Acupuncture is largely associated with China, rather than Japan, although there have obviously been many cultural links between the two regions, particularly in terms of medicine for several millennia. Acupuncture is essentially the insertion of small needles into the skin at specific points, in order to achieve a variety of results.
The differences between Japanese and Chinese acupuncture
In modern terms however, although Japanese style acupuncture can be considered a sub-branch of acupuncture in general, there are a few specific differences from traditional Chinese acupuncture which are worthy of note:
The commonality between Chinese and Japanese styles
Despite these basic differences, the two disciplines of acupuncture are very closely linked, with little research showing significant advantages of one over the other. Those people who wish to try acupuncture but are extremely sceptical, especially in a scientific way might find Japanese acupuncture more convincing than Chinese techniques, although the Japanese style is generally slightly more expensive so it may not be ideal for a patient who is merely experimenting with acupuncture.
Western combinatory techniques
There are currently many more western practitioners adopting acupuncture as an additional skill to compliment western medicine, and these doctors tend to combine elements of Chinese and Japanese methods more than traditional acupuncturists from those actual countries may do. If in doubt, you could try both disciplines and a combined technique, and make the comparison for yourself.
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