Anfang des Jahres hat ein Patient von mir einen Artikel über mich geschrieben und und schließlich vor Kurzem einen Redakteur bei der Japan Times, der größten Englischen Zeitung in Japan überreden können, diesen auch zu veröffentlichen.
Der Artikel selbst ist (leider) auf English, aber da ich ja nur äußerst selten irgendwo öffentlich autrete, möchte ich die Gelegenheit nutzen, hier ein bischen damit anzugeben.

Viel zum "Angeben" gibt es ja nicht: ich bin nur ein ungebildeter, drittklassiger Handwerker. Trotzdem finden manche Leute solche Geschichten interessant ...



Clinic without a menu

I suppose, it is a trend of the time. Almost all clinics have some sort of a menu: depending on the chosen "course" treatment duration may be set in intervals as short as 5 to 10 minute and the associated treatment fees can be graded in as small increments as 10 cents.
Addition of certain "optional treatment" forms or an extension of the treatment duration results in "surcharges".
THAT is most likely the "normal" way to run a business.
However, I cannot bring myself to accept this business model.
People visiting any clinic are PERSONS / SUFFERING / from one or more DISEASE/S = patients.
And people are not a set of parts like a machine. When a person complains of left knee pain and therefore has treated his/her left knee (only), that makes a "repair job" out of a treatment. If the person in question has problems NOT related the musculoskeletal system, s/he will need to visit still another repair shop. Each repair shop deals with its specialty/type of parts, but there is a real danger of losing sight of the "person".

Oriental medicine essentially treats "PEOPLE".
All people involved in the "healing arts" should care for those PERSONS SUFFERING from one or more DISEASE/S. That is not only so in oriental medicine, but Hippocrates, who is sometimes called the father of modern medicine, explicitly said the same thing. As a traditional medical craftsman I do believe in this concept and accordingly try to run a clinic without any menus. 
If possible at all, I use ALL treatment modalities at my disposal I consider necessary to provide the patient relief from his/her disease and do take as much time for my treatments as I deem necessary. And .. over the past 30 years I have NEVER taken any form of extra or surcharge.
I am definitely not going to change this basic treatment concept.



Foreign "studies"

I edited the old portions and added some new elements on a certain web page on my website.
This is intended for foreigner interested in observing Japanese acupuncture and moxibustion in Japan.
I would be glad, if this provides at least a minimal piece of information.
Foreigners often tell me, that it IS VERY DIFFICULT to obtain information about acupuncture in Japan.
If there are phrases or ideas you would like to know / add to the list at the bottom of the page ..
please let me know.



Download links

A while ago, I believe, I mentioned here that I wrote apart from one printed book three other ebooks.
Since they do not sell AT ALL (unfortunately), I decided to put links to the files on my website, so they can be downloaded for free (I would appreciate, though, if maybe 1 or copies were bought ...):

When I tried to access the files from somebody elses computer, I noticed that the links were broken.
Hopefully I have fixed those now. The "Google Drive" link allows to view the files without downloading.
Thank you for your interest.


"International Standard of TCM"

I want to express grave concerns pertaining the so-called "standardization", because it makes me very angry = emotional.

* "Standardization":
according to the information available to me, this apparently includes the so-called "knowledge base", a standard textbook in preparation, point locations have already been standardized, needling techniques (see WHO clean needling technique => I would NEVER volunteer to get a treatment performed based on that standard!), there is a "standardized nomenclature" and China is pushing to obtain ISO for standards for needles. Should these be approved, I could not publish anything during academic events/conferences, because I do not use standard locations, standard techniques and standard needles (neither do I use standard concepts nor are my patients "STANDARD PEOPLE"). Everything I might find/achieve will be labelled non-standard (more likely "substandard") and be treated accordingly. I do not know yet if there will be any penal regulations, but being kept out of the community, because of being "not standard", seems to me like a punishment already.

* Process of achieving standardization:
Well, the Chinese have a number of little tricks. Officially announcing a number of participants twice as high as the actual figure confirmed by attendees information from the staff at the reception. Calling for conferences, but give a false date! That prevents key persons to attend the conference in question. Or, they call for conferences (for example for university representatives), but DO NOT send official invitations. Thus, if the relevant representatives are to attend, they would have to take a vacation and pay everything privately (which would not be the case, if there were official invitations). Naturally, this too keeps people away from the decision making process.
Important conferences are held/hosted by China, but until very recently there have been no protocols, recordings, etc. of the relevant proceedings. This prevents people to check what has been discussed. And since the Chinese attitude toward free information does not need to be discussed here, believing statements by the Chinese appears to be a very risky business.
By the way, the WFAS website "seems" to offer information in a number of languages, but most of those pages are either empty, or, like the page about "acupuncture standardization" on http://www.wfas.org.cn/en/ are just loopholes. Clicking on the link brings you back to http://www.wfas.org.cn/, which is in Chinese. That too keeps all those out, who do not read Chinese.
Well done!

