Meridian therapy is a system of hands on healing based on simple principals and techniques. The person is analysed as a whole and the diagnosis is not of a pre-established condition but rather the treatment which will return the person to balance. This idea is unique to several systems of healing in that the therapy enables the body of the person to resist disease and enable recovery through the support of the persons own constitution.
The meridian system of meridian therapy is the network of ki and blood that circulates, nourishes and enables the body to combat disease and sustain life. Disturbance in this network causes disease and treatment is the method of returning the network to balance. Pulse diagnosis, palpation and observation are used and the signs and symptoms are organised according to a framework such that the treatment will improve upon the initial assessment.
This is the root treatment or fundamental healing and is the treatment together the person back to balance after which branch or targeted healing takes place, which is the local treatment addressing the specific complaint.
Historically acupuncture treatment included nine needles modern acupuncture almost exclusively uses the filliform needle in various gauges lengths and materials. There are a small number of schools and associations which make use of the other types of needles for acupuncture practice, such as The Toyohari association and those that specialize in the treatment of children.
Modern acupuncture especially the Toyohari association make use of new types of needles the most notable being the intra-dermal needle a tiny needle which is taped in place and left for a number of days.
In the Meridian Therapy and Toyohari associations silver and stainless needles are used in the initial root treatment gauge, depth of insertion and length of retention time are determined by the condition of the patient, after which targeted healing takes place.
Targeted healing uses more varied techniques and tools. Often after the completion of the root treatment odd meridian treatment is used; odd meridians have no points of their own and have a strong relationship to the structure of the body, in that each odd meridian pathway is associated with two regular meridians and for example the lateral aspects of the body, posterior aspects and son on. Various areas are used as diagnostic areas and when tender along with other diagnostic measured these deeper meridians have uses which can both be for targeted healing and rounding off the root treatment. The needles for this treatment are almost always Zinc and Copper press spheres a very mild stimulation taking advantage of the body’s own electrical bias.
The simplest acupuncture technique is the retention of needles. This technique forms the basis of most acupuncture around the world today. In the Meridian Therapy and Toyohari associations retained needling techniques are also used. Needles are inserted most often with a guide tube using the gauge, length, angle, depth and once gently tapped through the skin causing as little pain as possible the needle can be manipulated depending on the condition of the patient. Most often the needle is gently inserted to the correct depth of the reaction the practitioner wants to influence and is retained for ten seconds to twenty minutes depending on the condition of the patient. It is the experience of the Toyohari association that the stronger the stimulation the more the nervous system becomes involved and the less useful the said stimulation is at having a systemic affect. In fact often retaining many needles for long periods causes what are considered with in the association to be negative effects, such as dizziness and the worsening of symptoms. That is not to say that needle retention isn't useful; needle retention has useful local and systemic effects especially when used within the Toyohari and Meridian therapy methods of treatment, as the practitioner is able to monitor and adjust as they go balancing the affect against the condition of the patient.
Cupping is the use of a partial vacum with in a small vessel using a suction pump which draws the skin up, stimulating blood flow, easing tense muscles and often used in the beginning stages of flu and head cold. Cupping therapy has as long a history as acupuncture and is practiced as a specialty in japan, the middle east and asia.
Moxabustion is the use of the prepared herb Artemisia Vulgaris (mugwort) into dried wool like material which is designed to be burned. Moxa in comparison to needling is more simple and straight forward. Heat can relax muscles and some of the specialized techniques have been shown to have a good effect on the immune system. With needling constant attention needs to be paid the condition of the meridians and the affects need to be constantly monitored to determine correct technique is being applied. Moxabustion is less about the systemic condition of the patient and more about the local affect, “moxa is for tender points”; this statement completely simplifies the use of moxabustion to one very simple and useful rule. Moxabustion can be used as a treatment in its own right and has a long history as a home remedy and health booster.
Methods of application are varied, from tiny hand rolled pieces to moxa sticks held above the skin, moxa boxes which heat large area's and even lamps with special filaments to imitate moxabustion.
The first consideration with moxabustion is the quality of the product determines its use. High quality gold or pure moxa burns less hot, to coarse impure moxa. The pure moxa is used directly on the skin once rolled into tiny pieces, which are applied to palpably reactive points. Cone moxa is usually rolled from semi-pure or coarse moxa and as the name implies into a cone shape with the base being dependent on the practitioner about one centimetre in diameter. Cone moxa can have a variety of affects and uses including general supplementation of ki, moving ki due to obstruction, mild supplementation effects as a complement to micro bleeding and fixing wrong or improper treatment. Moxa on the needle is exactly that using semi-pure moxa. Needles are inserted into indurations, tight muscles or pressure pain points and normally no more than two balls of moxa approximately one and a half centimetres in diameter are burnt on the handle of the needle imparting pleasant heat stimulation to a large area as well as the specific indurations or tight muscle the needle is inserted into. Ibuki moxa is a small manufactured moxa product which is burnt suspended over the skin on a hexagon of cardboard with a sticky base. These are useful when the practitioner wants to impart a consistent mild to strong heat sensation. Stick moxa is moxa rolled into a cigar shape and used occasionally to treat large areas and more common to other styles of acupuncture.