What Is Japanese Acupuncture?

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  • Written By: Robert Ferguson
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Japanese acupuncture is a style of traditional acupuncture influenced by sixth century Chinese Medicine. This type of acupuncture is known for its use of smaller needles and shallower insertions rather than other types of acupuncture. The most common four types of needling techniques used in Japanese acupuncture are Hifushin, Shigo, Hinaishin, and Fire Needle.

Hifushin, referred to as a touching needle, is most commonly used with patients with needle phobias and pediatric patients. This form of acupuncture does not actually puncture the skin; rather it touches, allowing for minimal points on the body. To obtain successful results when practicing touching needle, it is important for the practitioner to closely monitor the patient’s pulse, as a steady pulse is believed to be the first step in the healing process. Gold, copper, silver and zinc are the metals used in the practice of Hifushin Japanese acupuncture.

In Shigo Japanese acupuncture, the practitioner chooses the point on the patient to begin treatment based on the Chinese clock. This type of acupuncture can only be used if the patient has a localized area of pain. Shigo acupunture uses a gold needle approximately thirty gauges in size. By holding the gold needle at the area, or point of pain from forty seconds to two minutes, the patient should feel a significant reduction in pain. Shigo acupuncture is used to treat aliments including chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, and muscle cramping.


Hinaishin Japanese acupuncture focuses on the lower back and waist area. In this style of therapy, the use of a slight sedation along with gold, silver and steel needles is generally considered to ease the most amount of pain. Hinaishin has shown successful results with patients who suffer from urinary pain and kidney infections.

The Fire Needle technique in Japanese acupuncture is most commonly used for pain relief involving acute or chronic muscle problems. Practitioners in this form of acupuncture will gently tap on the needle once it has been inserted into the muscle which is causing the pain or discomfort. The term "Fire Needle" comes from the heating of the needles before insertion into the body. Heating the injured or problematic muscle is believed to relieve the most pain.

Japanese acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of pain issues and disorders including circulatory and respiratory disorders, gynecological problems. It can also treat emotional or psychological disorders. The practice of acupuncture is also believed to help people who struggle with addictions in alcohol and drugs.


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