Backed by more than two thousand years of practice and research, acupuncture has become an increasingly popular choice for those who say they have tried “every treatment out there”. The art and science of acupuncture has been consistently and quietly practiced throughout the world for a whole wide range of conditions. The success of acupuncture can be based on its holistic approach – it looks for the bigger imbalances in the body that cause specific conditions and pains. If you have arthritis in your knees, an acupuncturist may want to take a look at your tongue, your pulse and inquire about your diet and lifestyle. This encompassing range of diagnostic information allows acupuncturists to develop a specific treatment strategy that is exclusive to you and your condition.
Many acupuncture schools have evolved and lot more practitioners have come to develop their own style. However there are still five basic styles of acupuncture and they are explained below:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
TCM is still the general term for the style of acupuncture which most practitioners are schooled in. If not, chances are they were initially trained in TCM anyway. It is still the most prevalent style practiced today. Here, there are a large number of techniques and treatment methods and protocols.
Korean Acupuncture derives many of its techniques and theories from both Traditional Chinese and Japanese acupuncture styles. However, Korean acupuncture uses more of the Five Element Theory. It also emphasizes diagnoses based on the patient’s body type. Under Korean Acupuncture is its popular branch, Korean Hand Acupuncture. In this style, the hands are thought to be a map of the entire body. Using hand acupuncture, practitioners can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions and ailments anywhere in the body just by treating certain points in the hands.
Above and beyond the traditional Chinese medicine, Japanese acupuncture generally aims to use the least amount of stimulus to generate the maximum desired effect. Japanese acupuncture typically uses thinner needles, fewer points and less stimulation than TCM. Practitioners use shallower needle insertions; sometimes they simply graze the tip of the needle on the skin. Also, Japanese acupuncturists are more inclined to use the abdomen as a diagnostic tool than TCM or other styles of acupuncture.
Auricular Acupuncture is usually a specialty area in acupuncture more than it is a general method. It uses the ears as a representation of the patient’s body. It is believed that the practitioner can treat any conditions afflicting in the body, even some psychological issues, by diagnosing with and treating the ear area. Auricular acupuncture is popularly used in drug and alcohol detoxification centers.
Five Element Acupuncture (FEA)
Five Element Acupuncture is an area of expertise for a fewer number of practitioners. The late J.R. Worsley popularized this style of acupuncture. It requires more intensive training and understanding above the normal TCM theories. FEA is quite similar to Japanese Acupuncture in terms of needling style; however, it is more focused on using the psycho-spiritual nature of oneself to heal the condition or disease. Most practitioners of this style usually have done some post-graduate studies already before learning it.