Traditional Japanese Acupuncture

What is Traditional Japanese Acupuncture?

The non-invasive, pain-free Japanese acupuncture is originated in China and this healing method has progressed in unique ways under the huge influence of blind practitioners in Japan. Compared to the traditional Chinese acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture techniques are gentler and subtler. “Touch-needling” or “Contact-needling”, the needling technique used in Japanese acupuncture treatments rely heavily on the palpation, the use of touch for diagnosis.
The needles used in this technique are smaller and finer than the Chinese, and it is utterly painless because the insertion of needles is more gently and superficially. The following techniques are used during treatment in our clinic and are uniquely Japanese: they are either clearly of Japanese origin or they are very popular in Japan.  Each one is different in character and very effective on its own.

factor is to Strong emphasis on touch As the other senses will tend to be more
developed to compensate for the lack of sight.

Blind acupuncturists are said to be more sensitive to touch. They can touch the patient’s body more lightly and feel more. They seem to be able to pick up very subtle changes when reading the pulse. Acupuncture works on the physical – the muscles and flesh, but it is also known as an energy medicine system. Acupuncture goes much deeper to encompass the energetic flow in the body.


During a treatment, many changes can occur to the quality of the pulse, to the lustre of the skin, and to the energy flow of the body. As blind practitioners are not hindered by sight, they see with their hands and pick up on these changes far more quickly. They may find it easier to find the exact location of the acupuncture point. Ironically, in some ways, sight can actually blind a practitioner.

what advantages do blind acupuncturists have?

In addition to using abdominal palpation as a key diagnostic tool, Japanese acupuncturists feel around a lot before needling acupuncture points. Some might even “test” certain points, holding a finger on an acupuncture point while simultaneously pressing another (usually painful) part of the body to see if it alleviates symptoms in that area.A natural outcome of this approach is that there tends to be a lot of interaction between acupuncturist and patient. Feedback is critical to guiding the treatment.l Heading

Different from Chinese Acupuncture

Japanese Acupuncture and Chinese Acupuncture are not in the same breath even though both forms have their roots in the Orient. Japanese needles tend to be smaller and finer than Chinese needles. The depth of insertion required by Japanese needling (1 – 5 mm) is shallower than the Chinese needling (1 – 5 cm). Chinese needling involves lifting, thrusting, twisting and twirling the needles into the fleshy areas of the body whereas Japanese needling involves the use of metal tubes to guide the needles to the specific acupuncture points (active points) superficially. Hence, patients treated with Chinese acupuncture feel stronger needle tingling (pain) sensation as compared to Japanese version. Unlike Chinese acupuncture, moxibustion is used as a part of the Japanese acupuncture routine. Moxibustion involves the warming of acupuncture points before the insertion of needles by burning moxa, a substance derived from the mugwort plant. The burning moxa produces a pleasant ordor which added to the overall relaxing experience of Japanese acupuncture treatment.

Who will benefit from the treatment?

Japanese acupuncture is a very useful technique for patients with needle phobia or those with a squeamish deposition. This non-insertive needle healing method is also well suited for children. Japanese acupuncture helps to relieve aggravated stress (fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia), localized pain (migraine, knee pain, back pain), trauma (strains, sprains, bruises), gastric problems (nausea, gastritis, acid reflux) and even infertility.

Still today, there may be some resistance to the idea of blind people giving acupuncture treatments. I imagine that they would have had to face more obstacles to do so. But then, becoming an acupuncturist is never an easy path for anyone. not only a title of Ms, PhD etc. Japan has proven that blind people can become highly skilled acupuncturists and massage practitioners and I think our society can greatly benefit if acupuncture and massage was offered as a career option to the blind in the West as it is in Japan.

1. Strong emphasis on touch

2. Thinner needles

Japanese acupuncturists use very thin needles and insert them very shallowly. It is not uncommon for a patient to feel no needle sensation whatsoever throughout an entire treatment.

Some people favor the traditional Chinese approach—”I really feel it working“—but Japanese acupuncture treatments are equally powerful and generally preferable for those who are physically weak or needle sensitive.

no pain acupuncture treatment for pain clinic in Amsterdam.
The most common one is the filiform needle. It is very thin and sharp, and is usually inserted with a guiding tube. This makes the insertion quick and painless.Depending on the desired result, the needle is removed from its point after a few seconds or is left in place for a few minutes. I don't retain needles often.Filiform needles can also be used non-insertion techniques for needle-phobic patients. In that case, the tip of the needle just rests on or above the skin but does not puncture the skin.Japanese techniques require the use of very thin needles: 0.16 mm diameter is the standard gauge, 0.12 mm is the thinnest. That's about as thin as a few hairs next to each other. Figures for comparison: The standard Chinese Acupuncture needle gauge is  0.25 or 0.30 mm. The diameter of a standard intravenous needle used for taking blood samples is 0.8 mm.

Hinaishin or intradermal needle

The Hinaishin is a tiny needle, 2-5 mm long and looks a bit like a question mark with its "head" closed. It is inserted tangentially into the skin and then taped into place to provide gentle but ongoing stimulation to an acupuncture point. Once inserted, the Hinaishin is not felt by the patient. Hinaishin are used on the body and are usually left in place for 3-5 days.

very thin needles and acupuncture treatment for headache and injury.
very traditional japanese treatment with unique Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment in Amsterdam.

Empishin or perpendicular intradermal needle

Empishin are sometimes called "press tacks" and they do look like tiny thumb-tacks on a bit of sticky tape (the sticky tape is removed in the picture). They are only 1-1.5 mm long and, like the Hinaishin, are used for continuous stimulation of an acupoint.

Empishin are used on ear and body points and are left in place for 2-3 days. Once they are inserted, the Empishin is not felt by the patient.