To me this looks like the Chinese are not mature enough yet to be a "partner" in any international community, where people are supposed to have equal rights.
These are just a few examples to show how the "process of standardization", which should be attended by many people from various countries/regions are guided by false information and unfair practices implemented by the Chinese. Apparently, people from other countries do not speak up (maybe even do not notice?).
One exception: at the TCM Kongress in Germany 2011 one key executive mentioned, that "Europe will NOT let the Chinese get away with their one-sided decision making" and "although acupuncture etc. may have evolved in China, its future lies in the West". I particularly like that last remark.

For people from let's say Britain, Germany etc. that may be acceptable, because they adopted oriental medicine only recently (during the last few decades). If I may take the Japanese side (I spend already the larger portion of my entire life in this country), even though I am not a Japanese, I would like to point to the fact, that although oriental medicine has originally been brought to Japan from China, it has been in use in this country for 1500 (!!) years. Nothing in no culture or time period is used for this long without being shaped by the culture in which it has been implemented. Although the Japanese seem to be struggling to some observers with defining their own "uniquely Japanese" style, a lot of intellectual property has been developed here in Japan, or also in Korea, that is simply neglected in the "Chinese standards", which would, however, once adopted exert pressure on the Japanese practice.
Regarding the authenticity of "TCM", I would like to point to numerous articles published in the "Journal of Chinese Medicine" by people who are a lot smarter than I am. Like for example the article I am reading now "All Disease Comes From the Heart" (p. 26 ff) No. 90, June 2009. These and many other articles show, that TCM is much more a state-controlled, one-sided, filtered set of information that can hardly be called "traditional", particularly not when it cuts out a lot of "traditional" information.

* Standardization of needles:
Japanese swords are famous for being masterpieces of forgery. If you buy a kitchen knife made by a craftsman from Solingen steel, you can be sure to get a tool, that will make any cook happy for the next 30 years. What about a kitchen knife made in China? I prefer not to detail that here.
In the +30 years I have been practicing acupuncture, I have not yet seen any needles (or any other product for that matter) labelled "Made in China" I would call "well manufactured". I am only a third class practitioner with no extraordinary skills or knowledge, but personally I would not volunteer to be treated with Chinese needles - maybe even following the so-called "clean needling techniqu" (WHO, see above). Neither would any of my patients accept (not to speak of "enjoy") that kind of treatment. Which requires by definition nail-thick Chinese needles.

* There is a small town in southern Germany, Tuttlingen, in which the largest portion of surgical instruments used in the entire world used to be manufactured. Some companies manufacture parts/instruments for microsurgery that are so small, that you have difficulties to see them with the naked eye. And these parts are MOSTLY manufactured by hand! Those people are NOT interested in acupuncture and probably do not care about needle standadization at all. BUT ... Why not ask their opinion about the quality of needles made in Japan and in China? I think their answer would be quite clear - AND much more valuable than any input from China or the WHO for that matter.
But if the Chinese obtain their ISO standards, Japanese companies could be forced to abandon the production of their high-quality needles and produce "Chinese quality". The very thought makes me shudder.

* Personally I am against any kind of standardization in this field. To me, it just does not fit. And there are definitely too many different people in the world, that you could get away with a very limited number of poor quality Chinese standards.
What would happen, if somebody proposed, any particular interpretation of Beethoven's music should be standardized? Everybody plays it exactly the same way. THAT would definitely do NOT do any good to Beethovn' music in particular, music in general and, of course, the audience.

This is just my personal opinion. Some people on a certain forum said:
"see what happens as this unfolds." or
"I can't wait to see where this all leads."
BUT, if you wait until everything has been "democratically decided by an international body" = headed and controlled by Chinese democracy, it will be too late.

Think again:
WHO is trying to standardize WHAT? AND for WHAT purpose?

I have the greatest difficulties imagining that current trends and possible future outcomes pertaining to "standardization" will do any good to oriental/traditional medicine, and/or mankind as a whole.

