Acupuncture is considered an effective method of treatment by the World Health Organization for numerous conditions. With over 2,000 years of history behind it, the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has spread, grown, and evolved in many remarkable ways since its inception. In this article, we look at the many different types of acupuncture that can be found in the world today, each of which is unique in its own way, but still retains the core philosophies upon which acupuncture was first developed.
Up until this century, before the advancement of ‘modern medicine’, acupuncturists played the role of the physician in China and Japan. The patient population at acupuncture clinics was quite different in those days, consisting of many people with acute life threatening illnesses such as serious infection, systemic inflammation, and communicable diseases. These illnesses are typically ‘heat syndrome’ in traditional Chinese medicine terms manifested by noticeably high fever.
Today, patient populations are quite different compared to in the past. Rarely, acupuncturists encounter serious acute conditions but rather most patients visit with chronic pain conditions, functional disorders, or a variety of stress related illnesses.
There are several common styles of acupuncture. Each of them can effectively treat a wide variety of conditions and involve the insertion of disposable needles under the skin. Different styles may be used for treating different conditions. Many practitioners have both general education and training as well as specialty areas of interest and practice and treat patients using a combination of styles depending on the condition, treatment plan and individual patient.
The different forms of acupuncture that exist today have arisen due to different reasons. Some were developed as alternatives to the needle based traditional acupuncture, and these include techniques like electroacupuncture and acupressure. Others have arisen as a consequence of the spread of acupuncture into regions like Japan and Korea, both countries which have adapted the practice of acupuncture in different ways.
Some acupuncture protocols are designed to provide temporary relief of symptoms, while other acupuncture protocols are designed to address symptoms’ root causes. Some styles may be gentler or more intense than other styles. Some health problems may be more responsive to a particular style of acupuncture, while other conditions may respond favorably to other acupuncture styles. It is also true that some conditions may respond well to any style of acupuncture, while other conditions may not respond to acupuncture treatment at all.
As mentioned, most acupuncturists today utilize a combination of various acupuncture styles and techniques. Further, since standardized acupuncture training programs are unavailable in many regions, every acupuncturist has his or her own unique training background and skills.
Traditional acupuncture involves inserting small needles into strategic places on the body that help to enhance circulation and improve the body’s natural response to inflammation or injury. Various conditions can be successfully treated with acupuncture, including fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, hip and leg pain, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, and headaches. Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular choice for pain control. When acupuncture is performed correctly, it has the ability to reduce muscle spasm and stiffness and also has the ability to strengthen damaged tissues during the recovery process.
These needles are more frequently inserted just far enough into the skin to firmly keep them there, though an acupuncture practitioner may insert different needles somewhat further in depending on the treatment plan. Sometimes the needles are twirled in place, sometimes they are warmed before insertion, or have heat applied to them during insertion. Generally, there is no discomfort when a needle is inserted, manipulated, or removed. Occasionally a slight twinge may be felt, but not more than that. Often during treatment a patient may feel more relaxed than when they came in, slightly warmer, or possibly feel a rush of energy during the treatment. Some patients feel no change during the acupuncture treatment, but their symptoms gradually change over a longer period of time, such as several weeks.
There are variations of acupuncture that do not rely on the use of needles. The knowledge of acupuncture points, the organization of the body, and the importance of proper energy flow for a healthy body are all exactly identical to standard acupuncture therapy. The main difference is that the needle is replaced by a different technique to manipulate the acupuncture point.
The ideas behind these are identical with standard acupuncture technique.
The acupuncture points have a different electrical behavior than the surrounding cells when the patient suffers from the associated symptom. Scientists can also use infrared photography to find the temperature differences between these acupuncture points and the surrounding skin.
Acupuncture has a number of different techniques, and one of them is to apply a very low-level electric charge to the acupuncture point. Sometimes this is done together with insertion of a needle, sometimes it is done just by touching a small wire to the surface of the skin and connect a very low electric current. The feeling of the current is a very light tingling and not any very noticeable or painful reaction. Because electricity did not even exist during most of acupuncture’s history, electroacupuncture is a technique that has only recently come into use. Electroacupuncture has become increasingly popular since the 1970s, mainly as a form of pain relief. Electroacupuncture is commonly practiced by medically trained acupuncturists and is also used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
In electro acupunctureelectroacupuncture, needles are inserted at specific points on the body and are then attached, using small clips, to a device that generates continuous electric pulses. This device is used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulses being delivered, depending on the condition being treated. For technical and safety reasons, the needles used with electroacupuncture are larger in diameter (>0.20mm) and are inserted into a sufficient depth of the tissue. The result can be similar to having cortisone or steroidssteroiods but without the side effects. It is excellent for all musculoskeletalmusculo-skeletal conditions and sports injuries.
Acupuncture therapy has been extended beyond needles, and interest is continuing in using other instruments. Other technique includes the use of heat (a very traditional choice).
Moxibustion has been used in tandem with acupuncture to treat a variety of diseases throughout Asia for thousands of years. Moxa (or sometimes called moxibustion) is a made from dry Mugwort leaves that are shredded, compressed and shaped into a long moxa stick enclosed in paper similar to a giant cigarette. Moxibustion is a form of fire heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body. The term is derived from the Japanese “mogusa” meaning herb (mugwort) and the Latin “bustion” meaning burning.
There are various moxibustion techniques.
