Know the Different Types of Acupuncture

Acupuncture continues to grow across the world as a popular treatment for pain and symptoms of a number of diseases and conditions. Most of the time when you hear that someone has received acupuncture, you have one thing in mind. However, the term “acupuncture” has sort of become a catch-all for many different types of treatments that are available to patients. Since acupuncture is an ancient treatment, there have been updates and iterations over the years. Now, many different forms of acupuncture are out there, with their own strengths at treating different conditions. It’s always good to be informed, so we’ve put together a list for you of the most common types of treatments that often fall under the “acupuncture” umbrella.

Body Acupuncture – This is what likely comes to mind when you hear the word acupuncture. Tiny needles inserted into certain points and meridians along the body that regulate the flow of energy and promote healing.

Ear Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine says that the ear contains acupuncture points that can heal every area of the body. So, many acupuncturists will focus their acupuncture in the ear, using the same needles as in the body, whether on its own or in conjunction with body acupuncture points.

Electroacupuncture – Particularly useful for treating pain, electroacupuncture uses small clips on top of regular acupuncture needles to send an electric current in between two acupuncture needle points. The extra stimulation can improve the flow of energy between the points, helping heal pain.

Acupressure – Utilizing the knowledge of acupuncture points and meridians, acupressure pinpoints these same areas to heal pain, but uses massage and pressure instead of inserting a needle. Many acupuncturists will teach patients the proper areas, since patients can perform it themselves at home.

Moxibustion – When small amounts of herbs are placed on top body acupuncture needles and then lit, giving the area an extra boost of warmth.

Cupping – Usually done in tandem with acupuncture, cupping uses rubber or glass cups that are suctioned onto specific areas of the body. This can help when traditional body acupuncture needs a little bit of a boost when energy along a certain point has become stagnant. Cupping can leave marks on the body where the cup has suctioned on, but they are temporary.

How Acupuncture Can Help Lupus Patients

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a form of the autoimmune disease also known as Lupus.

A difficult and often frustrating autoimmune disease, Lupus affects nearly 1.5 million people across the US with symptoms including inflammation, pain and tissue damage.

Patients are often willing to try anything to combat their symptoms and restore their immune systems. Thankfully, acupuncture can play a significant role in their efforts.

A recent article by Very Well explains how the ancient art of acupuncture just might help a Lupus patient.

It’s long been believed (and proven) that acupuncture can help reduce inflammation and pain by improving circulation and the proper flow of qi, and this can be especially importnat for someone with a Lupus diagnosis.

In fact, the 2008 study entitled 'Acupuncture for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A pilot study RCT feasibility and safety study' published in Sage Journals examined the role of acupuncture as a means of pain treatment within the Lupus population.

Twenty four patients with the SLE manifestation of Lupus were given either standard acupuncture treatment, acupuncture treatments performed with less needles, or to remain on their existing treatment plan without treatment.

The results?

“At the end of the trial, 40% of the patients in both the standard acupuncture treatment group and the minimal needling group experienced an improvement in their pain levels of at least 30%.”

Interestingly but perhaps unsurprisingly, “the group that remained on their usual care plan reported no improvement in their pain levels.”

Ultimately, “the study concluded that acupuncture is a valid, safe and effective method to treat pain in patients with SLE.”

If you hare struggling with a lupus diagnosis and the pain, inflammation and malaise that can typically come with it — you’re not alone. Let NJ Acupuncture Center help.

Acupuncture Without Needles?

Some people are scared of needles. While there’s nothing unsafe or painful about receiving acupuncture treatment, some people’s fear of needles is what keeps them away from receiving the beneficial, wide-ranging treatment that acupuncture provides. While there are key differences between the two, there’s an alternative holistic treatment that is growing in popularity that uses many of the same principles that acupuncture does—tapping.

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“Tapping is a meridian-based therapy that releases negative emotions and self-sabotaging thinking,” Joan Kaylor, a Wahington, Pennsylvania based clinical therapist explains. “It employs the same acupressure points of acupuncture, but without needles.”

Tapping was developed in 1993 by Stanford-trained engineer Gary Craig and has increased in popularity as the years have passed. Like acupuncture, tapping centralizes on points in the body that send energy through meridians.

Although it may seem like anyone can learn tapping on their own and do it from home, like acupuncture, it is best performed by a certified practitioner.

“Someone who has watched YouTube, read a book or who has taken one workshop does not have the experience and training to teach tapping,” Kaylor says. “In addition, the more specific a patient can get about their situation, the better the results. But only a trained tapping practitioner knows how to get specific.”

So what’s the difference. While the principles are the same, the effectiveness of acupuncture has been shown to be more pronounced, leading to more permanent results with fewer visits and treatments. That’s because while tapping may apply pressure to meridian points, acupuncture goes much deeper, penetrating the points and more quickly and effectively releasing energy to the correct points of the body.

Tapping is an alternative for those who may have a fear of needles. And when one sees the benefits from tapping, they are getting just a glimpse of how acupuncture can benefit them.