In high school days (a very long time ago) I had a teacher of German (my native tongue), who started his first lesson in our class with:
"Do not trust me. Consider everything I tell you to be a lie. Go home and check what I told you against the available evidence. Once that evidence is in line with what I told you, you may go ahead and learn/remember what I taught you. But not before then."

If anybody has only the slightest doubts about ongoing processes, please go and check the evidence. If there is any "evidence" from China, cross check it with evidence from other sources. And if you think, something may not be right, call upon your regional acupuncture society and/or administrative organization to make yourself heard. Maybe have that organization might raise its voice in the relevant meetings/conferences ...
(whenever I raise MY voice, I am designated a heretic ...)

I would like to see traditional medicine remain DIVERISIFIED (like the biosphere on earth) and therefore healthy. No monoculture (agriculture) I have ever heard of has been really healthy.
I would be very happy, if this did/does spark some interest in the matter.
Thank you for reading so far.

Thomas Blasejewicz

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. (Gustave Flaubert)


Umgekehrter Kulturschock

Auf den Artikel "Nur stur - oder redliches Geschäftsgebaren?" (Xing -> Gruppe: "Japan - Land der aufgehenden Sonne"), den ich neulich hier eingeschrieben habe, gab es einige Kommentare, in denen das Alter von Gebäuden angesprochen wurde.
Ich möchte hier nicht akademische Diskussionen zu dem Thema beginnen, sondern nur ein Erlebnis mit den Gruppenmitgliedern teilen, dass ich vor 5-6 Jahren in Rothenburg hatte.

Man spricht oft davon, mit "den Füßen auf festem Boden" zu stehen, oder "festen Boden unter den Füßen" zu haben. Das ist weder neu noch ungewöhnlich und wird im Allgemeinen in dem Sinne verwandt, dass man sich auf etwas verlassen kann.
Wie aus meinen bisherigen Beiträgen vielleicht ersichtlich war/ist, habe ich meinerzeit in Deutschland Judo, Aikido, Tai Chi betrieben, mit all dem geistigen Kram, der da so mit einhergeht, und dies hat dann später dazu geführt, dass ich nach Japan ging, um Bogenschießen zu lernen. In Deutschland haben meine Eltern auch in einem Backsteinhaus gewohnt und ich bin zu zahlreichen Gelegenheiten in zahlreichen Kirchen gewesen. Dabei habe ich mir nie etwas gedacht und mir ist auch nie etwas "besonderes" aufgefallen.
Hier in Japan habe ich dann wie gesagt Bogenschießen, ein bischen Teezeremonie und dergleichen betrieben und vor 30 Jahren meine Lizenzen als Akupunkteur (orientalische Medizin mit dem Yin-Yang Kram, ewiger Wechsel etc. ...) erworben und kann Heute auf 30 Jahre klinische Praxis zurückblicken. Auch dabei ist mir nie etwas "besonderes" aufgefallen.

Vor ca. 5 Jahren wurde ich dann von einer japanischen Akupunkturgesellschaft gebeten, unter anderem den "TCM Kongress" in Rothenburg zu beobachten und dann hier in Japan darüber zu berichten. In den Jahrzehnten meiner Tätigkeit als Akupunkteur ist mir schon häufiger aufgefallen, dass es auch bei großen Berühmtheiten im Bereich der orientalischen Medizin aus Europa, die sich SEHR gut mit der Materie auskennen, "irgendwie" Unterschiede zu den entsprechenden Meistern hier gibt. Allerdings konnte ich bis dahin nie sagen, worin diese Unterschiede bestehen.

Und dann war ich in Rothenburg. Wunderschöne Altstadt. SEHR schön, aber als solches nicht ungewöhnlich. Eines schönen Nachmittags habe ich mich bei einem Spaziergang durch die Stadt für eine Weile in eine Kirche gesetzt. Einfach nur so. Während ich so da saß und im wesentlichen an gar nichts dachte, fiel mein Blick auf die vom Boden zu der sehr hohen Decke aufragenden Steinsäulen. (Beigefügtes Bild: ich habe leider kein Bild aus der Kirche, aber das am Hang gebaute Backsteinhaus wäre in Japan ebenso undenkbar!)
Nach einer Weile hat es mich dann "getroffen". So etwas wäre in Japan einfach NICHT möglich. Die würden selbst bei jedem kleineren Erdbeben um/einstürzen.
DAS ist etwas, was Deutschland und Japan GRUNDSÄTZLICH unterscheidet. Hier hat man keinen "festen Boden unter den Füßen"! Alle in Japan aufgewachsenen Japaner "wissen" das, ohne jemals darüber nachgedacht zu haben. Ich selbst habe ja auch unzählige Erdbeben erlebt, aber dass dies einen Einfluss auf die Kultur und Mentalität (es steht jederman frei, diese Behauptung in Frage zu stellen) ist mir nie in den Sinn gekommen.

