Master Kiyoshi Nagano was a blind acupuncturist from the mid to late 20th century in Japan. His study of the classics and western medicine led to the development of a unique style, outside of many of the established styles of practice. He developed a highly palpatory methodology to his practice, creating unique strategies to treat a variety of conditions.
Some of the characteristics of this style of acupuncture practice are the thorough and systematic palpation of the body during diagnosis and treatment, guiding the practitioner to an understanding of the best pattern to treat to encourage the body to heal as well as identifying the best location and strength for needling. The practitioner can observe the immediate response of the body to treatment through changes in the pulse and release of reflexes around the body found through diagnosis. This allows a level of confirmation during treatment sessions that the body is responding positively, and also allows careful monitoring to prevent over treating.
Master Nagano’s best-known student and teacher of this style in the Western world is Kiiko Matsumoto Sensei. Kiiko Sensei also learnt from Masters Manaka and Kawai, integrating these styles into her teachings along with her ever-evolving insights based on clinical practice and deep contemplation of the classical literature of Oriental medicine.
Tsuyoshi Shimamura Sensei was a close student of Master Nagano as a live-in apprentice during his final years. His style is firmly rooted in the teaching of Master Nagano, with an element of focus on the physical structure integrating manual techniques from his background in Shiatsu. His methodology is gentle and subtle, involving palpation of the pulse, Hara and other areas of the body to determine the correct treatments points and method of stimulation.
The core teaching of Master Nagano is always attending to the Stomach Qi. By ensuring that the source and distribution of postnatal Qi (the energy we can bring into our bodies through food, drink and breathing) is taken care of, then we can be assured that the body has the adequate resources to effect healing, not needing to draw on the deeper and more precious, finite reserves of prenatal Qi.
There are very few who can call themselves masters of Nagano style acupuncture, as this requires a lifetime of study and practice. However, there are many committed students to this style of practice around the world, who make the teachings of Master Nagano central to their individual practice. Here is a description of studying with Shimamura Sensei.