The Many Uses of Acupuncture, Acupressure, and Other Alternative Means of Stimulation

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an all-inclusive healthcare system that addresses chronic and acute diseases and disorders. It is widely believed to have originated in China more than 3,500 years ago. The philosophy of acupuncture, a healing art grounded on natural law, is to heal without side effects and in a safe way. The aim of this treatment is to advance the process of self healing.

The idea of the existence of life energy called Chi or Qi is where the realignment of the energy field is based on. This energy circulates throughout the body to nourish and regenerate. It moves along energy channels called meridians and is produced by the internal organs of the body.

The whole body and the meridians are continuously “communicating” with each other that help completely maintain harmony to all the body functions. Hence, the muscular, digestive, nervous, and all the other systems of the body coordinate with each other through this network.

It is the responsibility of the acupuncturists to ascertain whether Chi is out of balance, stagnant, or weak that determines acupuncture points to be stimulated.

When Chi flows improperly throughout the body, sickness is created. There are acupuncture points along the meridians in which Chi can be influenced with acupuncture needles and other means of stimulation.

This helps Chi become invigorated and enhances its functions of protecting, transforming, and nourishing. Clinically speaking, acupuncture been tested by time to be a natural and safe way to maintain and restore health.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a healing procedure that follows the same principles as acupuncture. Acupressure involves the application of physical pressure with the use of the elbow, hand, finger, or with the help of mechanical or electrical instruments on specific acupuncture points on the skin.

Simply put:

Acupressure is the massaging of certain acupuncture points. A practitioner can instruct you on how to properly perform acupressure on yourself and on others. This practice is very helpful when you suddenly become afflicted with pain or illness and you’re unable to quickly get to the doctor.

Acupressure can:

• Alleviate nausea in patients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy
• Help relieve post-surgery nausea and vomiting in children
• Promote wellness and boost the immune system
• Relax the body, remove pain and tension, and enhance circulation when performed properly.
• Remove anxiety and fear in pre-operative care and in trauma victims.
• Be a more effective treatment than physical therapy for an overwhelming number of patients suffering from low back pain.
• Be performed anywhere with or without special equipment.

Electronic acupuncture-acupressure massagers

With the surfacing of AIDs and other similar forms of diseases, people are now scared of needles. Although acupuncture is really a very effective mode of treatment, this fear has also affected the number of people willing to try it. To address this problem, some acupuncturists use electronic or electric acupuncture (in which stimulations are conducted with mild pulses of electricity). As a result, the underlying effect of acupuncture remains the same as well as the outcomes.

Nowadays, people can avail of a few different kinds of electro acupuncture acupressure massagers.

In certain instances cases they are called electronic, in some electro. Let me explain this part first.

There is actually an electronic acupuncture machine that generates low current electrical pulses, that you can actually feel on your skin via electric pads (and other contrivances) attached to your body. Therefore, calling this type o acupuncture electronic or electro are both correct.

In essence, electro-acupuncture is the same as acupressure as the electrical pulses that are coursed to the acupuncture points also apply slight pressure on those acupoints.

These machines are called acupuncture massagers (AM) or electro acupuncture massagers (EAM).

What is EMS and TENS?

EMS or Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Wikipedia defines EMS as the stimulation of muscle contraction with the use of electric impulses. EMS is commonly used to treat injured or damaged nerves.


TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a drug-free non-invasive pain alleviation technique that is especially effective for the treatment of arthritis. TENS utilizes pulses that soothe the muscles. They are transmitted along the nerve fibers and by the pads through the skin. The pain signals sent to the brain are suppressed by the pads. TENS also promotes the production and release of body’s own natural pain killing chemicals known as encephalins and endorphins.

Usually the TENS pulses are in the range of 1 to 152 Hz

The AM or EMS pulses are have a lower range level of 1 to 52 Hz, but these pulses have with a higher level of strength.

According to a lot of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and doctors, the higher range of frequencies ranges work better in treating certain illnesses and must be performed in the presence of a physician. On the other hand, the low range of frequencies is more appropriate for muscle stimulation and relief of pain.


Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.