Understanding Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicinal Techniques

Traditional Chinese Medicinal

Literally speaking, acupuncture comes from the Latin words ‘acus’ meaning “needle” and ‘punctura meaning “a pricking” which itself comes from the Classical Latin word ‘pungere’ – “to pierce”. Therefore when these two words are combined it means “pricking with a needle”. Most people understand this as the word is a part of contemporary culture and that it has been around for a considerable period of time and it is seen as a traditional Chinese therapy. However, in spite of this a lot of us don’t really understand much more than that or exactly what it entails, what it is used for and how it is done. It is a form of alternative medicine and it is intended to affect the body in a wide range of ways. Whilst there is wide conjecture regarding its genuine effectiveness it would be useful to understand more about its proposed benefits.

Acupuncture for Pain Relief

By inserting very fine needles at specific points it is claimed that bodily pains can be reduced. Typically between 4 and 10 needles are placed into the appropriately deemed areas and then you are left to rest for up to half an hour. It is usually conducted over a period of multiple sessions and it is recommended you do this for at least three months. The relief that it is said to be used for is back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, headaches and shoulder pain.


Sometimes acupuncture is administered alongside moxibustion. This is a procedure where cones full of a dried herb, named mugwort, are burned directly on to or just next to the skin. In ancient practices this was used for more severe cases of pain. It is claimed that it alleviates the cold or “yang deficiency” which builds up in the body. This process can scar the skin when it is done directly and left to blister. This can be done in the same way but the cone is removed before it causes a burn mark and also can just be applied indirectly where no marks are left.


Cupping is where a suction is created to stick a cup to the body of a patient. The vacuum which is caused when administering it draws the skin out slightly and the cup is left in place for a short period of time. The areas where it has been done will leave circular blemishes and it is believed to help with pains, particularly deep tissue problems. It has been performed for around 3000 years and it has a certain popularity in spite of the contradictory information regarding its effectiveness. There was even evidence of athletes at the Olympics displaying the easily recognisable signs of having experienced cupping.

Facial Acupuncture

Also known as cosmetic acupuncture, this is claimed to be a means to treat the symptoms of ageing. Many an acupuncture clinic is beginning to provide this procedure and it is said to stimulate the body’s natural restorative abilities and increase circulation in order to make the effects of wrinkles be diminished. As with standard acupuncture a series of needles are inserted into, in this case, the face and you lie back and wait. Actresses such as Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie have been known to receive this form of acupuncture.