Nagano style acupuncture

By: Dr Jason Chong (Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician)

Who is Master Nagano?

Master Kiyoshi Nagano

Master Kiyoshi Nagano was a blind acupuncturist from the mid to late 20th century in Japan. His study of the classics and western medicine led to the development of his unique style. This was outside of many of the established styles of practice already popular in Japan.

He utilised a highly palpatory method to his practice. This palpation involves the application of pressure to specific areas to determine the presence or absence of discomfort for the patient. Tightness and tension in the tissue are also considered.

Through this, he created unique strategies to treat a variety of conditions.

What is Nagano Style Acupuncture?

The key characteristic of this style of acupuncture practice is the thorough and systematic palpation of the body. This is done for both diagnosis and treatment, blending the two throughout treatment.

These findings guide the practitioner to find the best underlying pattern to treat. This pattern is how the patient presents at the time in the clinic. Treating this way encourages the body to heal in the easiest manner.

These findings help the practitioner in identifying the best location, angle and depth for needling. Immediate changes of the pulse, the release of painful reflexes and changes in breath are seen. This response of the body allows confirmation in the accuracy of point location.

This allows confirmation that the body is responding positively during treatment. This is useful when the presenting symptom is not observable eg insomnia or menstrual irregularity.

It is also useful to allow careful monitoring to prevent overtreatment.

The core teaching of Master Nagano is to always attend to the Stomach Qi.

Don’t forget the Stomach Qi

Master Nagano
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This postnatal Qi arises from the energy we bring into our bodies. This may not only be through food, drink and breathing but also information, emotions and experiences.

Taking care of this involves being mindful of both the input and attending to its processing. This ensures that the body has adequate resources to effect healing.

It also means that the body does not need to draw on the deeper and more precious, finite reserves of prenatal Qi.

Who teaches Nagano style acupuncture?

The best people to learn from are Master Nagano’s direct students.

Kiiko Matsumoto Sensei

Master Nagano’s best-known student and teacher of this style in the Western world is Kiiko Matsumoto Sensei.

Kiiko Matsumoto style acupuncture is a very popular method. It is practised by many acupuncturists worldwide.

Kiiko Sensei also learnt from Masters Manaka and Kawai. She integrates these styles into her teachings along with her ever-evolving insights.

Kiiko Matsumoto Sensei

Her style is based on her clinical practice and deep contemplation of the classical literature of Oriental medicine.

There are many places to learn aspects of Kiiko style acupuncture, but the best is from her officially accredited teachers. They can be found through this page on Kiiko’s website.

Tsuyoshi Shimamura Sensei

Tsuyoshi Shimamura Sensei was a close student of Master Nagano as a live-in apprentice during his final years. His style is firmly rooted in the teaching of Master Nagano, with an element of focus on the physical structure integrating manual techniques from his background in Shiatsu.

Tsuyoshi Shimamura Sensei

His methodology is gentle and subtle, involving palpation of the pulse, Hara and other areas of the body to determine the correct treatments points and method of stimulation.

In recent years, Shimamura Sensei has begun teaching students in the west through a structured series of workshops in Australia and America.

Here is an account of studying with Shimamura Sensei.

Nagano style practitioners

There are very few who can call themselves masters of Nagano style acupuncture. This requires a lifetime of study and practice. To achieve this also requires substantial time in the clinic with a master.

However, there are many committed students of this style of practice around the world. They make the teachings of Master Nagano central to their individual practice.

At Dantian Health acupuncture clinic in Melbourne I focus primarily on this style of practice.

What else would you like to know?

Thanks for reading this far. Have I missed your question? Was something unclear? Let me know in the comments below, I read and respond to everyone!

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Dr Jason Chong (Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician)

Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician. Educator.

Jason is the owner and principal practitioner at Dantian Health, providing consultations for Classical Chinese Herbal Medicine and Japanese Acupuncture in Melbourne, Australia.

He is a qualified acupuncture physician, Classical Chinese herbal medicine clinician, shiatsu practitioner and tuina therapist, Oriental therapies educator and director at the Australian Shiatsu College.

Jason's qualifications include:

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