Acupuncture treatments may consist of any of several Oriental medicine methods. Some of them include:
Moxibustion is a method of treatment involving the therapeutic application of heat from a burning herb. The herb most commonly used in moxibustion is mugwort (Ai Ye or Moxa, a species of Artemesia). Moxibustion is often used simultaneously with acupuncture to enhance the work of the needles. Moxibustion can be performed in several different ways. One method involves dried mugwort processed into the form of a stick similar to a cigar. This stick is held near acupuncture points to warm them. The moxa may also be burned directly on the body, usually with a medium of salt, ginger, etc. placed between it and the skin. Moxa may also be placed above the skin on the handle of the needle to heat the needle shaft.
Cupping (from acupuncture.com)
Cupping is a modality that uses a partial vacuum in a specifically designed glass cup. When applied to the surface of the skin the underlying soft tissue is drawn into the cup. The cups may be moved to provide a form of massage. Cupping is unique in its ability to provide a negative pressure to the soft tissue.
Electroacupuncture is an acupuncture technique that, in comparison to acupuncture, has only recently come into use. As with traditional acupuncture, needles are inserted on specific points along the body. The needles are then attached to a device that generates small continuous electric pulses. These devices are used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered, depending on the condition being treated. Electroacupuncture uses two needles at a time so that the impulses can pass from one needle to the other. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated simultaneously, usually for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
Tui na is an East Asian bodywork therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tui na uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of qi through the meridians. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques, Tui na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body to naturally heal itself. Tui na methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body and acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of qi. External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments and salves may also be used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.
Qi gong is an ancient form of exercise developed in China over several centuries. Qi gong involves specific breathing practices, precise body movements, meditation and visualization. The practice of qi gong is meant to harmonize the flow of qi in the meridians and organs, producing a healthy body and a calm mind. During a treatment, the clinician may teach various qi gong exercises which the patient can practice at home. The clinician may also use “external qi gong” methods during the treatment. This involves the clinician practicing various forms of qi gong for the benefit of the patient.
Dietary therapy is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese understanding of nutrition divides foods into different categories based upon their tastes and temperatures. A healthy diet depends upon the balance of cool-cold foods and warm-hot foods, as well as a balance of the five flavors (sweet, sour, acrid, bitter and salty). Foods should also be selected based upon harmony with the seasons and climate. During an acupuncture visit, clinicians may give you general dietary advice or they may discuss with you specific foods to treat your health concerns. The clinicians may also ask you to keep a record of what you eat, a “diet diary,” to examine your eating habits and make suggestions for healthy changes.