Kiiko Matsumoto Style (KMS) utilizes a highly developed system of palpation to evaluate, diagnose and assess the effectiveness of a proposed treatment. The foundation of KMS is diagnosis and assessment through abdominal palpation.
Having personally studied with Kiiko Matsumoto for 17 years has afforded me the rare privilege to learn from and study with the founder and master of Kiiko Matsumoto Style (KMS) acupuncture. Kiiko has also allowed me to teach foundation classes at Five Branches University. It has been my honor and pleasure to apply those skills to address my patient’s health issues from several levels and to introduce my students to KMS Acupuncture.
Hara means abdomen in Japanese. Hara Diagnosis uses palpation of the abdomen to determine any patterns of disharmony that may exist in the organ systems. In Western Medicine, your doctor palpates the abdomen for tenderness, masses or other abnormalities in the local area. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese Acupuncture, we palpate to diagnosis and to achieve instant feedback regarding your treatment.
The abdomen is the most important area of the human body, because it is the energetic, digestive and physical center, and at the middle of all of this is the navel. The navel is the root of every person, because we were all connected to our mothers through our navel via the umbilical cord and everything that we needed to survive and grow: oxygen, nourishment, etc. was provided through our abdomen. It can be said that we developed and grew from the belly outward. Therefore the belly or Hara (in Japanese) reflects every aspect of our energetics and physiology and is thus an accurate measure of our health status.
A KMS practitioner uses palpation to create a sort of map that indicates the individual's areas of strength, weakness and energetic blocks. These are then evaluated against the patients main complaint to determine the most effective treatment strategy. The advantage of using palpation is that both the practitioner and patient are aware when an area being evaluated is uncomfortable and when it is cleared by treatment.
Treatments are gentle, precise and clinically effective.
The Japanese in fact, have developed their own style and many would distinguish it as one that emphasizes a more subtle needle technique, one that does not cause sensation for the patient. As my teacher Kiiko explains to me; “If a patient has pain, do not cause them any more pain.” If the reflex is not present, or if specific treatment points do not significantly change the reflex quality, then some other more viable treatment option must be found. Both the practitioner and the patient always have some immediate indication as to the effectiveness of the treatment.
KMS Acupuncture can treat:
• Chronic and acute pain
• Women's health and fertility
• Hormonal imbalance and endocrine disorders
• Digestive disorders
• Allergies and immune system imbalance
• Insomnia, anxiety, depression & emotional imbalances
• Toxicity and overuse of medication
• Scars and post-operative complications
• Support for chemotherapy and cancer patients
By looking more deeply into the structural and or constitutional imbalances, which often underlie a patient’s symptomatic complaints, using KMS acupuncture, I am able to provide a more complete and lasting healing for the patients in my care. It is precisely this holistic approach which gives me the ability to help my patients with some of the most complex issues.
Features of Kiko Style Acupuncture
Specific areas of the abdomen are reflection zones for different organs and organ systems in the body. Pressing on them give us a good indication about the function of these organs and systems, which may not even show up on the pulse. Abdominal reflection zones can be reactive even before the patient experiences symptoms and problems and, therefore is a powerful way to help prevent illness.
Hands On Instant Feedback
Another main feature of this style of acupuncture is that it is very 'hands on'. Not only is there a lot of palpation used for diagnosis of the Hara, palpation is used to check reflexes in the neck, head and back plus the distal points used for treatment. Many patients find the closer contact found commonly in bodywork more comfortable and the instant feedback of the body’s muscles relaxing and reflexes lessening in pain a good indicator that the treatment is working.
Poorly healed scar tissue can be a major block to successful healing causing not just problems at the site of the scar but also at secondary locations or organs, by interfering with the meridian flow. Kiiko Matsumoto has pioneered the treatment of scar tissue as a way to unblock Qi and heal problems that have not responded to other treatments.
Unique Point Locations
Japanese acupuncture uses many unique points, point locations and indications and these are a feature of this style. In addition the diagnostic feedback method in this style means that each point used will be unique for each patient rather than simply a text book location.
Emphasis in this style is very much on patient comfort. Very thin needles are used with the normal gauge being Japanese no2 (0.18 mm, Chinese 38 gauge). Guide tubes are always used. Needling is not necessarily very shallow like some Japanese styles, but needle stimulation is kept to a minimum, with emphasis placed on correct angle, direction and depth, rather than obtaining a strong "deqi" sensation. This makes for a very 'patient friendly' style of acupuncture, with patients often pleasantly surprised how painless acupuncture can be.
Direct (Thread) Moxa
Thread moxa is used frequently in this style to strengthen treatment. It is used either at the base of the needle or on its own. It involves lighting tiny 'threads' of super pure Japanese golden moxa placed on top of a spot of Shiunko ointment.
Moxa on the needle - familiar to most acupuncturists - is used to warm larger areas.
The Tiger Warmer is a heated incense pen which allows variable heat and pressure to be applied directly to the body at precise points or larger areas. It is one of the easiest, safest and most patient friendly methods of treatment using heat.
Originally invented by Dr. Yoshio Manaka in the 1950's this method of treatment represents a modern understanding of the healing mechanism of Qi. Special cords pump the ion flow between connected needles. Kiiko Matsumoto's style incorporates both Dr. Manaka's treatment protocols and those of Master Kawai, inventor of the diode ring.
These are used during treatment for healing scar tissue or on patients who are very sensitive to needles. They are frequently used to enhance and prolong the effects of the treatment by applying them at the end of the session as "homework" for certain key points.
Press Tack (ENPISHIN) AND INTRADERMAL (HINAISHIN) NEEDLES.
These are used in a similar way to magnets at the end of treatment as "homework" for certain key points.