While there are a number of acupuncture practitioners who strictly do acupuncture, you can often find practitioners who use other techniques along with treating your body with tiny needles. If you have a health issue for which you believe acupuncture may be the answer, and you're researching different practitioners who work in your area, it's useful to find one who can use these additional techniques during your sessions. When paired with traditional acupuncture, these varied techniques may be ideal for speeding up the healing process. Here are some examples of other techniques that some practitioners will use.
Acupressure shares many similarities with acupuncture. In the former treatment method, however, needles are not used. Instead, your practitioner will identify a variety of areas of your body, often known as "meridians," and exert pressure on them. This is done by hand; the practitioner will gently or firmly push his or her fingertips into the specified areas of your body. This form of treatment can be a valuable complement to acupuncture, and may be desirable for first-time patients who feel a little anxious about having the needles pushed into their skin.
You'll also find that a number of acupuncture practitioners will also use massage techniques with their patients. Some practitioners will use these two therapies back to back. For example, the practitioner will identify the areas that need to be treated, massage them in a specific manner, and then push the needles into place. Then, you'll be required to lie on the table as still as possible for a designated amount of time so that the needles can do their work. This treatment pairing is pleasant because the massage component will promote deep relaxation, which can help to ease your mind and help you relax while the needles are in place.
There are lots of acupuncture practitioners who rely on cupping to successfully treat their patients' issues. In cupping, a glass cup is pressed onto your skin and provides a gentle sucking sensation. The application of acupuncture needles can then be used in conjunction with the cupping techniques to move blocked energy in your body and help in the healing process. Cupping is a technique that received a lot of attention during the 2016 Olympics, as top-tier athletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps had visible circular marks on his upper body that were left as a result of receiving cupping treatments.