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  • Writer's pictureFrancesco Holistic

Exploring the Different Types of Acupuncture: Electroacupuncture, Trigger Points and More

Updated: Feb 21

If you’re looking to relieve pain, increase your overall wellness and improve your health, then you’re in the right place. Acupuncture can help you achieve those goals!


A young woman performs exercises in the park. Practicing wellness activity.

But there are so many types of acupuncture out there. How do I know which one is right for me? This blog will help you learn what acupuncture is, what the different types of acupuncture are, and how to achieve acupuncture pain relief.


What is Acupuncture?


"Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles with are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner's hands or with electrical stimulation." (John Hopkins Medicine)


Close-up picture of someone using acupuncture needles.

North America is finally accepting acupuncture as a complementary practice that supports Western medicine. Acupuncture is known to boost the immune system, regulate the nervous system and bring the endocrine system into balance.  


Are you looking for a West Edmonton Acupuncturist? Then allow me to introduce myself… Hi! My name is Francesco, from Francesco Holistic. I’m a practicing acupuncturist and massage therapist in Edmonton, AB. 


Different Types of Acupuncture


Now that we understand the basic definition of acupuncture, let’s dig into the different types of acupuncture.


Types of Acupuncture:

  • Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM)

  • Electroacupuncture

  • Moxibustion Acupuncture

  • Dry Needling

  • Acupressure


Someone wearing gloves inserting acupuncture needles.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM)


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture is the most well-known style of acupuncture. TCM practitioners believe that the body contains more than 2000 acupuncture points connected along meridians or pathways. It is based on the theory of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the energy flow along these meridians in the body. 


Chinese acupuncture. A lady inserting acupuncture needles into a patient's back.

Disruptions in these pathways cause disease and illness, and TCM acupuncture aims to improve the flow of Qi.


Best for treating: musculoskeletal pain (neck, back, knees), insomnia, nausea, migraines, headaches, anxiety, TMJ pain and more.


A woman has acupuncture needles in her face and scalp.

Electroacupuncture


Electroacupuncture is a type of acupuncture that uses two needles instead of one and passes a soft electric current between them during treatment. 


The electrical current is typically between 40 - 80 volts and causes the patient to feel a subtle humming and pulsating feeling. Due to the response of the nervous system to electroacupuncture, and the release of endorphins, pain relief from electroacupuncture can last longer than traditional treatments. 


Best for treating: chronic pain, muscle spasms, arthritis, tinnitus and more.


Want to learn more about electroacupuncture? Read more about its numerous benefits here


Electroacupuncture performed on a patient's back, with needles.

Moxibustion Acupuncture


Moxibustion is a treatment often used alongside traditional acupuncture methods, and it involves the use of heat and plants.


Moxa sticks or cones are lit and used to warm points on your body and are made from dried and ground-up mugwort leaves. Your acupuncturist can also burn mugwort herb over the needles for a warming and relaxing effect.


Best for treating: joint pain, indigestion, gastrointestinal (GI) issues, infertility and menstrual cramps.


A moxa stick is lit around acupuncture needles for a moxibustion acupuncture treatment.

Dry Needling


Dry needling is a technique designed to relieve muscle tightness and knots. It’s used by acupuncturists, physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals to treat musculoskeletal and movement issues.


Dry needling practitioners believe that inserting a needle directly into a pressure point will release tension in the surrounding muscles. The “in-and-out” technique can be used, where the needle is inserted for only a minute or two to provide quick relief.


Best for treating: upper back, neck and shoulders pain, TMJ pain, headaches, whiplash, tendonitis, joint issues and more. 


A healthcare practitioner is dry needling a patient's shoulder.

Acupressure


Acupressure is an alternative medicine therapy based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that is often used in conjunction with acupuncture. 


Practitioners will use their hands, elbows, or special devices to apply pressure to points on the body’s meridians to encourage the movement of Qi. Although research on the effectiveness of acupressure is in its infancy, there have been studies that have shown it to be effective in pain relief and in reducing nausea post-surgery.


Best for treating: nausea (post-surgery, after chemotherapy, pregnancy-related), back pain, headaches, depression and anxiety. It’s great for those who have an aversion to needles!


A healthcare practitioner massaging a hand, adding pressure for an acupressure treatment.

Acupuncture Pain Relief


Acupuncture has been long used for pain relief and for improving health, with its first appearance as a form of treatment in the Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, dating back to 100 BCE.


Conditions Treated By Acupuncture:


Conditions that can be treated with different types of acupuncture:


  • Neck pain

  • Lower back pain

  • Nerve pain

  • Knee pain

  • Headache and migraine

  • Allergies

  • Insomnia

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Anxiety

  • Tennis elbow

  • Arthritis

  • Tendonitis

  • Sciatica

  • Gut Health

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues


And more…


A young woman is holding her neck in pain.

Want to know more about acupuncture pain relief, and symptoms treated by acupuncture? Read our blog, “What Can Acupuncture Treat List”.


Is Acupuncture Right for Me?


How do I know if acupuncture is the right treatment choice for me? There are a few routes you can follow to determine your next steps.


Book a Consultation


Book a consultation with an acupuncturist to discuss your symptoms, treatment recommendations or health risks. They can offer their suggestions or concerns, and help guide you along your personalized treatment plan.


Healthcare practitioner writing on a clipboard during a consultation.

I would love to meet you! I’m an acupuncturist based in West Edmonton and would love to help guide you along your healing journey. Book in with me here!


Do your Research


Acupuncture can treat many conditions, and has been proven effective in pain relief for many Canadians. Read more about its use, effectiveness, and medical research online to make health choices that align with you.


To read more about acupuncture treatments, click here.


Talk to Your Family Doctor


Don’t just take my word for it. Talk to your doctor and healthcare professionals to see if acupuncture is right for you.


A elderly patient is talking to her family doctor.

Achieve your Goals with the Different Types of Acupuncture


Acupuncture can help you relieve pain symptoms, aid you in your wellness goals, and improve your quality of life!


Do you still have questions about acupuncture before taking the plunge? Read through some acupuncture FAQ’s here, or get in touch with me! Give me a call at 780 224 7111 or email me here.


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