The Orlando acupuncturist may want to take your pulse at several points along the wrist and look at the shape, color, and coating of your tongue. The acupuncturist may also look at the color and texture of your skin, your posture, and other physical characteristics that offer clues to your health. You will lie down on a padded examining table, and the acupuncturist will insert the needles, twirling or gently jiggling each as it goes in. You may not feel the needles at all, or you may feel a twitch or a quick twinge of pain that disappears when the needle is completely inserted. Once the needles are all in place, you rest for 15 – 60 minutes. During this time, you’ll probably feel relaxed and sleepy and may even doze off.
For certain conditions, acupuncture is more effective when the needles are heated, using a technique known as “moxibustion.” The acupuncturist lights a small bunch of the dried herb moxa or mugwort and holds it above the needles. The herbs which are burned slowly to give off a little smoke and pleasant incense like smell will never touch the body. Another variation is electrical acupuncture. This technique consists of hooking up electrical wires to the needles and running a weak current through them. In this procedure, you may feel a mild tingling or nothing at all. Acupuncturists trained in Chinese herbal preparations may prescribe herbs along with acupuncture.
Different Styles of Acupuncture
There are several different approaches to acupuncture. Among the most common in the United States today are:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) based acupuncture — the most commonly practiced in the United States, it bases a diagnosis on eight principles of complementary opposites (yin/yang, internal/external, excess/deficiency, hot/cold).
- French energetic acupuncture — mostly used by MD acupuncturists, it emphasizes meridian patterns, in particular the yin yang pairs of primary meridians.
- Korean hand acupuncture — based on the principle that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
- Auricular acupuncture — this technique is widely used in treating addiction disorders. It is based on the idea that the ear is a reflection of the body and that applying acupuncture needles to certain points on the ear affects corresponding organs.
- Myofascially based acupuncture — often practiced by physical therapists, it involves feeling the meridian lines in search of tender points, then applying needles. Tender points indicate areas of abnormal energy flow.
- Japanese styles of acupuncture — sometimes referred to as “meridian therapy,” it emphasizes needling technique and feeling meridians in diagnosis.
The number of acupuncture treatments you need depends on the complexity of your illness, whether it’s a chronic or recent condition, and your general health. For example, you may need only one treatment for a recent wrist sprain, while a long-standing, chronic illness may require treatments for several months to achieve good results.