Acupuncture therapy involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers.
Research into acupuncture as a medical treatment has grown exponentially in the past 20 years, increasing at twice the rate of research into conventional biomedicine. Over this period, there have been over 13,000 studies conducted in 60 countries, including hundreds of meta-analyses summarizing the results of thousands of human and animal studies (Ma Y, Dong M, Zhou K, et al. Publication Trends in Acupuncture Research: A 20-Year Bibliometric Analysis Based on PubMed. PLoS ONE 2016;11:e0168123. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168123).
Types of Acupuncture
This is the most common type of acupuncture. It involves very fine steel needles being inserted into various acupuncture points on the body. Each acupuncture point has a different therapeutic effect. The points are literally all over the body from head to toe. The needles are so fine that very little discomfort is felt when the needle is inserted. This type of acupuncture is used to treat most conditions.
It is a microacupuncture technique similar to reflexology, and was first described in France in 1950 by Dr. Paul Nogier who is considered the Father of modern ear acupuncture. Modern research is confirming the efficacy of ear acupuncture for analgesia and anxiety related diseases.
This is used in conjunction with Body Acupuncture. It is where an electro acupuncture machine is connected to the top of the Body Acupuncture needles. The needles are then stimulated with an electric current. The patient feels a mild, tingling sensation. This is useful for many conditions but is not suitable for all patients.
This is where the acupuncture points are pressed or massaged by the acupuncturist. In the treatment of certain conditions, the therapist may teach the patient to locate one or two key points and teach them how to massage these points themselves.
Ear seeds are small seeds used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. They’re a type of auriculotherapy, which refers to acupressure or acupuncture focused on the ear.