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  • Writer's pictureHelen Lucy Reid

Acupuncturist is not the right word. We do so much with no needles.

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Yes we are acupuncturists, but typically your average acupuncturist can offer a lot more than just acupuncture.

These non-needle techniques are not to be sniffed at, and are not 'lesser treatments'. In fact, some of these treatments are sometimes combined with acupuncture treatments quite regularly. Such as:

Acupressure - the use of finger pressure or Chinese Massage techniques or even tiny seeds on the areas of acupuncture points and along acupuncture meridians.

a patient's back with the practitioner using gentle pressure from their fingers along the meridians of the back
Acupressure along the Bladder meridian

Guasha - gentle scrapping of the skin with single-use metal lids.

Cupping - the use of vacuumed cups on the body, usually the back and shoulders.

A patient's back with three glass cups.  The skin and muscles of the back are sucked into the cups forming red marks on the back.
Cupping on the muscles of the back

Moxa - burning of the herb Artemisia vulgaris (sounds like we are in Hogwart's!) on the body or above the body using a stick or a box to warm acupuncture points or areas of the body. When placed as a cone on your body, the cone is removed before the heat makes contact with your skin.

Two cones of moxa being lit on a patient's left shoulder
Moxa cones for the shoulder

Shonishin - the use of metal rods to stimulate acupuncture points without piercing the skin, typically used in babies, young children and delicate adults.

Small metal rod called shonishin for non-needle acupuncture point stimulation
Shonshin rod for children and delicate patients

Lifestyle advice - Advice about your diet, exercise and self-care tips for home. Get a taster of what lifestyle advice you can expect here.

Massage - some acupuncturists will have done additional training in massage, such as completing an ITEC level three in massage. Your massage therapist will manipulate muscles and acupuncture meridians to move qi and tonify the body.

A therapist uses pressure on the patient's palm to massage the muscles of the hand.
Massage of the hand

Here are a couple of cautionary notes:

Don't trust images you see when you do an Internet search! I have trained thoroughly to use all of the above techniques, and I must say that an image search on the Internet brings up some appalling images which are definitely not what is involved in any of the above treatments. The images I have used above are what you can expect from a qualified therapist.

Check out the credentials of your therapist! I have seen many people claiming to offer the above treatments, but who are inexperienced, not adequately qualified or insured, or not a member of a professional regulatory body. If your therapist claims to be a member of a professional regulatory body, you can visit the regulatory body's website to check the therapist is a full member. If you ask, your acupuncturist should be able to provide you with copies of their qualifications. Don't feel bad if you want to ask, it would be our pleasure to know you expect the highest standards from your therapist.

Logo for British Acupuncture Council Members

logo of the Professional Standards Authority Accredited Register

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