Three Types of Acupuncture and Their Many Health Benefits

3 Types of Acupuncture

Although acupuncture, sometimes referred to as needling, originated in China over 2,500 years ago, other Eastern countries have altered the basic techniques to use to their benefit. In addition to China, Japan and Korea also use a variation of the basic technique.

In Japan finer needles are used and placed more shallowly than the technique used by Chinese acupuncturists. While living in S. Korea, I found that acupuncturists often work only on the hand. My acupuncturist used very tiny needles. (See link below for more detailed information about Korean hand acupuncture).

Note: Did you know there are veterinarians also using acupuncture? (See link below)

What is the principal behind acupuncture?

The principal behind acupuncture is that 12 meridians are in the human body that allow energy - or qi (chee) - to flow. When the meridians are out of balance or blocked, the results are pain and illness. To restore the body to its rightful balance an acupuncturist inserts needles at very specific points along the meridians and the tributaries.

Note: In Korean hand acupuncture it is believed that the hand can also have these strategic points.

But how do we know acupuncture works?

During my visit to Beijing where I went on a tour of a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) hospital - there was also a museum dedicated to acupuncture. It was absolutely staggering the amount of information and training that went along with TCM including acupuncture. (See link below for my visit to the Beijing hospital and the amazing examinations).

While Western medicine has been hesitant to embrace acupuncture, it is the patients themselves who are demanding pain relief - and getting it from acupuncture. As a result more studies are being conducted again and again. Most recently, during a review of acupuncture at Beth Israel Hospital here in NYC, it was found that 20 benefits of acupuncture were scientifically established. Benefits include a boost to the immune system through the release of anti-inflammatories which in turn help healing along with reducing swelling, the release of pain killing endorphins along with an increase in the number of endorphin receptors in the brain.

My reason for opting for acupuncture is the lack of serious side effects. This is something the use of Western pain-killing pharmaceuticals cannot claim. What's important here is that many patients, through the use of acupuncture, are finding relief from a wide range of illnesses.

What are some of the health conditions acupuncture is used to treat?

Pain - Dozens of studies have shown acupuncture to be more effective than conventional medicine in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, for the treatment of lower back pain and to treat migraine symptoms at least as well as conventional medications. I found with Korean hand acupuncture it eliminated pain I was feeling in my shoulder, but it also cleared up my right nasal passage which I did not realize was slightly blocked. We do get used to living with certain conditions and they just become normal.

Stress, Mild Depression, Anxiety - By releasing calming feel-good neurotransmitters like the endorphins and reducing cortisol - a stress hormone, acupuncture counteracts our fight or flight responses while easing sadness, and soothing tension and our nervous system. Additionally, acupuncture has been show to oxygenate the tissues, remove cortisol and improve blood circulation.

Menopausal Hot Flashes - A study showed that acupuncture can reduce hot flashes by 50 percent. As an added benefit - these results remain for three months after a final treatment. It is believed that acupuncture regulates the part of the nervous system that controls blood vessel diameter which in turn has an effect on heart rate, blood vessel dilation and blood pressure - this would prevent the body from overheating.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy - Studies have also shown acupuncture to be beneficial in reducing the side effects of chemo treatment by relieving pain and nausea as well as neurological symptoms including tingling skin and dizziness. Additional benefits include a reduction in ongoing pain, depression, fatigue and an improvement in a weakened immune system.

Additional Uses Include:

- an improvement in digestive problems such as nausea and vomiting, as a treatment for reflux, as well as backache pain.

Why do we fear acupuncture?

It's the thought of needles. The first time I had acupuncture, I figured if I didn't look it would not be painful. In fact the anticipation made it much worse. So I decided to look and that actually became quite fascinating. I thought "You mean I can be pain free and not have to worry about liver damage from the use of acetaminophen?" If you fear needles, you may want to try the Korean acupuncture which is only in the hand. My acupuncturist even taped a very tiny needle to part of my hand - this I wore home. When I had acupuncture that included my feet the needles did not bother me at all.

What should I expect?

How it works is that the thin flexible needles (about one and a half inches, and much tinier for the Korean hand acupuncture) are inserted at certain points, then two twists and a tap for stimulation and the needle is pulled out. Some acupuncturists may leave needles in longer. It depends on your health conditions and various techniques. My hand acupuncturists let the needles stay in for a bit - and we drank some cherry tea.

What qualifications should I look for in an acupuncturist?

Your acupuncturist should have a state license. Requirements vary in each state, but should include 2,000 to 3,000 hours of training, usually as part of a master's degree program. A series of written exams is required at the more than 65 accredited acupuncture schools in the US.

Note: A doctor who is an acupuncturist does not have to have this state license, but is required by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture to have a total of 300 hours of training, 2 years of practice and successfully passing a required exam.

Specialty Areas:

Many acupuncturists have areas of expertise such as neurology, pain management and orthopedics. Be sure to know if your acupuncturists prefers to work in a specific area for best results.

