This speech was given at the Canadian Embassy last May 15, 2003 in Tokyo, Japan
By Dr. Junji Ono, O.M.D.; L.Ac.
Thank you Mr. Yoshida (former President of Taishou pharmaceutical company), for your kind introduction.
It is my pleasure to speak to all of you today about Acupuncture treatments. At first I will address the basics of how it works, and then I'll talk about the origin of Acupuncture treatment. After that I have a special surprise for all of you, before I take your final questions. Unfortunately, my 30- minute presentation may be more painful to you than my Acupuncture - that was my feeble attempt at humor. So, I ask your indulgence for the time being. Some of you may have experienced Acupuncture before. And to some of you, this may be new. How many of you have experienced Acupuncture before? Raise your hands, keep them up! Now, how many of you have had regular Acupuncture treatments? Ok you can all put your hands down. Thank you. I know some of you may be asking yourself, "Why would anyone need regular Acupuncture treatments?" Well, the answer is: regular Acupuncture treatments are for people who cannot derive the energy they need to recharge themselves. Perhaps, their lives are filled with constant stress, or they cannot seem to fully recover from illness using conventional western techniques.
Acupuncture is the least taxing way to restore proper function to the body. For example, chemotherapy or certain medication can be extremely draining and/or toxic to one's body. Let me explain the basics of how acupuncture works. Our human body has natural healing power as you know, and our brain has the capability to control this natural healing power. When we experience serious trauma to a certain part of our body, our brain focuses all of our healing power to that area. Similarly, if you get a paper cut, the brain understands it has received a small injury, and will send appropriate healing power to that area too. So, Acupuncture treatment stimulates our brain's natural reaction to the trouble area, in order to heal itself without chemical intervention.
In the case of Mr. Jones, our patient for this presentation, who comes in with lower back pain, knowing he is coming for Acupuncture treatment. After his examination, the acupuncturist begins the treatment and Mr. Jones' brain understands it is receiving another lower back injury from the needle. Then his brain sends more and more of its body's healing power to that area. So, Mr. Jones' brain gets a signal of sorts of a new injury caused by the needle. In fact, this second injury causes a greater reaction from the brain.
Many people have the notion that Acupuncture treatments are painful. This is a fallacy. Merely the image alone causes many strong men to cringe .The spectrum of discomfort has been compared to the slightness of a mosquito bite on the lower end of the scale, and ranging to the nominal discomfort from an IV needle. There is a correlation between the levels of pain depending on the thickness of the needle. If there is no pain at all, then there is likely no stimulation of brain activity for release of healing powers. The individual's own level of tolerance to pain should be evaluated when choosing the needle's thickness. So, if Mr. Jones says, "this is like a mosquito bite, I can handle more than that", no problem, the Acupuncture treatment will be more effective.
Acupuncture treatment does not only use local points. We use remote control points which are far away from the targeted area, and also we use points which recover your physical strength and improve diminished organ function. For example, I mentioned remote control-type treatment, we know some doctors have done such experiments, they call it a barium X-ray, for abdomen examination. They give barium to their patients who have abdominal disorders, so that they can determine the proper treatment. According to their research, when they use the 3 mile leg points with bigger needles, within about 2 or 3 seconds the acupuncture treatment will cause the patient to feel his stomach functioning. Of course his stomach function was recovered. So, this method is obviously faster than conventional western treatment. We now understand that if we use Acupuncture treatment properly with proper stimulation then the organs can recover and function normally. Proper stimulation from the needle can restore proper function to the organs. As I said before, the size of the needle directly affects the effectiveness of the treatments.
Secondly, let's talk about the origin of Acupuncture treatment. Since we started walking on two legs we have experienced thousands of mistakes in living circumstances, and received much knowledge from nature. Many accidental cases gave us hints of how to cure illness, too. For example, Mr. Jones often stopped by his doctor's office because of chronic gastritis. But one day, he went to the battle field and injured his leg. It took a long time to cure the wound, but after the injury was gone, he didn't complain anymore about his chronic gastritis. The explanation is simple; the place he got injured was the 3 mile leg point which worked to cure his stomach disease, coincidentally, like a remote control-type point.
There is another example; before we invented iron, life was like the Flintstones cartoon. Maybe one of Mr. Jones' ancestors had always had pain in his stomach. One day his pain became serious, and he asked his family member to use their arrowhead to push his pain area, because he knew when he had pain, often he pushed that area with his fingernails, and the level of pain diminished every time. So, he imagined under this serious state of pain, maybe stronger stimulation with an arrowhead could stop this pain better than a fingernail. And so, he proved a basic principle of Acupuncture. After thousands of years, Mr. Jones' descendant showed up again, yes, this time he is not in good shape. In a tent, with smoke and fire, he lay down because he suffers from a chronic stomach ulcer. He asks his family member to use a nail (like a carpenter's nail maybe) on his pain area. There were no needles then, in that time of the Iron Age. It's not like his ancestor's primitive use of an arrowhead. Now, he thinks like a surgeon about sticking the nail into the gastric ulcer area and trying to heal it.
I know, through my experience, patients can withstand considerably strong pain, like in my example, with the nail in the stomach, while they have stronger and continuous pain elsewhere. So, I respect his family member's courage, which without any knowledge poked that nail into his pointed area so deeply. And soon after that, Mr. Jones' descendant got better. Don't focus on the issue of disinfection or sterilization at this time; we will skip this matter for now.
These many experiences we shared with each other and our accumulated knowledge become nuggets of wisdom. Then one day, the Emperor of China commanded his doctors group to research, analyze, and finally elaborate and finish Acupuncture study. But, unfortunately, in the last 100 years we have taken tons of benefits from western medication, and we totally overlooked the fact that effective Acupuncture treatment existed already.
Fortunately, we are living in the 21st century, so we can use such inherited methods together with western medication. As a result, we can have a more positive approach to curing many diseases. When visiting a doctor, some people trust western medicine and hospitals, others prefer alternative healing methods like Acupuncture. Some of the illnesses are easily cured by Acupuncture treatment or herbal medicine or both. Of course some are cured quickly by western medication which is an option you already know.
For those still uncomfortable with my arguments, I want to mention that in the19th century many people died by infectious diseases, epidemic, and plague. They died because they couldn't receive even simple surgery, that's true. Let me be clear now, Acupuncture does not work on those infectious diseases directly. But the restoration of physical strength is necessary to fight illness. At that time we didn't have any vaccines, and sometimes we got better, and sometimes we didn't and many people died. People at that time, when needing medicine, also got Acupuncture treatment. Do you know why? When the body's healing power was increased, the medicine worked better. Acupuncture is the only way to boost organs' function immediately with no side effects.
Don't fall asleep yet, I'm getting ready to tell you about my future plans. I'm starting general education seminars for practitioners in order to help them increase their skill and give them effective patient treatment methods for quicker patient recovery. In 1974, I stared my own practice and I've given approximately 230,000 treatments without dependent on prescription medication. Over time, I've developed my own method, and I hope that its practice expands globally through my seminars.
So now before I give you your Pop Quiz on Basic Acupuncture 101, let me see if any of you have questions. I'm sure I won't be able to answer all of them. But go ahead. I'll try anyway! So if you've been dying to say something for the last 30 minutes, now is your chance. Go for it!
Dr. Junji Ono, O.M.D.; L.Ac.