Saturday, March 22, 2014

Qi and the body (1)

The base of the view of the body in the Oriental medicine, as well as Oriental thoughts in general, is summed up with a word, qi. However, the concepts of the word, qi varies even among Oriental people, so it is difficult to define what it is. It is hard to grasp the idea of qi even for Oriental people, but if people look at the history about qi in China, it leads to one view.

It is difficult to describe the whole history of qi here, but those who try to grasp qi philosophically and understand the universe in terms of qi are Zhang Zai(張横渠) and Zhu Xi (朱子) of Neo-Confucianism.

According to Zhu Xi's Li-Qi theory (理気説), the existence of the matter is formulated by the cohesion of qi(気) and "how it is" is shaped by li (理). Li would be the concept corresponding to DNA in the term of the modern science, however there is no modern concept comparable to the accumulation of qi.

What is notable here is that we can comprehend the phenomena relevant to the cohesion of qi from the clinical experience of acupuncture and moxibustion therapy, and it is significant to reevaluate the body and the universe in the view of qi.

When looking at the body from this kind of view, it is natural to see how the body is according to the degree of accumulation of qi. Rather, it is better to see diseases as unbalance or deviation of the state of qi cohesion, because it gives a different view of diseases from the western point of view and shows more distinctive characteristic of Oriental medicine.

The base of the disease concept of Oriental medicine, especially acupuncture medicine is deficiency and excess concept (*1) .

The definition of this concept in the textbook is that deficiency refers to deficiency of the healthy qi and excess refers to excessiveness of the pathogenic qi; deficiency is the weakened condition of the body function and excess is the state that the strong constitution reacting strongly against the pathogens, in the modern words.

However, these interpretations are merely giving each word a meaning conceptually, and it is hard to see the substantiality in the Oriental medicine, rather it is more likely to imagine the patient in the schema of the western medicine.

*1 translator's note: this deficiency and excess concept refers to the relative yin and yang. This article was written in 1987 (Shoji Kobayashi and Sango Kobayashi "Toyo Igaku Koza vol.10 "Keiraku Shakuju Chiryo hen", p254-5).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shakuju Therapy Seminar in Hawaii, 2014

We are happy to announce that Shakuju Therapy Seminar is going to be held in Kona, Hawaii, in September, 2014! It is a big opportunity to learn Shakuju Therapy from Kobayashi sensei and all other practitioners!

Shakuju Therapy Seminar 2014 in Hawaii

Dates: September 26th~28th, 2014
Time: 9:00am~5:00pm
Early Bird Rate: $475 (Before August 26th)
Regular Tuition: $500

Please come and join our seminar of Shakuju Therapy in a beautiful setting. All practitioners from beginners and the experienced are welcome! 

For more details, please visit HERE!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

“Acute Low Back Pain is the Enormous Fatigue”

“Acute Low Back Pain is the Enormous Fatigue”
Shoji Kobayashi

There are many patients who come to the clinic due to acute low back pain. For example, a woman who came to the clinic recently, visited her daughter in San Francisco. On the day of her arrival in SF, as soon as she bent her body downward to take the luggage, the acute pain ran through her left low back and she could not move. She had to rest for a while, then, came back to Japan.

In the view of Western medicine, 70% of acute low back pain’s causes are unknown. It is rare that you can find the disorder of the bone of low back by X-ray. Acute low back pain is also called as “intervertebral sprain”.  When bending the body, the tendons that stabilize the vertebrae are lengthened, and the pain occurs. So, usually speaking, it is very rare to have the disorder of bones.

It is very interesting that the most patients complaining the acute low back pain have no pressure pain objectively (pressed by others) on the area where they feel the pain. Sometimes, there is a muscle tension, but there is no anatomical problem there.

However, why do they feel such a pain due to the slight movement? It is a mystery.

It is similar to the mechanism of chemical sensitivity. For example, the sick house syndrome is the physical constitution reacting sensitively to the volatile chemicals in the paint of the wall and the glue of the wall paper of the new building.

In addition to the allergic body tendency, easy to react to such chemicals, one has been absorbing the volatile chemicals little by little for a long time. As a result, the new stimulation of the volatile chemical to the maximum permissible amount, the symptom appears suddenly. Imagine a glass filled with water as much as having surface tension. When adding a drop of water to the glass, the water spills out. Chemical sensitive is similar to this.

Let us apply this mechanism to the acute low back pain. As one is very tired, the body condition is very unstable, easy to lose the balance of muscle tissues of the low back with a little stimulation. When trying to carry the luggage or sneezing, pressure is applied to the low back, and the acute low back pain occurs.
Here, it is said that the most cases of acute low back pain are healed after taking the good rest. It is true that when one takes a rest, one can recover from the fatigue and pain disappears, but it indicates that the fatigue is the main cause of the acute low back pain.

It can be said that the 70% of acute low back pain which causes are unknown stem from the accumulated fatigue for a long time, as well as the most diseases, that the tiredness of the body lie underneath.

