The practice of acupuncture in the United States incorporates medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. Acupuncture is one of the essential elements of Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the oldest, most commonly used medical procedure in the world. Originating in China more than 3,000 years ago, the practice of TCM includes acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, manual therapies such as acupressure, moxibustion, exercises such as tai chi or qi gong, as well as Chinese herbal preparations and dietary therapy.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body, by the insertion of very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles to elicit a predictable physiological response. This stimulus may also be administered to the points using mild electrical stimulation (with or without needles), pressure techniques with the hands (acupressure), or the application of heat by various methods.
Acupuncturists assess a patient’s syndrome or pattern of disharmony by using a set of diagnostic skills that involve four areas: questioning, palpation, visual inspection, and olfactory-auditory data collection. An acupuncturist determines the necessary treatment principle and plans to prompt the patient back to functional harmony by discriminating the exact pattern of the body’s physiological response to pathogenic factors.