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Acupuncture and Technology

It is unusual for someone to associate the concept of technology with acupuncture, a 3,000-year-old medicine. However, there are forms of technology involved in the practice of acupuncture. One example is the use of heat lamps. Often, when an acupuncturist wants to create warmth in a specific area of the patient’s body he or she will use a heat lamp that is focused on that area of the body. Another use of technology is electronic stimulation of acupuncture points using what is known as an acustim device. This device puts a very mild electronic vibration into the acupuncture needle as it is inserted in the skin. This provides additional stimulation to the action of the movement of energy that the needle by itself provides at a subtler level. Clearly, both of these are modern technology utilized in this ancient treatment.

In addition, there are forms of ancient technology that are involved in acupuncture treatment. The use of moxa, an herb known as mugwort, is used in a ground form on acupuncture points to stimulate both the building and moving of a person’s internal energy. A small amount of this herb is formed into a pyramid shape and placed on an acupuncture point. It is then lit with an incense stick and allowed to warm the acupuncture point until the person tells the acupuncturist that the warmth is felt on the skin. Such warming has been known as warming the hearth before the guest enters. In this case the guest is the acupuncture needle that will add more stimulation to the point. Most patients feel a great sense of relaxation and movement of their energy with the use of moxa.

Other forms of ancient technology applied in acupuncture treatments are two techniques known as gua sha and cupping. Both of these can be used with muscle pain or to relieve an early stage of a cold or congestion. Gua sha is rubbing an implement over the skin to get out toxins that are at the surface level. Cupping involves the use of glass or plastic cups designed to relieve muscle soreness, get rid of an invasion of cold or get energy and blood moving when a muscle has a stagnation such as cramping pain.

Acupuncture technology is both new and old!