30 % of acute low back pain with obvious causes is due to things, such as the bone disorder. However, for example, even if the intervertebral disk hernia is found, when you think seriously, why one has the disk hernia? The cause of it would be the true cause. So, the disk hernia is just a trigger of the acute low back pain.

By the way, the woman mentioned above had high fever, close to 38 ℃ (100.4 Fahrenheit) after the treatment. Then, the left low back pain disappears, but the pain moved to the left back behind the heart, and next week, her left knee started to be painful.

This indicates that after the treatment, the tension all over the body started to be loosened. This lady understands the treatment policy of acupuncture very well, so she understood that “the pain moved” without panic.

However, in fact, this is not that the pain moved, but the distinguishing pain was resolved and the next stage pain appeared. The fatigue of the body was layered, and the body started to heal from the surface layer. After the next treatment, all pain of the whole body disappeared.

Here, how to prevent acute low back pain? Answering this question simply, “not to accumulate fatigue”, that’s it.

The top cause of accumulated fatigue is lack of sleep. Nothing can be substituted for sleep. In addition, when you are extremely tired, refrain from taking a bath, because it would make your body very cold and led to the fatigue.

Acute low back is troublesome because it can easily recur, so the prevention is extremely important.

*This is a translation of the article in the monthly magazine, "Will", February 2014.  

Happy Lunar New Year!

May the Wooden Horse year 2014 bring you lots of joys and insights of acupuncture, moxibustion and your life!!!

Tisha Mallon, who has been practicing Shakuju Therapy for a long time and teaching Shakuju Therapy at AIMC, Berkeley came to Japan and is now studying Shakuju Therapy more in Taishido Acupuncture Clinic.

Kobayashi sensei, Tisha and Kato sensei (from left)
Talking about acupuncture

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Stage

Taishido Acupuncture Clinic has just moved from Daizawa, Setagaya to Komae! Saturday, 12th was the final day of Daizawa Taishido, and today (14th) and yesterday (13th) were moving days. And at the same time, Shakuju Association Office moved to Momo Acupuncture Clinic at Sumiyoshi, Koto-ku. 

Kobayashi sensei has been working at Daizawa Taishido Acupncture Clinic for 30 years and before that, he worked at Taishido near Daizawa for 11 years.

The new Komae Taishido Acupuncture Clinic is opening from 21st, Monday. The new stage of Shakuju Therapy has just started!!!

Daizawa Taishido Acupuncture Clinic
Moving Moving!

Moving out!

New Taishido Acupuncture Clinic @ Komae

Saturday, July 20, 2013


The article about "Shakuju Therapy 10th Anniversary" is on the issue of NESA's magazine, "CURRENTS"(p.8-9, June 2013, the article was written by Abigail Michaud and Diane Iuliano).

This year is the landmark of 10th anniversary of teaching Shakuju Therapy in USA. As Diane sensei mentioned in "CURRENTS", Shakuju therapy has been evolving and more streamlined for these 10 years. We are so happy to have this milestone seminar in NESA! Thank you very much!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mook (5): Principles of Evaluation of Disease Symptoms

Let us talk about principles of evaluation of disease symptoms.

  • Any kind of disease symptoms stems from the deficiency of Jing qi.
  • The degree of deficiency of Jing qi is evaluated according to how much changes can be seen in reference points.
Everybody has Jing qi, and whether Jing qi is deficient or not is evaluated from the disease symptoms. If there is any symptoms or diseases, there should be the deficiency of Jing qi underneath.

How severe or degree of the deficiency of Jing qi can be evaluated from the condition of reference points, but how changable the reference points are after treatment is also the big point. You can reckon that as more unchangeable reference points are more severe the deficiency of Jing qi is. So, you can judge the condition of a patient from this.   

However, this is a kind of delicate thing, because changes of reference points are depending on the ability of the practitioner, aren't they? Sometimes, whoever performs the treatment, they do not work, but in other cases, while one practitioner performs a treatment, it works well, but the other person does same, but it doesn't work out, these things could happen. There are various stages. The degree of deficiency of Jing qi is in the relative relationship with a practitioner. So, when a patient who comes to you does not make an improvement, you might judge that his/her deficiency of Jing qi is severe, but when you introduce him/her to some other practitioner, for the introduced practitioner, the same patient could be easier to make a change. In this case, for the introduced practitioner, the deficiency of Jing qi of the patient is not so severe.

Treatment is based on only the relationship between a patient and a therapist, so the treatment is depending on the therapist's evaluation ability and skill. This is not the sphere that so called objectivity is coming in. This is the characteristic (of acupuncture), but some people say this would be in trouble, so they talk about EBM, the concepts of the modern medicine, Western medicine are related with this. Some people in the Oriental medicine might compromise in the superficial sense. This is very difficult issue.

*This is translated from "Mook Shakuju Therapy" vol.1 (2013). This is the summary of Kobayashi sensei's lecture held in Chiba on February, 2012.