Treatment is suitable for most patients except:
Patients who are unwilling or afraid
Bleeding disorders, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet drugs
Skin infections at site of needling
Skin disorders such as psoriasis or eczema
Valvular heart disease (for indwelling needles)
Patients who are going to drive or operate machinery
What are the differences between traditional and modern acupuncture?
The differences are mainly at the level of theory - ideas about what is going on when one inserts an acupuncture needle into a patient. There, are, however, also some practical differences.
Modern acupuncturists do not use traditional diagnostic methods such as the pulse or the appearance of the tongue.
Many, though not all, modern acupuncturists leave the needles in place for quite a short time: often about two minutes or even less.
Many, though not all, modern acupuncturists use only a few needles - perhaps four and sometimes only one! Surprising though this may seem, experience shows that doing acupuncture this way is quite as effective as using a lot of needles and leaving them in for longer and is less likely to have unwanted effects.
Which is better, modern or traditional?
It is not possible to give an objective answer to this question because there is little good research evidence that bears on it. Probably both versions of acupuncture are roughly similar in effectiveness but modern acupuncture is generally quicker and easier to perform. There are also some techniques in the modern version that are not used in traditional acupuncture and which are particularly effective in certain circumstances, e.g. for the treatment of joint pain (arthritis).
How does it work?
We cannot yet explain this, however current theories include pain modulation and endorphin release.