Acupuncture Clinic Online
"scientific" medicine has achieved magnificent results and saves
countless lives. Yet, the wonders of science and technology do not provide the
answers for everything.
medicine, here I speak in particular for acupuncture, is a traditional form of
an "alternative" therapy. Speaking in technical terms I would like to
compare the contributions of acupuncture to the healing process with a
reprogramming of a distorted body 'program', using the skin as an interface.
acupuncturist I do not heal or cure anything. If my patients get well, this is
because their bodies healed themselves - I just initialize the process with the
My vocation is: PREVENT patients from coming!
means: use all the knowledge and means at my disposal to guide the patients
to independency from medical care.
|The body heals itself, but sometimes
needs some assistance. |
|People are responsible for their body
(and health). |
|People can do much more themselves
than usually thought; DO-IT-YOURSELF concept. |
|I try to help my patients to become
(therapy) independent. |
|For this purpose, I advice my
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4. LATEST ENTRY
Before a practitioner can start
treating people, s/he must first find out what is wrong ? as far as that is
possible at all. As a matter of common sense there are many ways to do that
and I am not going into the details of examination techniques. However, I am
under the impression, that the Chinese with their intellectual world
domination in this area have inspired many westerners in believing,
practicing something that is usually "handled (please observe the
expression; there will be a few more instances of this kind of illuminating
terms below)" a little differently in Japan.
Since I have not had the opportunity
to observe things directly in mainland China, reading through (Chinese
influenced) reports, research material etc., or also material from China, I
also am under the impression, that the authors gather information by taking
the pulse, inspect the tongue and a little something of that and from there
draw their conclusions based on the classifications the Chinese love so much
and/or select the points for their treatment based on the theoretical
instructions of textbooks or the classics. It is of course laudable to know
the textbooks and classics, but personally I seriously doubt, they can tell
you anything about the patient you are currently treating. Just like the
description of "pneumonia" in a textbook of medicine gives you an
averaged, generalized model, but not the particular situation you encounter
in patient "xxx".
Although not all Japanese
practitioners adhere to the practice I attempt to put into rather unusual
words below and which a patient of mine once has called "poking
around", I prefer it and believe a substantial number of other
(Japanese) practitioners could offer the world here something, that may not
really make the EBM enthusiasts happy, but provides a sometimes very
enlightening "close encounter of the Japanese
Interface is a term usually used in
relation to computer and machine technology. But I would like to express a
few ideas pertaining to (physical) treatment, in particular acupuncture
treatment, and borrow this expression for the purpose.
In the medical world it is common
sense, that individual life forms, including single-celled microorganisms,
plants, animals and man, have a body surface that forms the interface of
this particular individual with the environment. Yet, in contrast to
man-made devices, which are usually one out of a more or less large number
of identical devices manufactured at a specific site with identical
specifications, these life forms are always **UNIQUE**. Not one of these
many "devices (let's call them units below)" exactly matches any
other device, even if they are of the same species, like for example
Each individual unit is slightly
different ? although may be not fundamentally. For that reason the interface
between the unit and the environment at any given moment in time is subject
to a unique, highly specific set of parameters influencing both the unit and
its environment. And because the specifications for each unit are unique,
the interaction between the particular unit and the environment occurring at
their common interface ? in man the skin ? also is subject to unique
changes. That means, that no other unit would react in exactly the same way
to a given, reproducible parameter/influence, like temperature or pressure.
In computer technology the status of
the various devices and their respective hard- and software can be checked
and a "digital output" of the relevant data prepared. In medicine,
here I refer in particular to acupuncture, "running diagnostics"
is also largely a "digital" process, because the practitioner uses
his/her fingers = digits to literally READ
information from the body surface of people/patients. But in contrast to
this process in computer technology the diagnostic process in acupuncture
exceeds the unidimensional digital level and becomes a "sensual"
holistic process, in that it includes visual (inspection), audio (hearing,
listening) and chemical (smell, but only RARELY taste) parameters.
In relation to the "EBM
frenzy" currently almost everybody is looking for "reproducible,
digital readouts" of this information: like temperature, pressure,
electrical resistance etc. However, to the best of my knowledge, even if
there are devices under development that may be able to test and measure
some of these parameters like pressure, which would be essential for
examining the pulse, these devices are still very far from reliably and
meaningfully measuring the parameters they are designed for. The human touch
still exceeds their capabilities.
Even if there were devices that would
satisfactorily measure ONE particular parameter, a human (erratic as that
may be!) practitioner would still integrate all the different modalities of
into one whole ("holistic") picture quite different from what any
machine would produce. In addition, the practitioner him/herself too is a
unique unit, which produces naturally a unique and not completely
reproducible output. THAT is for all scientifically/technically inclined
researchers believing in the holiness of EBM a horrible concept.
Now, the interface used for data
collection, namely the two layers of the skin of both patient and
practitioner approaching and in most instances also coming into contact with
each other, are not unlike a telephone. (This is a metaphor I like to use
when I try to explain the situation to my patients and refer here only to
On the one "hand"
(please note THIS expression) the practitioner moves with his/her hand(s)
over the body of the patient to collect = read the data written on the
patient's body surface. Although most patients are not really aware of them,
for a practitioner with a little clinical experience there is a lot of
information to read there, that will tell him/her about the past, present
and future state/development(s) of the person under examination. This is
like listening to that person talking on the other end of a telephone.
During the treatment on the other
hand, for which the hands do not even have to be lifted off the body = cut
the connection, the same hand(s) of the practitioner provides some input for
the system "patient". That is then like talking to the person on
the other end of the telephone line.
Modern telecommunication technology
uses wired networks, where cables are used to connect different devices, and
wireless networks using electromagnetic waves and fields. In medicine
nothing substantially has changed in the technological setup of the wired
and wireless networks (only our understanding of their functioning is
growing) since their inception = billions of years ago. Practitioners use
the hardware components for the wired networks, like nerves, muscles, bones
etc. in order to receive/transmit physical stimuli/information = like nerve
impulses traveling along nerves, or moxibustion induced chemical
changes/substances propagated via the chemical transport system
"blood". For the wireless networks practitioners tap into energies
and information in and also propagated along LAN channels that work without
having their own hardware, in the field of acupuncture these are often
referred to as meridians or also channels (note the similarity).
Actually, I have been called for help
in my capacity as an acupuncturist via mail. However, both patient and
practitioner are unique individual units with their own unique
specifications and therefore without exactly predictable reactions (to
interventions). Thus, helping people over long distances is usually not
working very well, because I as a practitioner have to do almost completely
without data readouts from the malfunctioning unit (person). Therefore the
attempts are in most cases bound to be unsuccessful.
The advice would be: get a piece of
real first-hand "human touch"
experience up close ...... again those
and moxibution to the world
In the past I repeatedly have expressed my personal
opinion, that the Japanese people should show
pride in their tradition, skills and outstanding technology,
promoting themselves on the global stage. That is, the Japanese intellectual
property should be “marketed”
aggressively. For this purpose the following means might be helpful:
actively publishing research papers
Japanese people playing active roles abroad.
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frequently asked question: Can I learn about acupuncture in Japan?
have been asked this question not really "many times", but a
considerable number of times. From all kind of different people with
different backgrounds and intentions. The answers I would be able to provide
is, however, not very encouraging. Intellectually Japan still seems to be
stuck in the "period of national seclusion". That means, while
China offers programs, classes, places in hospitals etc. where foreigners
may have the chance to either observe or actively learn about Chinese
acupuncture, Japan does not have any classes, school, hospitals etc. that
provide anything remotely systematic for any possible candidate, who shows
an interest in acupuncture in Japan. Private acupuncturist too, seem to be
(very) reluctant to give foreigners the opportunity to observe their
treatment for a variety of reasons. These include the fear, that they will
not be able to communicate with the foreigners, the assumption that they
don't have anything to "show", the argument that patients would be
very uncomfortable when being watches by a foreigner (in Japan officially
still called "alien"), or the possibility that the observers might
start something that either
at the moment the best thing I can do, is privately ask people who might be
willing to allow people watch their treatments (and I have already been
told, that I "should not care for those (troublesome) foreigners,
because it will be detrimental to my personal reputation").
based on my personal experiences, I would like to help any foreigner trying
to learn things here as best as I can. Although I cannot promise anything,
do not hesitate to ask me.
to observe acupuncture in Japan? Try to take a look also here (Library)
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With all due deference,
The entire human race uses "language", with the exception of the comparatively few people suffering from some sort of impairment, as a matter of course. Although there are differences regarding region/land and historical time, people in a specific location and at a specific time take the use of their "native" language for communication with other people of the same time and region for granted. While there are differences among different languages in the way how certain things/concepts are handled, the basic idea of conveying information between people is probably everywhere the same.
To quote from the Wikipedia(1):
"(language as) A tool for communication
Yet another definition defines language as a system of communication that enables humans to cooperate. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves, and to manipulate things in the world."