Currently, the more popular form of moxibustion in many countries including China is the indirect form. A practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick and holds it an inch or two away from the skin, usually around the inserted needles to bring mild warmth to the area without burning, until the skin becomes slightly red. The intensity of the heat is adjusted according to the patient’s condition and comfort. In addition to increasing the local blood flow, skillful indirect moxibustion is extremely comforting and can create a deep relaxation response. The gentle heat is so comfortable and soothing that many patients fall asleep during moxibustion with acupuncture.
Moxibustion therapy in conjunction with acupuncture can be very effective for many diseases and conditions including back pain, muscle stiffness, headaches, migraines, tendonitis, arthritis, digestive disorders, anxiety, and female health problems such as menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and infertility.
Moxibustion can be applied in many different ways and the expected physiological reactions from moxibustion can greatly vary depending on the type and technique used. By carefully considering the type of moxibustion, and where and how to apply it, moxibustion can be used safely and effectively for almost all patients. This is very effective for joint conditions — knee pain, shoulder pain, hip and back pain etc. However, Moxibustion also boosts a general health promoting acupuncture treatment.
Cupping therapy is usually used as part of acupuncture or body work treatment. Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices that are placed on the skin.
There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Cupping brings fresh blood to the area, so it tends to improve circulation. It also helps open up the chest and benefit the lungs and can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems, too. Most commonly, it’s used for aches and pains of various types as well as respiratory problems, cough, wheezing, things like that. Cupping is frequently done on the back and hips, although it can be performed wherever there is any stagnation.
“Gua Sha,” or Scraping is a folk medicine technique that uses pieces of smooth jade, bone, animal tusks, horns, or smooth stones to scrape along the skin to release obstruction and toxins that are trapped at the surface of the skin. Gua sha is a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine. Sometimes called ‘coining, spooning or scraping’,
The scraping is done until red spots then bruising cover the treatment area. Gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechial called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis. Raising sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic in traditional East Asian medicine. Modern research shows the transitory therapeutic petechial produce an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single
Gua sha treatment accounting for the immediate relief that patients feel from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting.
Infrared Heat Lamp
Infrared heat therapy rooted from ancient Chinese healing called “Palm Healing”. The palms radiate enough infrared energy through the skin. That heat from the hand helps in the healing process. This is the same principle for infrared lamps in radiating heat for different healing purposes. These devices emit a special band of thermo-electromagnetic waves through a special “black” magnetic emission plate consisting of 33 different mineral elements. The thermo magnet waves penetrate deeper into the body than emissions of normal infrared devices. It is known as the ‘Magic Lamp’ in China and is widely used in hospitals and clinics in conjunction with acupuncture treatment, or applied separately.
Infrared lamps are proven to be effective in warming the body directly. This then allows deep heat that is responsible for good health to be absorbed by the body. Infrared lamps main functions include lessening inflammation, soothing pain, promoting proper metabolism.
The heat lamp is placed about 12-14 inches from the affected area. Treatment time ranges anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. The far-infrared waves generate a radiant glowing heat, which is felt as an intense gentle blanket of warmth.
Nutripuncture is often used in conjunction with Acupuncture and is based on similar principals and function but with expedited results and without needles. To understand Nutripuncture, it is important to recall that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each meridian, in addition to being associated with an organ or system, is also associated with a set of emotions. For example, the liver meridian is connected with anger or unhappiness.
It is human nature to want to avoid or forget about negative experiences because they are unpleasant. But if we do not learn to deal with them they become like undigested food which weakens our system. Like a physical wound which does not properly heal, these emotional wounds create an energy imbalance which may later manifest in physical disease. For example, anger is often associated with high blood pressure. Imbalances may also lead to psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and damaging personality dispositions.
Nutripuncture is a profoundly effective system of healing that is revolutionizing the way Eastern and Western healing modalities join to meet the emerging health challenges of the 21st Century. Nutripuncture works like acupuncture. Instead, it uses nutrients which are small tablets incorporated with a homeopathic dilution, having an immediate action on a cellular levels of the organs. Each nutrient delivers information meant to strengthen the balance of the vital currents of the body, it restores the information and the function of the organs and emotional blockages. In this way, it is close to acupuncture, which has the same action.
Nutripuncture is being practiced by a growing team of certified therapists and physicians worldwide. Nutripuncture aligns polarity, restores cellular orientation in time and space and balances energetic identity and the five senses. It successfully heals trauma, both physical and social.
Medicine treats disease, with appropriate tools. Nutripuncture helps to restore the electromagnetic currents disturbed by the disease. That is why it is advisable to use Nutripuncture to stimulate the zones affected by the disease, as well as the immune system, and this will increase the effect of the medical treatment. The series of 38 nutrients can cover one’s needs in many different situations. Suited for all ages, without any contraindicationscontra-indications, they provide interesting responses to various stresses that diminish psychophysical well-being.
Dr. Ada Kulagina, a well trained Nutripuncture practitioner, is able to test a patient for the energetic location of disturbances that are the root cause of pathologies in behavior, thoughts, emotions, relationships, tissues and organ functions, she offers rapid, life-altering resolution of the following traumas: physical, psychological, sexual, divorce or separation and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Dr. Kulagina is certified and experienced professional, she has successfully treated hundreds of complex conditions with results that are superior to those that are seen with other, commonly used treatments.