We had an amazing weekend in Fairfax, CA learning Fukushin — Japanese abdominal diagnosis — during a two-day seminar with Kumiko Shirai, MSOM, L.Ac. Developed by Japanese scholars during the Edo period (1600-1800s), Fukushin is a method of diagnosing imbalances in the body by palpating the abdomen. Finding tension, softness, pain, or a change in temperature in specific regions of the abdomen will tell the practitioner which herbs the patient needs to address the imbalance. Using other signs and symptoms, we can more easily hone in on just the right formula for the patient.
This is an elegant and precise method of practicing herbal medicine. Usually, we listen to the pulse, look at the tongue and talk about symptoms to see which pattern the patient is manifesting. Once we determine the pattern, we look at the herbal formulas that address that pattern. Sometimes there are many formulas that treat the same set of symptoms. With Fukushin, the body tells us directly which herb to focus on and we can then build a more exact formula without first having to filter our findings through a theoretical pattern. It is a much more direct approach to using herbal medicine and we are already putting it to use in the studio.