If you have a chronic ailment, one alternative to Western style medicine is acupuncture. In this post I’ll tell you about my most recent experience, make some suggestions about what to look for, and what we are entitled to under the Japanese health scheme.
Last year a friend invited me to a yoga class that was being held near the university. I had been interested in yoga for several years, but I had decided to avoid it, because its theoretical basis is from the Indian Peninsula. Since those places are so far away and the environments are so different, I didn’t think it would be appropriate for someone living in Japan.
The teacher, Dr. Maruyama, practices a Japanized form of yoga where the stretching exercises are basically to help build your body for long meditation sessions. That is the practice, and I enjoyed it enough to continue practice myself at home.
Dr. Maruyama is an acupuncturist with a practice not too far from the university. The friend that invited me to the yoga class had received treatment for some problems and then attended the yoga class.
I had been considering getting treatment for, among other things, a nagging tickle in my throat that lasts all year and worsens into asthma in the spring and fall. I can control most of it through diet, but that tickle just won’t go away.
I decided to visit Dr. Maruyama for diagnosis and treatment. He uses a diagnosis technique called the Bi-Digital O-Ring Test. You can see a video about it here.
He determined that I have some imbalances in my immune system that he could treat with acupuncture and some massage. He used needles in the small of my back, and warmed them using moxibustion.
This was my first treatment of three that he recommended. Since I was not referred to him by a physician practicing Western medicine, the treatment was not covered by the national insurance scheme. It cost ¥5,120 for the first visit, and will cost ¥1,120 for further treatments.
Though I am in good physical condition, I was very tired afterward, like I had been exercising pretty hard. The next day I was slow, but otherwise unchanged, though my niggling cough was less noticeable than before. That may be as a result of a variety of environmental changes, though.
If you live in Japan and would like to get acupuncture treatment for something, you can have it covered by the national medical insurance program if you have a reference from a physician practicing Western medicine and if you suffer from the following ailments.
4)Residual pain in the neck from sprain
5)Thoracic Output Syndrome
Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for it yourself.
There is a variety of physicians in Japan, some of whom practice Western style medicine as well as Chinese medicine. If you are looking to try acupuncture, I suggest finding a physician you trust. A good way to find one is by word of mouth from people who have spent some time in your neighborhood.