Techniques for treating PTSD with Japanese-style acupuncture
Acupuncturists must consider care for the body first. It is dangerous to put treatment of the emotional life first. Their body and mind are connected. The body mirrors the heart/mind.
-Takahiro Funamizo Sensei on caring for people with emotional conditions
A. Takahiro Funamizu Sensei and the Japanese earthquake of 2011
On March 3, 2011 a catastrophic magnitude-9 earthquake shook northeastern Japan, unleashing a savage tsunami. Less than an hour after the earthquake, the first of many tsunami waves hit Japan’s coastline. The tsunami waves reached run-up heights (how far the wave surges inland above sea level) of up to 128 feet (39 meters) at Miyako city and traveled inland as far as 6 miles (10 km) in Sendai. The tsunami flooded an estimated area of approximately 217 square miles (561 square kilometers) in Japan. The waves overtopped and destroyed protective tsunami seawalls at several locations. The massive surge destroyed three-story buildings where people had gathered for safety.
Takahiro Funamizu Sensei is an instructor and Clinical Practitioner at Kuretake School of Therapeutics in Tokyo, Japan. He is a long time student of Meridian Therapy and studies particularly the Tanba Style taught by the Meridian Therapy Society Chairman, Okada Akizo Sensei. Funamizu Sensei treats primarily people with depression, anxiety, and mental health associated conditions.
In the days following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, he was the first volunteer to bring acupuncture to the medical support teams. He used JMT to reduce stress levels and mitigate insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder following the tragedy. Other diseases addressed using JMT following the earthquake include low back pain, stiff neck, fatigue, anxiety, vertigo, and headache. In the four years since the earthquake, Funamizu Sensei has refined his clinical experience into a treatment kata appropriate for those with the aforementioned maladies.
B. Treating the Heart with Meridian Therapy by Takahiro Funamizu Sensei
In a workshop that he teaches world-wide called Treating the Heart with Meridian Therapy, he shares his experiences and techniques to treat patients with insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Funamizu begins most treatments with the customary sequence of assessing the abdomen and pulse to determine the root treatment for a patient.
When treating patients who have mental health issues he also takes into account the physical symptoms presented. Funamizu relies heavily upon the palpation of the tonus of the scalp and jaw muscles of those who have mental/emotional disorders. He also takes into account many observable qualities. Like all great physicians, he looks for the presence or lack of spirit or shen. Does that person have brightness to his/her face and do the eyes sparkle? Funamizu also looks at the condition of their hair. Is it frizzy, oily, uncared for? He also notes if disinterest in clothing and appearance is present, especially for women. Funamizu makes a point that these patients will not complain of emotional issues. Instead they will report musculoskeletal pains. He finally notes that if an observed change in patient clothing and appearance in brighter colors or other outward expressions, they may be more stable.
When caring for people with emotional conditions, Funamizu employs six main approaches to include in treatment methods.
C. Treatment methods and protocols for emotional conditions
During treatments, he holds the following five ideas in his mind’s eye, which give rise to the efficaciousness of his treatments:
1) Acupuncturists should consider care of the body first.
2) It is dangerous to put treatment of the emotional life first.
3) Their body and mind are connected.
4) The body mirrors the heart/mind.
5) Include the family in the conversation if possible.
The only treatment by Takahiro I had the opportunity to witness occurred at the National College of Natural Medicine during his visit to Portland, Oregon. In this treatment it appeared that initially he paid more attention to the methods seen in Table 13 before conducting the root treatment with the traditional points for the sho. His movements were quick, efficient, and very fluid.
Treatment methods of Takahiro Funamizu Sensei
- Spirit is deficient so treatment should supplement, improving circulation, and stabilizing the 7 emotions.
- Importance of shallow needling is a hallmark of JMT; 3-5 mm in depth.
- Scalp needling as barometer for stress. The tighter the scalp, the higher the stress level.
- Use of non-insertive tools and techniques: teishin, da shin, san shin, tapping.
- Salt moxa at the navel. The use of salt moxibustion for insomnia and stress disorder of the umbilicus can be implemented (salt infused with aconite and ginger can be particularly helpful).
- Check the masseter muscle for relaxation. By relaxing the jaw and surrounding musculature, or the implementation of facial acupuncture, depression may be relieved.
Some common points Takahiro implements into his treatments include: CV 12, 6, ST 7, 25, and UB 17. Extra points include shi shen cong and yin tang. He has found the following points useful in context: CV 17, GV 20, 24, and GB 15. Additionally, Takahiro uses points from Table 14 to supplement the sho deficiency for each of the four patterns.
Additional and complementary points Takahiro Funamizu Sensei adds for treating the sho deficiency
|Liver Deficiency||Liver 4, 7, 14
Urinary Bladder 18, 23
|Kidney Deficiency||Kidney 3, 7
Urinary Bladder 13, 23
|Spleen Deficiency||Spleen 4, 6
Urinary Bladder 17, 18
|Lung Deficiency||Lung 1, 9
Urinary Bladder 13, 20