Japanese Acupuncture Needling Techniques - Touching Needle (Hifushin)

Hifushin or "Touching Needle" is a local needling technique used within Japanese Acupuncture treatments. The information presented below discusses basic theory behind the technique, guidelines for applying the technique and examples of clinical use. Some of the techniques listed here require significant amounts of training to be performed correctly and should only be performed by practitioners who have been trained properly.

  • Clinical Usage:
  • Non-insertive needle technique which can be a root or local treatment.
  • It is a very useful technique for pediatric patients a/or for those patients with needle phobias.
  • While this technique may appear simple it can be extremely powerful, allowing strong treatments without an excessive number of points and without insertion of any needles, it relies heavily on monitoring the pulse of the patient and the sensitivity of the practitioner which can only be attained with years of practice and proper guidance.

  • You may use the handle end of a stainless steel, gold or silver needle, teishin, or just your index or middle finger.
  • The following are In order of more tonifying to more dispersive (i.e. silver can be dispersive in relation to gold, but tonifying on it's own or in relation to copper):

    Gold
    Silver
    Copper
    Zinc

    The Middle finger is considered tonifying
    The Index finger is considered dispersive

  • Generally speaking you tonify the Yuan Source point and disperse the Luo Connecting point.

  • Hifushin Technique:
  • Determine which point to treat by finding a deficient or excess pulse pattern.
  • You may quickly alter the pulse by placing your index and then middle finger on the source point, for example, checking to see whether tonification or dispersion improves the pulse.
  • If the pulse improves then you should perform that technique on that point.
  • Find the appropriate treatment point and make your Oshide, for tonification the Oshide should be light and for dispersion the Oshide should be heavier.
  • Place the needle between the index and thumb of the Oshide, for tonification you may use a 90 degree angle and for dispersion you may use a 45 degree angle.
  • You retain the needle until the pulse improves a/or you sense a desired change in your Oshide.
  • For tonification, remove the needle quickly and quickly cover the hole with our index finger, for dispersion, remove the needle slowly and leave the hole open

  • Sanshin (Hifushin on an area) Technique:
  • Done on an area (i.e. not point specific) to disperse or attract Qi to that area
  • Deficient areas are flaccid or puffy, the skin may be lustreless a/or it may feel empty of cool
  • Excess areas are tight and raised, the may appear stretched a/or it may feel hot
  • The technique is essentially the same as Hifushin above, but over an area, where for tonification you quickly touch a point, close the hole and move to the next point and for dispersion you touch a point, slowly move the needle and leave the hole open

  • Treatment Examples:
  • To Clarify the pulse a/or resolve a bad or strong treatment use the hara treatment
  • CV 6
  • CV 12
  • ST 25 bilaterally

  • Abdominal pain - check LU, SP, ST & SI Channels
  • Ankle Issues - check UB & GB (good if the area is too sensitive to be needled)
  • Chest discomfort or pain - check PC, LU, SP, LV, HT, KI & GB Channels
  • Diarrhea - check KD, LV, SP, LI & SI Channels
  • Headache - check KD, LV, ST, UB or GB Channels depending on location of headache
  • Uterine masses - check LV
  • Muscle cramping - check LV
  • Numbness of hands/skin - check LU

Sources and More Information

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were used within this section:

  • Iuliano, Diane: New England School of Acupuncture, Extraordinary Vessel Techniques Lecture Notes
  • Kuwahara, Koei: New England School of Acupuncture, Advanced Japanese Techniques Lecture Notes

For a complete list of valuable resources, see our Japanese Acupuncture Resources section. The most recommended texts are below: