Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites- commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Other acupoint stimulation techniques include: manual massage, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and linaments.
Different styles of acupuncture?
There are several different approaches to acupuncture. These are given below:
1. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) based acupuncture – The most commonly practiced in the United States, it bases a diagnosis on eight principles of complementary opposites.
2. Korean hand acupuncture – Based on the principle that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
3. Auricular acupuncture – This technique is widely used in treating addiction disorders. It is based on the idea that the ear is a reflection of the body and that applying acupuncture needles to certain points on the ear affects corresponding organs.
4. French energetic acupuncture – Mostly used by MD acupuncturists, it emphasizes meridian patterns, in particular the yin/yang pairs of primary meridians.
5. Japanese styles of acupuncture – Sometimes referred to as “meridian therapy,” it emphasizes needling technique and feeling meridians in diagnosis.