Monday, February 23, 2015

Teishins Over the Years

Silver and Gold Teishins
Above you will see several different teishin designs that I have made over the years.  The left two were designed by my Japanese acupuncture teacher from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine; K.C. Conover.  The original was a chrome plated dental tool that he had shortened the handle and sharpened the tip of.  He lent me the original tool so that I could make a mold and produce a few copies for him.   It is an excellent design, but I feel that it is a bit top heavy and tends to make one's concentration go away from the point being stimulated.  Of course with acupuncture tools everything is a compromise; having the heavy top also makes the top useful as a heavy probe or even to be stroked along the meridian as you would use an enshin.  The shortened version of this tool on the far left has a more balanced feeling and makes an excellent pediatric tool.  Although versatile, if I were to only have one teishin, one of these two teishins would not be it.  In my opinion the most important aspect of the teishin is it's fine tip.

The two teishins to the right are a heavyweight silver teishin with machined end and a "classic" style 18k gold teishin.  The heavy silver teishin is my personal favorite.  It is made of 7 gauge sterling silver rod that is forged with heat and hammer to form the fine point.  This forging process aligns the grain of the silver making it both hard and stiff, contributing to a durable tool.  The milling on the blunt end gives it a little style while adding some traction for deeper pressure.  Because the blunt end is a larger surface area the pounds per square inch (or fraction of an inch in this case) decreases drastically compared to the sharp end.  In this way more pressure must be applied to this end of the tool to create change in the meridian.  The end milling gives just a little extra purchase and allows the user to focus on the point and not the gripping/ pinching of the shaft.   The gold teishin is more or less a classic or common teishin design.  It is made of  16 gauge gold rod, so significantly smaller diameter than the silver teishin.  18k gold is heavier (by a factor of 1.5) and stiffer than sterling of the same diameter.  This allows us to make a fine needle-like teishin that still retains good stiffness and mass to feel substantial in the hands.  When I make a sterling silver teishin in the classic design I prefer to use at least 2 gauges heavier to compensate for the lower mass and stiffness of this material.  Conversely, I find a gold teishin made of 7 gauge wire to be a bit too heavy in the hands and prefer the 16 gauge (This is also nice because the cost differences between the two sizes is substantial).  The lengths of the two teishins on the right are 3.5 and 3 inches.