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Japanese vs Chinese Acupuncture – How to Pick the Best One for You?

Well, before we dive into the main focus of this blog, it’s best to ask that question, Japanese or Chinese acupuncture – are the treatment the same? Perhaps you’ve already tried an acupuncture session, but now you’re looking to try an alternative. Or you might have already thought about the differences between Japanese and Chinese acupuncture. Regardless if you’ve pondered on this key question a lot or not at all, you’ve come to the right place.

Like most things in life, to get the most out of something, it’s always best to do your homework. Fortunately, we’ve condensed the key differences between Japanese acupuncture vs Chinese acupuncture. When it comes to these age-old acupuncture practices, it’s best to look at the history of the alternative medicine practice first. Although we know that this alternative healing practice has been used since ancient times, researchers are still unsure of the exact date when acupuncture started to be widely practiced in China and Japan.

Based on our research, and our experience in studying these acupuncture styles is that this method originated from China. Then, from there, it moved to Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Again, the basis of this practice remains the same. However, due to the cultural differences, each country has developed and crafted their “signature” acupuncture techniques. Moreover, some of these techniques are still used today.

What is the difference between Japanese vs Chinese Acupuncture?

As noted, the philosophy and foundations of acupuncture remain consistent across Chinese and Japanese techniques. The aim of acupuncture comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This aim also applies to Japanese acupuncturists. Generally, they will be taught the philosophies and principles of TCM. Subsequently, they will then develop their training by incorporating Japanese styles and techniques.

So, that we can show you the differences in the techniques and styles, here are the top three difference between Japanese and Chinese Acupuncture.

1. Needle Size

The first main difference is the size, sharpness and width of the needle used, for both styles. Generally, Japanese acupuncturists will often use smaller needles. Although they’re smaller, these needles also tend to be much sharper than those used in Chinese acupuncture. Whereas Chinese acupuncturists will use needles with a wide gauge.

2. Insertion Practice

Following on the from the above difference, the insertion style differs. As Chinese acupuncturist often implement more aggressive needling. On the other hand, Japanese acupuncturist tends to use very gentle, and somewhat superficial needling.

3. Pre-treatment Practices

Another difference is that Japanese acupuncturists will usually place a lot of emphasis on touch before they begin the needling experience. This practice arguably goes hand in hand with the teachings of Japanese acupuncture, which often focuses on gentling needling.

The Bottom Line

So, now we have looked at the three difference, how do you pick the best one for you? Unfortunately, we can and can’t give you an answer. What we mean is that the option that is best for you depends on your needs, your tolerance to needles and what you aim to achieve from the treatment.

Our best advice is that when it comes to sourcing the right acupuncture service, is that you do your homework – which you’ve already started by reading this article. Also, many practitioners like Kazuo Tateishi from Forest of Zen Wellness will be happy to provide you with guidance, when it comes to picking the best acupuncture method for you.

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