Again from the Wikipedia, pertaining to communication(2):
Human spoken and written languages can be described as a system of symbols (sometimes known as lexemes) and the grammars (rules) by which the symbols are manipulated. The word "language" is also used to refer to common properties of languages. Language learning is normal in human childhood. Most human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others around them."
Problems arise, when people of one specific region try to communicate with people in or from other regions. These problems arise already during communication related to common things like food, housing, directions etc., occasionally even among speakers of different dialects of the same language, but become much more complex in areas of high specialization. Oriental medicine is one such area. Even if one assumes, that the people who try to study and/or communicate about oriental medicine are already experts in their field, communication of specific concepts using different languages may represent a very challenging task. Assuming that there is a wealth of valuable information, which I will define for the sake of this discussion as information originating in Japan, this is and remains of very little use. That is because it is (encrypted) in Japanese, which mainly precludes access to it by most people of the world and information becomes only then really useful, if it is made available/accessible.
I am not a scholar and do not speak on behalf of any particular group of people or organization, but would like to formulate a few of my personal concepts related to this topic. In particular I would like to focus on aspects of the Japanese language, how it seems to be currently handled and understood in this field of learning and what potential future students of oriental medicine might expect or would like to see.
As stated above, language is used to convey concepts among people. This is an extremely simplified statement, but since I do not want to/can delve into all the complexities of research into language, communication and information exchange, I would appreciate, if you will permit me to leave it standing as it is.
The Japanese language is quite different from both English or other European languages and other oriental languages like Chinese. It does not use articles, rarely distinguishes between plural and singular and handles nouns and verbs differently from the way this is done in English for example(5). This may contribute to the impression, that Japanese is complicated and so difficult to learn, that most foreigners are not expected to have much success. Yet, Japanese is a highly developed, delicate and elegant language. Examples of highly refined typical Japanese literature like the "Genji Monogatari" for example, even though they use the writing system imported from China, antedate comparable works sometimes almost by centuries.
Yet, the Japanese people themselves seem to suffer from an inferiority complex about their language precisely because it seems to be so difficult and inaccessible. In a very illuminating book written by the linguist Suzuki Takao "The World of the Closed Language Japanese"(8) the author points out, that Japanese is actually one of the top 10 most spoken languages of the world. In his book he cited Japanese to be on rank 6, but while the rank has dropped to "9"(6) since its publication 30 years ago, it still remains among the most frequently, widely spoken languages of the world. There is nothing to be ashamed (shame is also a concept of special cultural significance in Japan) of. Rather on the contrary: I firmly believe that Japanese people should take more pride in their language and their achievements, which are largely expressed through this language. This in turn suggests, that materials explaining these achievements should be made assessible to the world through translation.
However, because of their fear, that other people/languages may be superior to their own and in conjunction with the aggressive promotion of a "standard TCM terminology" by the Chinese through the WHO(7), the Japanese have adopted a quite restrained behavior of promoting/displaying their own concepts and practice of oriental medicine through the use of Chinese dominated language. The result is an almost unbearable mixture of expressions, circumscriptions etc. that make even comparatively simple ideas almost unintelligible for many students of the matter throughout the world. I will try to illustrate with a few examples.
Occasionally I translate Japanese articles meant for magazines etc. that have the purpose of promoting the Japanese concepts pertaining to the use of Chinese herbal medicine, called Kampo, as well as research into acupuncture and oriental medicine in a wider sense.
Yet, while the use of Chinese herbal medicines in the Japanese way = Kampo should be considered an original Japanese application, editors sometimes/often cling to the Chinese form of an alphabetical notation of the relevant terms. For example, certain editors follow the recommendations by an authoritative academic (Japanese) society for the research into Kampo medicine and thus demand from me, that I write the name for prescriptions as ONE word, appearing in third place after English and Chinese like:
* Cassia Twig and Tuckahoe Pill plus Coix Seed
Here I can understand the use of an English translation. That certainly facilitates access to this information. The Chinese notation at least shows the breaks between individual characters, facilitating search in dictionaries and possibly also provides clues about the pronunciation. While the Japanese ... (12)
The above shown Japanese "word" has 29 (!) characters. There are even longer ones, like for example "yokukansankachinpihangegotokishakuyakusan" with no less than 41 characters. And, while the English and Chinese terms are treated as proper nouns and thus capitalized, in the example above the Japanese term appears only in lower letters, as if it were no proper noun.
