Toyohari (Japanese Acupuncture)
Toyohari is a style of acupuncture developed and established in Japan. It is known for its extremely gentle needling yet powerful effects. The unique Toyohari needling methods are non-invasive and therefore suitable for everyone including children, the elderly and people who are very sensitive or wary of needles.
Eastern Medicine works with the concept of Qi – the vital energy that flows ceaselessly in our body protecting and supporting life. Qi flows through the meridians or energy pathways of the body. When Qi does not flow freely the balance between the meridians is impeded and we become more vulnerable to disease. According to the Classic texts of Eastern Medicine Qi flows on the very surface of the skin, therefore Toyohari puts emphasis on palpation methods to feel and assess the state of Qi.
Diagnosis is reached through the observation method prescribed by the Classics and practiced for centuries. The body is regarded as a whole and the aim is to find the root cause of the disease which is unique to each individual. Once diagnosis is achieved the practitioner begins a process of restoring the body’s Qi to its original balanced state by supplementing it where it is lacking, getting rid of stagnation and enhancing the flow of vital energy. As Qi begins to flourish again in the meridians, the symptoms of the patient gradually recede and health is regained.
At the first consultation you will be asked in detail about your main complaint, past illnesses, bodily functions, life style and diet. Then the practitioner will examine your abdomen and meridians, and take pulses to assess which meridians need to be treated in order to restore a healthy balance.
Toyohari practitioners use the finest of needles and tools made from various metals to stimulate the surface of the skin. They also burn very small cones of Moxa (herb Artemisia Vulgaris) to activate Qi where it is necessary. The Toyohari treatment is a pleasant and relaxing experience.
You are asked to come back for a course of sessions, ranging from several to a dozen, depending on the severity of the condition. They are usually weekly to begin with (although in acute severe cases you might be asked to come every other day), and less frequent as the body begins to get better. Some people respond to treatment faster than others as every person is unique. Some people book regular sessions even after the symptoms have gone because they find it is an excellent way to keep good health and maintain balance in the body.
Toyohari is a branch of Meridian therapy that is based on the Classic acupuncture theories and treaties written in the 2 – 3 BC in China and passed down the generations for safeguarding and promoting the health of humankind.
Meridian Therapy regards the human body as a harmonious whole supported by healthy Qi and Blood which are transported via the complex network of meridians that cover each and every part of the body. It explains that all diseases derive from disharmony of Qi and Blood, and the state of energies in the meridians.
Monks studying Buddhism in China brought back Acupuncture to Japan around 6 – 7 AD, together with Buddhism. From that distant time in history acupuncture has been firmly planted on Japanese soil and developed through the centuries.
Between the great wars in the 20th century there was a movement among acupuncturists calling to return to the teachings of the classical texts. This involved intensive reading of difficult ancient manuscripts. Many blind acupuncturists who felt excited to join the “Return to the classics” movement soon found disadvantaged and excluded as there was limited material translated into Braille at that time. (Japan has a 400-year old history of acupuncture practice by blind practitioners.) Frustrated, in Mid 20th century Kodo Fukushima and a group of young blind acupuncturists called for Meridian Therapy to be interpreted more through the senses, particularly by touch, rather than from a purely academic standpoint. By trial and error they developed a highly sophisticated and original way of feeling and working with Qi. They started a unique training method to read the body’s subtle changing energies through touch. The Toyohari practitioners of today benefit greatly from the accumulated experience of their blind predecessors, passed down hands to hands in the regular practice sessions of the Toyohari courses. Toyohari is a living tradition and treatment methods are constantly re-examined, re-evaluated and refined by regularly held group sessions at study days and workshops.
Since the Toyohari Association was established many hundreds of blind practitioners have been trained. Over the decades Toyohari became increasingly popular among sighted practitioners and there are more sighted members in the association today. Toyohari is practiced not only in Japan, but worldwide, including USA, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.