If you’ve ever been to an acupuncturist, or even seen pictures of acupuncture, it may seem mysterious and foreign to you. You may wonder how it works, and how the acupuncturist knows where to put the needles.
Acupuncture points act like “on and off ramps” to your body’s energy pathways. By needling into various points, your practitioner can access both your pathways and deeper organs. Which points to needle are determined by a number of variables such as the following:
-Local or distant points: Generally, a mix of points is used, some near the area of pain or imbalance and some farther away on your body.
-Pathways involved: If a pain condition is being treated, then pathways affected by the pain might be chosen. For conditions involving your organs, various pathways might be used. Many pathways go deep and connect with your internal organs, and almost always points on more than one pathway will be chosen.
-Function of each point: Each acupuncture point has specific indications or actions. Points with a desired action will be chosen based on your particular pattern.
-Combinations of points: Many acupuncture points work in combination with others. Again, a pair or set of points might be used for their ability to enhance a treatment when used together.
-Preference of the practitioner: Acupuncturists often use the particular points which work best for them in the clinic. This relationship between the acupuncturist and the points chosen is an important aspect of each treatment.
-Style of acupuncture practiced: The style of acupuncture your practitioner uses will also determine which points will be chosen. For example, Auricular acupuncture uses points located in your ear, Korean Hand acupuncture is limited to your hand, and practitioners of five-phase acupuncture tend to use only points below your elbow and knees.