Toyohari (Japanese acupuncture style)
Moxibustion (gentle heat treatment)
Shonishin (children’s acupuncture without needles)
Chinese Herbal Medicine


This is one of the styles of acupuncture that in Japan are called Meridian Therapy, which are based on the 5 Phases system. The 5 Phases are a way of analyzing and balancing the energetic systems. Toyohari specifically is well known for its needle technique. The needles are often not put into the skin but just make contact with the Qi (energy currents at the surface). The Qi at the surface travels deep into the body by way of the connective tissue. Toyohari requires a lot of skill and precision in the needle technique, but is very gentle and painless, while being very effective. The idea is not to force or push but to gently nudge the energy into better balance so that the person’s own system can heal itself. Thus this system is very good for sensitive individuals, both in terms of the needles and for people who generally react to strong interventions. When their own system is engaged, to revitalize itself, very powerful healing can be achieved, as often one’s own balanced responses are the most efficacious of all.
In this style, the practitioner must analyze the individual patient to find the specific pattern of imbalance that is being displayed at the time. As such, each person is experienced as an individual and not merely as someone with a symptom that many people might have. So, for example, what causes one individual’s migraines is not necessarily the same as another’s and each needs to be treated differently.

Yet, there are also techniques within this model that can be added for symptomatic relief to address specific areas and the ways in which symptoms appear. There are some very effective treatments with contact needling for chronic neck issues, as well as back and pelvic problems and even for treating colds and sinus problems, among others. Many can be addressed by generally activating the person’s own resources, while at other times the specific issue can be addressed. This style of acupuncture is very useful for treating emotional issues such as anxiety and depression, insomnia, diminished self-esteem, irritability and fearfulness, addressing the underlying currents that make it difficult to move beyond these difficulties.


Moxibustion is a treatment in which an herb, mugwort or Artemisia, is burned on or near the skin with careful attention to not burn. This heat treatment has been used for over 2000 years in China and is very common in Japan. The treatment is often done on acupuncture points, but can be done over larger areas above the skin. A number of years ago the practice made a lot of news for a study published in JAMA for turning breech babies through moxa treatment on the little toe of the expectant mother. It can be used for many different health issues.


Cupping has been done in many cultures over the years. It is often done with glass cups and either heat or a suction device to create a gentle lifting of the tissue. A modern form uses silicone (flexible) cups, which create their own suction. The practice relieves tightness in the tissue and allows for better circulation.


There are various styles and techniques in Japanese acupuncture for gently treating children. Many of these include rubbing, stroking, tapping, or lightly scratching the skin. Rarely are even non-inserted needles used in young children. Children have very sensitive energy systems, as we can ready observe when a child goes from laughing to crying back to laughing in a matter of moments. So, very subtle and gentle techniques are applied quickly to encourage the system to right itself. The treatment may need to be done frequently at first but, when the child’s body balances, it can hold that longer than most adults.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

This is a very broad field in itself, ranging from health formulas more for the general constitution of the person to the relief of specific symptoms. In Chinese style herbal treatment, combinations of herbs are usually given together to work synergistically towards a specific intervention. Some of these formulas are quite old, used often and can be found in pill form. But, even these formulas are traditionally adapted to the specific patient and have to be made up individually. Skilled herbalists adjust the amounts and even the herbs to best address the individual at a specific time and then alter the formula to adjust to changes in the patient.