I once asked a scholar about the necessity of expressing the Japanese terms as single words. The answer was, it would be very difficult to decide where to put any possible breaks. Again, I have great difficulties in believing, that the current approach will facilitate the declared purpose(9) of disseminating relevant information.
For example, one could easily break down the expression for the prescription called "Keishikaryukotsuboreito"in the following way:
* Keishi = drug name
* Ka = processing instruction
* Ryukotsu borei = names of TWO drugs
* To = drug form.
Not even Japanese persons would consider "Keishikaryukotsuboreito" to be ONE word, even if it is ONE name. For a Japanese person the term becomes immediately intelligible by looking at its elements, in particular since the Japanese know the associated Chinese characters for this term. This latter information and the underlying structure is presumably NOT available to many possible students of the material, unless they have previously acquired a considerable knowledge of the Japanese language, and thus makes comprehension very difficult, it not impossible. This includes also the difficulties encountered during attempts of looking up the term in dictionaries, that are newly created by this notation.
When I showed terms like "ryokeijutsukantogotokishakuyakusan" to Japanese people and asked them to read that for me, ALL were struggling very hard or could not figure it out at all, although they could read, naturally, the term when it is written in Chinese characters.
A little search about the use of long words in the English language showed, that the longest non-coined and nontechnical word is "Antidisestablishmentarianism" with 28 characters and the longest word in Shakespeare's works is "Honorificabilitudinitatibus" with 27 characters(4). So, for any "reasonable" discussion words of less than 20 characters should be suitable/comprehensible. "yokukansankachinpihangegotokishakuyakusan" (41 characters) is simply incomprehensible. The use of notations like "Thisisalonggreenhouseattheroadside” or "Lelangageestunsystme de signesidentifis permettantunecommunication entreune ouplusieursentits" would NOT help any learner of English of French respectively. Further, I believe that MOST people will have difficulties pronouncing the English word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" with 34 letters, that was in the song with the same title in the Disney musical film Mary Poppins(10), without any practice.
Following the same argument, I think it would help both foreign students as well as ultimately also the Japanese practitioners, if terms related to acupuncture like "Seppi", "Hinai Shin" etc. were left in Japanese and maybe provided with a descriptive English translation. In a similar fashion the technical terms related to Judo or other forms of martial arts are used WITHOUT translation. If the provision of such word pairs is too difficult to integrate into every text, it should be no problem at all to set up a frequently updated online database with the relevant terms.
After all, anyone who starts learning a certain subject, here oriental medicine, or a particular language, here Japanese, WILL have to refer to dictionaries and other reference materials. In this respect, with all due deference, I am under the impression that the highly educated scholars who have apparently been working on the above mentioned standard terminology or are representatives of the academic societies that strive to study oriental medicine and disseminate the relevant information, may have lost touch with basic problems learners have to face. In particular regarding the use of terminology, I firmly believe that the currently used Japanese approach is wrong.
Let's consider the use of dictionariess for an attempt to find out more about "keigairengyoto" = Jing-Jie-Lian-Qiao-Tang.
If you use a Chinese-English dictionary that provides alphabetized entries, you will know, that you are looking at a term consisting of 5 characters and can look up each according to its reading. However, there are naturally a large number of characters reading "Jing" and in ordinary language most probably no combination like "Jing-Jie". For that purpose you need a special dictionary.
The Japanese is worse, much worse. Here you are offered only ONE term. Even if the learner suspects, that this term consists for more than one character, HOW should this learner look for the relevant characters? The term could be split like:
* ke iga iren gyo to
* kei gairen gyoto
* keiga iren gyoto
* keigai rengyo to etc.
That gives the student many possible dictionary entries to look up - a largely futile effort.
For anyone who does not know the language (Japanese), all of the listed divisions are equally possible. Depending on how the individual terms/characters are listed in the particular dictionary, this may render a search almost impossible. If the particular dictionary does NOT provide alphabetized notations, most foreign readers are denied access to this information right from the start. I have experienced this myself many times. Unfortunately, to my knowledge there are, with one little exception(11), no proper dictionaries that would help foreign students getting access to the required information. The shortest, and only, way would always require the combined use of several Chinese-English, Chinese character, Japanese-English dictionaries. Occasionally more than one of each type.
Apart from the standard dictionaries there are a number of special dictionaries for oriental, in this context mostly Chinese medicine. Sometimes the tycoons in the field publishing those dictionaries then argue about who has the “right” translation, which will invariably be different from what is found in dictionaries published in China and among the latter ones again, each gives something different and here the English rendition itself more often than not appears to be rather dubious. What the WHO has published recently as the “agreed upon standard terminology” still feels in many instances not right, at least to me. And, naturally, that terminology assumes that everything must be based on Chinese concepts.
Since people are basically dealing with “Chinese medicine”, this consensus is of course not wrong, but what happened to the Japanese view and all those aspects special to Japan? The basic concepts of acupuncture and herbal medicine have been brought to Japan about 1,500 years ago and over centuries after that through books and by
practitioners. Yet, that is a long enough period for some original, independent developments to take place. Take for example the use of guiding tubes for acupuncture: a purely Japanese invention. In conjunction with the cultural differences, climatic and geographic differences and not least the mentality of the people this period of 1,500 years of development has led, I believe, to the establishment of conceptional systems and practical applications that are clearly distinct from the Chinese form ? even though many Japanese practitioners strongly assert, that they are practicing CHINESE medicine.
In spite of the thus historically formed system of a typical Japanese approach to oriental medicine, the insistence of the people in charge to NOT make this information publicly known, or to choose deliberately expressions/notations that are/will be incomprehensible for many/most non-Japanese persons, is a waste of very valuable resources.
I do hope, and possible can help to stimulate the process to adopt a more enlightening approach to the “dissemination of information”, so that the mountains of intellectual treasures currently hidden behind the veils of the Japanese language can be more easily assessed by the people of the world.
(5) An Introduction to Japanese Syntax, Grammar & Language
by Michiel Kamermans; grammar.nihongoresources.com
WHO International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region
(Suzuki Takao "The World of the Closed Language Japanese")
(9) From the JSOM HP:
The intention of the society is to hold research presentations and seek communication, tie-up and promotion concerning oriental medicine and contribute to the progress and dissemination of oriental medicine, and thus contributing to the development of scientific culture."
(11) Japanese-English Dictionary of Oriental Medicine; written and compiled by JONG-CHOL CYONG M.D. & Ph.D.; Oriental Medicine Research Center of the Kitasato Institute, Tokyo; ISEISHA
(12) Comment pertaining to: "WHO International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region":
* In this dictionary the items are listed in the order "Code ? Term ? Chinese ? Definition/Description". "Term" represents the column with the English terms and "Chinese" lists the corresponding Chinese terms ONLY in Chinese characters. That means, users cannot search the dictionary according to reading/pronunciation of Chinese terms and MUST know, what they are looking for in English. Or else they have to read through entire sections of the book.
* The only section, that provides "pronunciation" is the one listing classical medical texts. However, this too looks to users who are NOT very familiar with the different involved languages like a deliberate attempt at making things as incomprehensible as possible:
"Suwen" may be known well enough, but xu-an-ji or xuan-ji?
Should it be "pronounced" Hyakufu kuzu setsu or Hya kufu ku zusetsu?
Man’ampo ? the approstrophe is almost a relief and very helpful!!!
Hyangyakgoogeupbang ? I have no idea at all how this is supposed to be pronounced!
Bao Anh luong phuong ? even though I do not know how to pronounce that, I can clearly infer, that the term is made of 4 characters and look up their respective meaning, if I have Vietnamese dictionary (with alphabetical notation).
Even if the above are 'single terms', I am convinced that native speakers of the respective language pronounce these terms with certain intonational structure, revealing the listener clues to the makeup of the relevant terms. Without these clues, in the above example the apostrophe shows the listener/reader, that there is a break after "Man" and the term is not read Manam Po. Considering that even native speaker among themselves use these intonational structures, imagine what will happen, if someone who does not know the proper pronunciation of the relevant languages tries to read those terms / pronounce them / use them during communication with other practitioners.
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concepts and culture ...
The other day I read a
rather interesting article, written by a Japanese, about the dismantling of
traditional Japanese cultural concepts. I take the liberty of including this
article in my page. (as PDF file)
Idea of the Body in Japanese Culture and its Dismantlement"
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moved to page "reference":
about the booming quest for "natural"!
Heal yourself out of your "Hara".
Sleeplessness / headache
Stress coping (Japanese available)
Asian culture (Japanese available)
Short explanation of "Moxibustion"
Short explanation and pointer to "key words"
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Please feel free to ask me anything you are worried about or would like to
know. I will try to answer any question to the best of my knowledge.
Just send me an e-mail and I will get back
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Frequently I am asked, if I can recommend physicians,
hospitals etc. in the neighborhood. I will start to make a list of such