Merlin Young - gentle and effective acupuncture for everyone


The words "toyo-hari" literally simply translate as "East Asian-Needle Therapy".

In the thirties and forties in Japan, a few acupuncture masters (most notably Keiri Inoue, 1903-1967) found that they were able to achieve remarkable results using specific techniques with gold and silver needles that actually did not involve inserting them through the skin. To my knowledge, these techniques were never widely taught, but formed just one specialist part of what is still known as "Meridian Therapy" (or Keiraku Chiryo) in Japan. Keiraku Chiryo is a style of acupuncture based on the study, interpretation and extrapolation of the original classic texts of East Asian medicine which go back two thousand years.

Subsequently, these non-inserted techniques were painstakingly studied and developed by Kodo Fukushima, the founder of the Toyo Hari association. He not only formally adapted them into a therapeutic method in its own right, but he also re-interpreted some of these classical doctrines in the context of his clinical experience, and particularly in the context of the times in which he lived. In so doing, he essentially re-created a living tradition from the original theories based on practical contemporary clinical realities.

Fukushima had been blinded in the Sino-Japanese War in 1932 (actually he was denied proper treatment because of his previous anti-war activities - which resulted in his blindness), studied acupuncture and some years later later founded the Toyohari Medical Association in 1959 in Tokyo for blind Japanese practitioners only.

Today, however, the association is also open to both sighted and foreign practitioners, subject to successfully completing formal training in its theories and techniques.What particularly differentiates Toyohari from other styles of acupuncture being practised today is not only the fact that treatment is principally formulated on patterns found from pulse and abdominal diagnosis, but also its regular use of refined non-inserted needle techniques. Interestingly, these techniques are being continuously modified and improved, based on member feedback and a consensus policy within the whole association. As such Toyohari is a unique therapy, founded and developed on the collective clinical experience of literally hundreds of accomplished (and some renowned) clinicians. As such, it is also a live and developing tradition, continuously being further tuned to the times in which we live.

Perhaps because of this, Toyohari is particularly effective for "modern type" diseases - those caused by our changing relationship with our ever changing environment. These include new kinds of illnesses arising from the effects of pollution and modern life, and also those ever-more-complicated medical conditions arising from the increasing difficulties of human inter-relationships in modern society. 

The Toyohari techniques of today have been painstakingly developed and refined by research groups within the association, and their correct application is fundamental to the effectiveness of the treatment.

There are over fifty branches of the Toyohari Association in Japan, four in the US, three in Australia, one in New Zealand, and six in Europe, one of which is in the UK. Currently there are just thirty registered members in this country.

I am very proud to be one of these, and I am the only one in the West Midlands.