What is Oriental Medicine?

Not everyone is familiar with the term “oriental medicine”. Basically it refers to traditional natural medicine systems emerging from the East Asian region…. mainly China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Some people use the term “East Asian medicine”.

Different styles of diagnosis and treatment have developed in the different areas but generally they are all based on the foundations of classical Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been evolving over the past 5,000 years (as known by recorded history).

In Japan the early classical Chinese scripts were translated and much of modern Japanese acupuncture and moxibustion has developed relatively recently from these foundations. In Japanese acupuncture there is generally an emphasis on very fine needles and gentle needling techniques which may be insertive or non-insertive. When inserted there is great care taken not to cause pain at the site of needling.

Attentive and gentle Japanese techniques…

In Japan many acupuncturists must first train as shiatsu (meridian massage) practitioners.  Palpation, or touch, is a strong aspect of Japanese acupuncture diagnosis and treatment. The body gives us a great deal of feedback through palpating reflex areas… they may be tender, numb, soft, tight, dry, clammy, cool, warm, sunken, swollen, raised, different colours, pale, ticklish, etc.    All of these qualities aid in forming a working diagnosis and reflex areas may be palpated to test if pressing a point relieves the reflex signs and symptoms or if it is not the most effective point. This pragmatic system of testing and re-testing is particular to the Master Nagano, Kiiko and Shimamura styles of acupuncture used at Gateways Oriental Medicine. Please see the Services section above to read more about these practitioners plus the techniques and tools used.

The term oriental medicine encompasses acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha (ceramic spoon or stone rubbing massage), Traditional Chinese Medicine dietary therapy and herbal therapy, manual stretching and massage therapies, heat application and herbal liniment application. Techniques are chosen according to indications from diagnosis. Each consultation is completely different.


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