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  • Kelly Hora, MAc MS Bluestem Acupuncture, LLC

Home from Japan: Miyawaki Sensei's Clinic

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Miyawaki-sensei and staff in Osaka, Japan

I just returned from a week of travel with my family to Japan. The very first day of my trip began with a visit to Miyawaki-Sensei's clinic in Osaka, Japan. Sensei has been in practice in this space for 30 years and is a revered teacher of the Toyohari and Meridian Acupuncture Traditions. These traditions were born in Japan, an evolution of acupuncture as practiced in China. Miyawaki-Sensei is one of a long lineage of blind acupuncturists; these traditions incorporate palpation for diagnosis and use non-penetrating tools and needles to create a therapeutic response. From left: Osaka-based acupuncturist and translator, Toru, Miyawaki-Sensei, his wife and fellow acupuncturist.

Osaka Clinic

As most physical spaces in Japan, the clinic is small and efficiently laid out. Miyawaki-Sensei is supported by three other acupuncturists who weave between 4 treatment tables separated by curtains. Upbeat jazz lightly plays in the background and the movement and collaboration among the acupuncturists is just as smooth. We began the day reviewing cases and preparing for patients. Children and adults are seen for a variety of conditions such as back pain, stiff shoulders, multiple sclerosis, eye disorders, hernia, post-stroke recovery and indigestion.

Miyawaki-Sensei practices hara (abdominal) palpation, similar to what you experience in my practice. He gently presses on reflex areas to aid in diagnosis, to determine which points to stimulate, and to check the results of the treatment. Acupuncture, moxibustion, gua sha, and non-needle contact treatments are applied.

In Japan, acupuncturists do not prescribe herbal medicine, however he gave nutritional and lifestyle counsel to help support patients' in their healing and self care. He also spoke to several of his patients about the role of emotions in health; a important reminder of the mind/body connection.

His concentration and use of hands, developed over three decades, was inspiring to watch. I learned several new techniques for applying moxibustion, the application of moxa wool and heat for therapeutic results. In addition to lighting the moxa, they also used a battery powered instrument to apply warmth. I am hoping to obtain one of these as it would allow me to apply moxibustion in the hospital where an open flame is prohibited!

I am excited to share what I have learned with you, feeling inspired by observing a master at work!

Happy New Year! Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu!!!

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