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What is modern acupuncture?
The difference between traditional and modern acupuncture lies mainly at the level of theory - ideas about what is going on when one inserts an acupuncture needle into a patient.

There are, however, some practical differences. Modern acupuncturists use less needles and leave them in place for quite a short time. They do not use traditional diagnostic methods such as pulse or tongue appearance.

How does it work?

We cannot yet explain this in detail but we do have some clues.
  • In many cases the acupuncturist makes use of "trigger points". These are areas, usually in muscle, that hurt when pressed and cause pain to radiate to other places. Needling the trigger point can relieve pain in these distant areas, although we do not know exactly how this happens.
  • Acupuncture can still work even when there are no trigger points. In such cases it probably acts by changing the ways in which the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is transmitting information about pain.
Acupuncture is usually not pain-free. However, it is no more painful than an ordinary injection or blood test and in many cases it is less painful than these. As a rule it is necessary to produce a little pain to achieve an improvement but some people feel nothing at all. All needless are disposed after use, so there is no possibility that AIDS or other infection can be transmitted.

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Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy