The form of acupuncture you will encounter in a session with Kaz is quite unlike most acupuncture. Most acupuncturists spend 5-15 minutes with each patient, then insert some needles and leave the room. Kaz spends an entire hour with you, constantly assessing the state of your muscles, channels, and organs during the treatment and using a needle one point at a time, as necessary. The entire process is enjoyable and relaxing. Whereas most acupuncturists insert their needles through the skin and into the muscles, Kaz practices a Japanese style of non-insertion acupuncture. His needle just barely touches your skin, the needle-tip held between his thumb and index finger. After a few moments, you may feel something start to happen. Sensations felt by patients vary from nothing at all, to feeling certain body parts or the whole body relax, to tingly or vibrating feelings, to a dull ache in the flesh underneath the needle, to all sorts of sensations all over the body! Although it's more fun for patient and practitioner alike if the patient feels interesting things happening, to get a therapeutic effect it doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little the patient feels. The important thing is that the practitioner perceives what is happening, through the sensations he feels in the fingertips holding the needle, and through his assessment of the patient’s pulse and musculature throughout the treatment.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Most scientific thinking about acupuncture tends to fixate on one or more physiological mechanisms, like endorphin release, the gate theory of pain, tissue adenosine levels, and so forth. Kaz’s experience of non-insertion acupuncture, and his patients’ experience of streaming electrical sensations in the body during treatments, has convinced him that above all, acupuncture works by engaging the body’s own electrical signaling network. It is a well-known fact that all parts of the body, from the brain to the heart to each and every cell, generate electrical pulses and currents. It is Kaz's experience that, in a healthy body, these fluxes function seamlessly as part of an overall ecology of tissues, fluids, and informational signals. When there is injury or illness there is a disruption of these healthy currents, and the bodily ecology suffers. The genius of acupuncture is that many hundreds of years ago, before the modern understanding of electricity, the ancient Chinese doctors discovered places on the skin where the application of metal needles could influence the currents inside the body to affect health. The latest research on the biophysics basis of acupuncture strongly suggests that the acupuncture channels, also known as meridians, are not a separate system like the blood vessels or lymph, but are functional groupings of connective tissue (fascia), which conducts electricity and connects all parts of the body down to the level of the cytoskeleton in each and every cell. Regardless of whatever else acupuncture may or may not be, Kaz says, “It’s hard to argue with what is subjectively happening during a treatment: a needle touches your skin, you feel something happening inside your body, and meanwhile my fingertips feel the same event happening at the same time. It usually starts slow, builds in intensity, then fades. I remove the needle when it’s done. Whatever ‘it’ may be, there’s something deeply healing about sharing the experience, especially when it results in your feeling better.”