Kei Kurotani
L.AC., Ph.D ;.
Dr. Kurotani was educated Oriental Medicine in Japan, and had a clinic in Tokyo before moving to Burma (Myanmar) and Thai to practice as the first and only Japanese Acupuncturist there. Due to the uneasy political situation in Burma, He moved to the USA and once again passed the testing to receive his license in Oriental Medicine.
He currently practices in San Francisco and Millbrae, and is on the clinical faculty of Traditional Japanese Medicine at the ACTCM Oriental medicine school in San Francisco.
He is glad to introduce Traditional Japanese Medicine and its part in Japanese culture to Americans who are curious about it. He holds free courses in the Oriental medicine experience at his clinic.
GREETING -An introduction to Traditional Japanese Medicine-
About 1500 years ago, during the Tang Dynasty, Chinese medicine spread to Japan, Along with the Buddhism, the political system, the I-Ching, etc. This was also the age of his Majesty Emperor Kinmei.
Chinese medicine was spread throughout Japan by Shotoku-Taishi (Prince Shotoku). It melded with existing Japanese medical concepts and developed as a Traditional Japanese Medicine. I have had the honor of introducing Traditional Japanese Medicine (TJM) through treatment and education in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.
What are the differences between what we now think of as Traditional Japanese Medicine (TJM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? I would answer that it is the difference between Sushi and Dim Sum.
Each is independent, with the strong taste of Asia, and both are very delicious. There is no way to compare them in terms of superiority or inferiority.
Well, then, how do we compare and contrast this Oriental Medicine with Western Medicine?
As an example, imagine there is an expensive work of art in the form of a lacquer-painted plate. A hard, dry piece of omochi (rice-gluten dumpling) is stuck to it. How will we be able to remove this without damaging the plate?
Western Medicine tend to focus on the problem – in this case the omochi. So a Western approach might be to remove the problem with the best tools available, perhaps a surgical knife, a saw, or a laser, but what does this approach do to a fine lacquer plate?
Traditional Japanese Medicine is more focused on the context of the problem – the patient, or in this case, the fine lacquered plate. So the solution might be to apply lukewarm water to the plate. After a little time, the rice gluten will naturally become soft, and can picked off with our fingers.
Nothing and nobody is damaged. The Expensive plate is safe, and sick person will say BANZAI!
A breech-presentation pregnant woman came to the clinic. A western approach could be to move the fetus to the normal position through squeezing and massaging. This satisfies the requirement that the fetus be normally positioned, but risks injury to the fetus if the neck is wrapped by the umbilical cord. Another, very common, Western solution would be caesarean section. But is this what we really want?
With TJM, The course of treatment varies depending on each patient. In many cases moxibustion is applied to the little toe.
Moxibustion involves placing burning stick or cones containing the plant mugwart at appropriate acupuncture points. When successfully applied, the fetus moves to the normal position by himself or herself.
What is the relationship between a fetus and the little toe? It is impossible to explain b a Western examination of anatomy and nerves. Why does the fetus move to the correct position when we heat the little toe?
To begin to understand, we must think about “Qi”, which is often translated as “vital energy.” This is also the Qi that is the root of “Qigong,” or “energy skill.” It is read as Ki in Japanese.
In our Oriental medicine, we think that everything in the world is made from Ki.
In that light, our human body is as a small cosmos also made from Ki. If the flow of Ki is strong and smooth, the body doesn’t become sick. By extension, the sickness departs when the flow of Ki improves.
TJM doctors try to have this view of these things. They read the I-Ching to research the philosophy of Yin and Yang, and read ancient medicine books or practice meditation to gain the experience necessary to have the sensitivity of feel the cosmos.
One feature of TJM that appeals to patients is painless treatment with extra-fine acupuncture needles. In Japan, painful acupuncture is not regarded as effective.