Burn Baby Burn! Holy Moxibustion Batman!
While in Tokyo, Japan I had the pleasure of meeting Edward Obaidey, of Edward Obaidey Acupuncture Clinic, where he does acupuncture, moxibustion and shiatsu medical massage. What a surprise to enter 2 flights of stairs off of a busy Tokyo street to a hazy, moxa clouded healing club. That’s what it felt like!
So as you can see, you climb a couple flights of tiny stairs up to the unassuming doorway of the clinic. There you will be greeted by many of Edward’s assistants (Varying levels of acupuncture schooling: some just out of school, some have their own clinics, some travel from other countries to work here for FREE, just to learn from the Sensei!). You must do the obligatory taking off your ‘outside’ bits and changing to your ‘inside=clean’ bits. This was a bit of change up for me, as I normally just wear scrubs that I don in the morning from home!
It’s a small place. Probably something like a tiny 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco. When I arrive the assistants are all prepping for the day. Some are boiling water to insert into giant old fashioned water bottles for patients, some are making real ‘tea’ – not for patients necessarily, but for the Sensei, some are rolling Moxa to perfect cones, others are warming blankets, preparing needles and opening curtains readying for patients.
Lots of contrasts to the US way of running a clinic.
First off, NO HIPPA GUIDELINES. So that is why I previously mentioned the ‘healing club’. The only thing that is ‘private’ around here is the proper Japanese bidet room, literally the size of your dirty laundry shoot. AKA: if you drop something, forget it til you open the door again. Interesting visual. All of the patient beds are separated by a ‘hospital style’ curtain, similar to what I experienced in China during treatments. At first I was appalled for the patients lack of privacy, but the patients really didn’t mind at all and there is something about the soft voices, haze of moxa and the healing behind every curtain that is strangely soothing and hypnotic.
Secondly, NO CLEAN NEEDLE TECHNIQUE. The Japanese style of inserting the needle is, as you’d guess…elegant, humble and purposeful. Edward Sensei used a protocol that peeled the layers off of any pathogen, stagnation, deficiency or excess. He started by talking with the patient and palpating / gentle shiatsu massage. You could literally ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the acupuncture points coming to the surface of the patient. The patient was giving their recipe, instead of every protocol that was mentioned in books. At this moment I realized I was witnessing Oriental Medicine (not Chinese, Japanese or Americanized style), but ART. This is what they mean when they say the ‘Art of Medicine’. He continued on by lightly needling the back of the patient. No clean needle here- same needle reinserted multiple times up and down the body. Side note: each set of needles was assigned to a patient and they were autoclaved each time. This process, although it seemed harsh, was actually very gently pricking, that he explained didn’t deplete the nutritive qi level, actually strengthened it before he did the deeper acupuncture points. Next step was burning moxa, (see next blog) and finally acupuncture on several different areas, including front and back of the body. Amazingly enough these processes take about an hour, but with all his assistants he manages to keep 4 beds running continuously til the end of the day.
I was blown away. and hooked.
And it begins- sometimes when you create space in your life, like I have done with this trip to Tokyo, the new learnings just flow in. I am anxious to continue learning
Thank you Edward Obaidey !
Here’s his clinic: