Teishin-Do: The Way of Teishin

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The rapid growth of interest in the teishin and enshin (Chinese: tizhen and yuanzhen) in the West and in Japan is a curiosity in the modern practice of traditional East Asian medicine (TEAM). Several acupuncture styles in Japan have all but abandoned the use of normal acupuncture needles in favour of non-invasive treatment with the teishin. This tool is mentioned in the Lingshu (Divine Pivot) in its discussion of the ‘nine classical needles’. In appearance it can look much like a metal toothpick, though modern teishins can vary considerably in length and other features. From the Lingshu we have an approximate idea of the original dimensions of these Han Dynasty tools, and the intended effect of treatment with them, but we have no idea what the techniques looked like 2000 years ago. This article considers historical references to these tools and discusses how acupuncturists in Japan and in the West have been developing how best to understand and use this unassuming tool.

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Author Bob Quinn & Sze Kai Paau
JCM Issue JCM133
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