excited to bring these new tools to my practice and to YOUR treatments to enhance both comfort and success.
Looking forward to feeling your tummy on the table,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.