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Styles of acupuncture

Traditional acupuncture as practised by members of the BAcC is based on Chinese medicine principles that have been developed, researched and refined for over 2,500 years. Traditional acupuncture is holistic, not focused on isolated symptoms. It regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign the whole body is out of balance.


Different schools of traditional acupuncture vary slightly in needling style and diagnostic techniques but all concentrate on improving overall wellbeing by treating the root cause of an illness as well as relieving symptoms. All styles of acupuncture spring from the same Chinese medical roots.

Within traditional acupuncture there are several specific techniques which can be used as stand-alone treatments. All BAcC members are familiar with these techniques and use them when appropriate, usually as part of an overall individualised treatment plan. In addition to needling acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncture treatment may include other Chinese medicine techniques such as:

  • moxibustion: application of indirect heat using moxa (therapeutic herbs) and/or heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and energy meridians
  • tuina (Chinese therapeutic massage): to relieve muscle tension, stimulate acupressure points, open energy meridians and stimulate the flow of qi
  • electro-acupuncture: a very low frequency electrical current (1Hz) is applied to the needle to increase blood flow, relax muscle tissue and clear stagnant qi
  • cupping: glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi
  • guasha: vigorous rubbing of the skin to increase blood flow and clear stagnant qi


Auricular acupuncture uses acupuncture points located on the ear. Often used with other styles of acupuncture or on its own.

Medical acupuncture is practised by osteopaths, doctors, and physiotherapists. Basic needling techniques are used within the framework of a western medical diagnosis to relieve symptoms such as pain and headache.

Trigger point acupuncture is practised by osteopaths and physiotherapists to treat musculo-skeletal pain.

Other healthcare professionals may learn these techniques as an adjunct to their main therapy.

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