Costs and Treatment Seesions:

Sessions are usually an hour long and can costs between $50 to over $100. Depending on your condition you may need two or three treatments per week for several weeks.

See links below for more information about Korean acupuncture, my visit to a TCM clinic in Beijing, as well as a wide range of other alternative therapies.

While in Beijing...
While in Beijing... | Source

Ready For Acupuncture?

Do You Think You Will Try a Form of Acupuncture?

  • Yes, it sounds safe and effective
  • Not if needles are involved
  • I will consider it for my pets
See results without voting

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Comments 22 comments

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 4 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

BK, I wasn't aware there were several types of acupuncture. My late mother went for treatment for pain in her legs due to poor circulation and it helped in giving her relief for hours.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for sharing that information VioletSun. It is so important that we all learn from each other that acupuncture in a safe alternative to toxic pain killers. If I did not live in S. Korea and actively explore acupuncture I never would have experienced the hand acupuncture treatments - it is still relatively new - maybe 30 years old.


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

I never knew about Japanese and Korean acupuncture. This is great information. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.


PWalker281 4 years ago

A very comprehensive overview of acupuncture, BKC. I have to honest, I have shied away from it because of the needles. I prefer chiropractic and massage, but after reading your hub, I may have to check it out. I'm wondering if it will help alleviate this tinnitus that has really been bothering me recently.

Voted up, useful, and (very) interesting.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

I have a horrid fear of needles, but as you mentioned the side effects of drugs is a lot worse. My husband and I gasp when we watch the advertisements on TV re: this that and the other drug. The cure is worse than the disease. You've given me food for thought. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked useful and interesting.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad you find the information useful hoteltravel - this way there may be a type of acupuncture that you prefer.

You know PWalker 281 - as long as I look at the needles and the insertion - it doesn't bother me. It is the anticipation of the unknown but still I had no reason to scream or run out the door. If I have chronic pain I will use acupuncture before I rely on toxic drugs. Thanks for the votes.

It just staggers me too pmmcray when I listen to and read those drug ads. Often one of the side effects is...death!!! Are we that crazy? After being exposed to the benefits of a wide range of so-called alternative yet effective treatments I will never consider convential medicine again. Thanks for the votes.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

I haven't tried acupuncture yet but I do use massage therapy and chiropractor which has helped me. I don't like the side effects of most drugs so refuse to use them. I think I will look into acupuncture as we have a number of them here. I am always slow to check out something new but will see what we have.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 4 years ago from Utah

This is very interesting. I understand some are using lazer light therapy instead of needles and get the same results. This is all very interesting to me.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm so glad mljdgulley that we are opting for alternative treatments that don't leave us reeling from the side effects. I'm glad you mentioned massage therapy because I just recommended it to a friend. Hope acupuncture works as well for you!

Thanks for pointing out the lazer light therapy HealthyHanna. I think that type of therapy is becoming popular as well for animals. I would certainly give it a try. Hmmmm - sounds like a great hub topic!


TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 4 years ago from New York City

I've had the Korean hand acupuncture here in NYC and it works! Thanks for a great hub - rated up!


CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 4 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

I'm so glad this is available for pets. I'd much prefer that as an option and herbs rather than toxic drugs. Rated up.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you TheListLady - I too am a big fan of Korean hand acupuncture and would highly recommend it for first timers who don't think they can handle needles all over. And thanks too for the rating!

I'm with you there CountryCityWoman - I do not want to fill my kitty with toxic drugs - if people have side effects why not our pets. They too deserve better. Thanks for commenting and the rating!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 4 years ago from India

I've heard of acupuncture and seen it on TV but never come even close to seeing it in real life. In India acupressure is far more popular. It uses the same 12 medians and points but no needles!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for pointing that out about acupressure cashmere. It seems to be gaining in popularity here in the USA and I would certainly try it.


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 4 years ago from Tumkur

A very useful hub.Thanks.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome prasadjain! Thanks for commenting!


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 4 years ago from India

Hi bkcreative,

Acupuncture got very famous here few years back but now it looks like no one is interested much here as I don't hear anyone getting this treatment. Here it was advertised as Chinese effective treatment for many ailments. I hope it picks up again as it looks like have no side effects and certainly no surgery.


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

My friend had some experience of accupuncture and found it very effective after he survived a motor bike accident. He suffered spinal shock and none of the other alternative therapies he tried had any effect at all. He recovered a lot but still got restricted movements. Thanks for sharing this useful article. Rated up and shared.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Good to hear acupuncture proved helpful for your friend. My nephew has also used it when nothing else worked. Thanks for the vote!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

It is the lack of side effects that I really like! Here is the USA very toxic drugs are prescribed for pain - always with serious side effects!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Acupuncture is one of the old ancient therapy for health. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

prasetio30 - without side effects how can we not try this as an option. Thanks for commeting.

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