Acupuncture Styles

Acupuncture – Different styles



At On Point Acupuncture,  the treatments are gentle and patients may feel only a minor and transitory sensation, similar to a small mosquito bite, which completely disappears after a brief moment. The patients comfort and positive experience is a priority in each treatment. Once placed, the needles remain painlessly in place for the 20-30 minutes while the patient falls into a deep, relaxed state. Often patients find that they nap as the room and table are warmed while soothing music quietly plays in the background.

Be aware that there are several different styles of acupuncture and each has its application and strengths. Experience has shown that certain health issues may be more responsive to one particular style of acupuncture over another or certain individuals may respond favorably to a certain style.

To determine which style is best for you, please read further so that we can discuss your treatment needs during your appointment


Japanese Acupuncture: There are key differences between Japanese and Chinese style of acupuncture. As the oldest form of acupuncture, Japanese style is deeply steeped in classical Daoism. The style uses notably thinner and fewer needles than TCM as well as gentle and shallow placement of the needles with an emphasis on palpating the body. Historically in Japan, acupuncture and massage are traditionally professions of the blind.  For this reason diagnosis and treatment by touch has been refined and perfected and is the reason each point is palpated before needling. Japanese style acupuncture is most often used for patients who may be needle sensitive or who can not tolerate a stronger Chinese style. In addition to physical complaints, it is highly effective for the treatment of emotional disorders such as depression, ADD and ADHD and for the treatment of the aged or youth. It is also ideal as preventative medicine. Japanese style acupuncture is a subtle and intuitive form of acupuncture.


Chinese Acupuncture: Developed over thousands of years in China, the most popular and current style practiced in the United States is known as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Despite the term ‘traditional’, this style is a modern version developed in the People’s Republic of China during the 1950’s when Mao Tse Tung sought to modernize Chinese culture. As a result, TCM incorporates modern methods such as the use of electric stimulation. TCM style of acupuncture is most often used for pain control, musculo-skeletal problems, acute conditions as well as for conditions related to internal medicine and their physical symptoms. Its effectiveness is due in part to strong stimulation of the points and often uses more needles than other protocols.


Five Element acupuncture: Its underpinnings are rooted in the ancient theory that the forces of nature are mirrored in the human being. These forces are known as The Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) which are interconnected, one depending on the other in a never ending cycle. These elements (or phases) correspond to the human being in regards to the body, the mind and the spirit. Disharmony arises when there is a pattern of imbalance on any of those three levels. Rather than focusing on treating only physical symptoms, Five Element Acupuncture takes into account the whole being: the significance of mental and emotional states, as well as personal and spiritual development in the context of regaining balance and health. Similar to Japanese acupuncture, very few needles are used and those points are often below the knees and elbows as well as on the back.