Toyohari Meridian Therapy: A Form of Acupuncture that Challenges our Assumptions while Opening New Vistas for Explorations of Acupuncture

Abstract

Toyohari Meridian Therapy (TMT) [東洋はり] evolved in Japan in the second half of the last century. Originally developed and practised primarily by blind acupuncturists, its theoretical basis lies in historical Chinese medical traditions [Birch, Felt 1999, Fukushima 1991]. Choice of acupuncture points is predominantly guided by Five Phase (Element) Theory. However, there is a startling difference between TMT and current Chinese traditional forms of acupuncture in terms of needling technique. Needles are not usually inserted in the ‘root treatment’ of TMTinstead, the qi is manipulated at the surface of the skin, with the tip of the needle only very lightly touching or not touching the skin in most cases. Another difference from current Chinese acupuncture is the notion, in TMT, that acupuncture points or acupoints are dynamictheir actual location whilst based on traditional notions of where acupoints are located anatomically as espoused by most modern acupuncture texts may differ slightly from the purported anatomical location. A key skill of the TMT practitioner is locating the acupoints, via the sense of touch using the lateral corner of the index finger near the fingernail. Once the ‘live’ acupoint is located, the practitioner forms a circle with their index finger and thumb, termed the ‘oshide’, at the surface of the skin, lightly touching the patient’s body. The needle shaft is then inserted between the practitioner’s thumb and forefinger so that the tip is above the acupoint, with the practitioner’s thumb and forefinger grasping the needle shaft, whilst the handle of the needle is lightly held in the other hand. The practitioner then awaits the arrival of qi and applies particular needling techniques, depending on whether the aim is to supplement or drain. Diagnosis of the primary pattern (sho) and secondary sho depends on synthesis of data from a case history, abdominal diagnosis and pulse diagnosis. Unlike in traditional Chinese medicine, tongue diagnosis is not a feature of TMT. Abdominal diagnosis involves palpation of the skin and wall of the abdomen. The five phases and their corresponding

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{OBrien2012ToyohariMT, title={Toyohari Meridian Therapy: A Form of Acupuncture that Challenges our Assumptions while Opening New Vistas for Explorations of Acupuncture}, author={Kylie O’Brien and Stephen Birch}, year={2012} }