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Shila Mathew, MD

Board Certified Psychiatrist, Medical Acupuncture, Integrative Medicine

Acupuncture FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different forms of Acupuncture practiced in the US?

There are several methods of stimulating the acupoints. Some of these techniques do not use needles.

In traditional acupuncture, needles are inserted at acupoints just deep enough into the skin to keep them from falling out. This restores balance and a healthy energy flow to the body. The needles are usually left in place for a several minutes.

In Sonopuncture, an ultrasound device transmits sound waves directly to the body's acupoints. Needles are not used. Sonopuncture is sometimes combined with tuning forks and other vibration devices.

Electroacupuncture uses tiny electrical charges to stimulate the same acupoints that are used in traditional acupuncture. Sometimes needles also may be used. Electroacupuncture devices may be used for diagnosis or testing.

In acupressure, therapists press on acupoints with their fingers. No needles are used. This treatment also can be used as part of self-treatment. Sometimes, it is used as part of an entire system of manual healing such as in shiatsu.

In moxibustion, burned herbs are used to stimulate the acupoints.

There are several other variations of acupuncture in use. These involve heat, friction, suction, magnets, or laser beams directed to acupoints (eg., Electromagnetic Therapy, Cold Laser Therapy).

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