Dieses kleine Erlebnis war zumindest für mich persönlich DIE Erklärung für die Unterschiede in Einstellung und Praxis der Akupunktur; in weiterem Sinne wohl auch für andere Formen orientalischer Kultur. Leute die von Geburt an immer auf festem Boden gestanden haben, können glaube ich nicht so recht "nachempfinden", was Menschen denken/fühlen, die ihr ganzes Leben auf einem in ständigem Wechsel befindlichen Boden gelebt haben.

Aber wie gesagt: das ist nur mein persönlicher Eindruck und nicht irgendeine wissenschaftliche Tatsache.


Acudiversity ...

English: Hua Shou. Expression of the fourteen ...
English: Hua Shou. Expression of the fourteen meridians. (Tokyo, 1716). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/Images/1200_pixels/hua_t08.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been trying to help foreigners wishing to observe Japanese acupuncture in Japan for at least 15 years. Unfortunately, I must say, Japanese practitioners are not very forthcoming when I ask/ed for their help.
Most (close to 100%) of the people who contacted me in the past already hold some licence(s), whether those are related to acupuncture, herbal medicine or western medicine. Most also had already studied, at least to a certain degree, the kind of Chinese medicine often designated als "TCM" (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is well known, however, that there is only a limited amount of "traditional medicine" in TCM, since it has been cooked up in the 1960s by Mao as a propaganda tool. So, the people who contacted me, did so, because they were dissatisfied and wanted to learn "something else". This latter one is usually named "Japanese acupuncture".

However, there is a problem with "Japanese acupuncture".
In China EVERYTHING is controlled by the state and only state sanctioned things / concepts are permissible, so that people go there and "learn" (teaching TCM is a commercial product, marketed in a quite capitalistic manner) in a month or so. That's easy, because there is only one state sanctioned TCM, which is not to be questioned or doubted and presented in palatable form for "those foreigners".

Here in Japan things are different. Nobody in a position of power cares enough to even try to regulate oriental medicine. Since the introduction of Chinese medicine to Japan about 1,500 years ago, the Japanese have adapted it to their own particular needs and added quite a number of ingenious inventions (probably most well known: the use of needle tubes) of their own. Over this period of 1,500 years "Chinese medicine" evolved into "Japanese medicine". Anybody claiming that it must today be still the same it has been 1,500 years ago is a little out of touch with reality. The reality of evolution.
As opposed to China, there has been no "cultural revolution", permitting only one "true TCM" and eliminating everything that might pose a threat (?) to the welfare of the state, all the different schools and techniques that have developed in Japan are alive and well. Mildly exaggerated: there are probably as many styles out there as there are practitioners.

To the best of my knowledge, even in the face of all those rather unpleasant efforts at "standardization", there simply is no "THE Japanese acupuncture". No practitioner I know could give a definition of what Japanese acupuncture is.
But precisely THAT is, what makes is interesting: the wondrous variety, where nobody can claim to be right and tell others they are wrong.
With reference to the term "biodiversity", I would like to name this situation:

The other day, somebody from Germany contacted me, wishing to study "Japanese acpuncture". The person claimed to have already studied "TCM" (4 weeks) in China.
When I told that person, that in the absence of any organized (commercialized) courses in languages other than Japanese the only way getting a taste of Japanese acpuncture would be spending some time here and visit as many practitioners as possible, the person apparently got angry at me ("so there is no way of learning Japanese acpuncture?") and terminated the correspondence. That's fine by me.

However, I would like emphasize (again and again!): the variety of Japanese acupuncture styles is exactly what makes it so attractive.
Attractive in itself AND for the needs of the people of the world at large.
Personally I am convinced, that the "Japanese acupuncture" is much better suited for the world population than "Chinese acupuncture".
I would not volunteer to get a Chinese acupuncture treatment, BUT use moxibustion or acpuncture on myself before I consider anything else.

For people interested: I summarized some of these views in a little ebook: "Acupuncture .. the easy way - or the hard way".
It ***IS*** commercially available through Amazon and Smashwords.com, but since nobody has been buying it, I now offer it as free download from my website: