What is the difference between Traditional Acupuncture and Medical Acupuncture?

Traditional Acupuncture


Traditional Acupuncture:

Holistic Approach: Traditional acupuncture is rooted in the holistic principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners consider the balance of vital energy or “qi” flowing through the body’s meridians. The goal is to restore balance and harmony in the body as a whole, rather than targeting specific symptoms.

Diagnosis: Traditional acupuncturists base their diagnosis on TCM principles, which  involves assessing the flow of qi, examining the tongue and pulse, and considering the patient’s overall constitution. This diagnosis guides the selection of acupuncture points.


There is two main ways on how to practise Tradition Acupuncture. One involves local needling (needles go where the pain is) and the other involves distal needling (you never needle where the pain is)

I personally have found over the years that distal needling is superior in pain
reduction and long term results so that is all I use in my practice.

The phylosophy with distal needling is that the patients brain is used to assist the correct blood flow so internal organs can heal themselves. Treatment is then tapered off once the patients body has been reminded how to heal.

Treatment Approach: Traditional acupuncture is often used for a wide range of conditions, not just specific symptoms. The focus is on addressing underlying imbalances and promoting overall well-being. It is considered a holistic therapy that can influence various aspects of a person’s health.


Medical Acupuncture:

Integration with Western Medicine: “Medical acupuncture” is often practiced by conventional healthcare professionals, such as medical doctors, physical therapists, or chiropractors. It is typically integrated into a Western medical framework and used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional treatments.

Diagnosis: Medical acupuncture may incorporate traditional Chinese medical principles, but they also use a Western medical diagnosis to guide their treatment. The acupuncture points chosen are often based on a specific medical condition or symptom.

Treatment Approach: The treatment approach in medical acupuncture may be more focused on addressing specific symptoms or conditions, such as pain management, nausea, or musculoskeletal issues. It is often used in conjunction with other medical interventions.




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