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Acupuncture.33160608_std.jpgI am what’s called a “sensitive body.”  If I get a cold, it lasts two weeks.  If there’s a side effect listed on a medication, I get it.  If I get a stomach bug, run for your life. 

This is why I love acupuncture, specifically Japanese-style. Acupuncture is made for sensitive bodies. It tunes in to the flow of energy (chi) through the body, something that I truly believe is real. The goal of acupuncture is to release blockages that prevent the natural flow of chi, and to bring health and balance to the body.

Chinese acupuncture (part of TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine), is the most widely practiced form.  In TCM, acupuncture is usually paired with taking herbs to restore balance to the organs and systems of the body. 

But for a sensitive body like mine, Chinese acupuncture is simply too strong.  Each treatment is meant to move a lot of chi and make a lot of progress against blockages.  The couple of times I’ve tried it, I was left totally drained and dizzy–my system didn’t want to move that fast.

Japanese acupuncture is more subtle in its expectations for chi movement in any given session.  It is similar to Chinese acupuncture in that it’s based on the TCM system of meridians and may be paired with herb treatments (speaking of, always make sure any herbs you take come from a reputable source). But Japanese acupuncturists generally use finer needles inserted more gently and superficially into the treatment points on your body. The idea is to get the body to gradually release blockages without raising its sensitive hackles in the process.

One of my favorite things my acupuncturist does in my sessions is to use empishin, “press tacks” that are super-tiny, super-short needles that look like thumbtacks with a piece of tape on their tops.  The tacks are left on for 4 days or so, and they provide gentle, constant stimulation of a given point (without producing any sensation or pricking feeings after they’re inserted). 

I imagine press tacks kind of like chi traffic cops: “Nothin’ to see here, just keep moving along. No blockage, no detour.  Green light, go, go, go.”  Perfectly gentle reminders for a sensitive body.

Please share your acu stories below – have you ever tried press tacks?  Or, if you’re interested in trying acupuncture for the first time, check out our gallery of frequently-asked-questions for newbies.

(image via: http://whitebuffalo.us/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Acupuncture.33160608_std.jpg)

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