On a first visit to an acupuncturist, the patient may be surprised that the Western medical diagnosis for his or her problem is of little importance to the practitioner in forming an assessment. In fact, two patients with an identically named disease may be treated in a different way according to their particular pattern of symptoms and energy imbalances. After a detailed assessment, which includes the patient’s responses, pulse, and overall nature of pain or discomfort, an acupuncturist assesses and formulates the treatment.
Acupuncture points are chosen with the use of moxibustion (an herbal heating method), heating lamps, massage, and cupping (a technique that removes stagnation by the application of cups that create a suction effect). Laser therapy, ear therapy, and exercise may be applied to improve energy flow and restore the body’s own self-healing powers. Healing begins and symptoms disappear by their own accord. In essence, acupuncture helps restore health rather than remove disease. Herein lies the major difference in the approach of Eastern medicine as opposed to Western medicine. That and acupuncture’s unique patient-practitioner relationship is what distinguishes this medicine.