The Different Styles of Acupuncture


Over the past 2,500 years, acupuncture has evolved into a complete healing system that includes the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of conditions. This unique and ancient system of understanding the human body incorporates the treatment of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. Health and harmony is achieved when the correct quantity, quality and movement Qi (pronounced “chee”) exists throughout the body. Qi, or Life Energy, animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. Illness, or lack of harmony (imbalance) is a result of the reduced quantity, quality and movement of Qi.


As acupuncture evolved over the years in different parts of the world, a number of styles emerged. Each ones differs in its diagnostic protocol and treatment modality. However, all styles aim to rebalance and harmonize our lives. 


Some of the most common acupuncture styles used at WAY Wellness are listed below.


Traditional Chinese Acupuncture

Also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this is one of the most commonly practiced styles of acupuncture today. TCM practitioners, like other practitioners, seek to restore balance and harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. 


A TCM practitioner focuses on developing a diagnosis based upon the Eight Principles, which are guiding factors used to establish the correct course of care. The Principles are designed to help the practitioner determine whether a condition is in the interior or exterior of the body, if it relates to hot or cold symptoms, if it is an excess (acute) or deficient (chronic) problem, and if it relates to Yin or Yang.


TCM diagnosis also involves four main techniques: pulse diagnosis, observations of a person’s appearance, demeanor and tongue, asking questions, and a physical examination. Once a diagnosis is complete, a practitioner discerns the root pattern of disharmony, and may choose from a variety of techniques – acupuncture, herbs, Oriental nutrition, QiGong, Electro-acupuncture, Acupressure/Tuina, GWA Sha, and Cupping – to restore and maintain health.

Five Element Acupuncture

The Five Element philosophy is based upon the various “Elements” that are found in the natural world: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each Element has correspondences that help a practitioner determine the Element’s relative balance of imbalance. When the Elements are out of balance, symptoms and signs often occur. 


Five Element Acupuncture practitioners focus on how the Elements are interacting with each other. In this system, each Element functions to create, support and control the others, keeping everything in balance .for example, a fire requires a certain amount of weed in order to create a decent flame. Too much wood can burn out of control, but not enough wood can leave you without enough flame to keep you warm. 


By determining the main Element that is out of balance, a Five Element practitioner uncovers the “Causative Factor, “ or underlying cause of a person’s symptoms. Treatment is then focused upon establishing harmony among the Elements.

Japanese Acupuncture

One of the treatment philosophies underlying Japanese Acupuncture is to use the least amount of acupuncture-point stimulation to affect the greatest amount of change. Practitioners who practice this style of acupuncture use thinner and fewer needles, fewer acupuncture points, and shallower needle insertion. Sometimes treatment involves simply touching the surface of the skin with the needles, versus inserting them into the skin.


A practitioner who practices Japanese Acupuncture uses abdominal palpation and other diagnostic tools to determine the underlying imbalance. 

Auricular Acupuncture

Similar to Korean Hand Acupuncture, Auricular Acupuncture uses the ears as a microcosm. Through careful diagnosis and treatment, an acupuncturist can address various physical and emotional conditions using specific points on both ears.


Often this style of acupuncture employs tiny needles, ear seeds, or ear tacks. This allows for a gentle stimulation of auricular points. Ear seeds and tacks may be left in the ears after treatment to apply continuous stimulation to the points. 


Auricular Acupuncture is widely used in drug and alcohol detoxification programs across North America. It is also used in conjunction with outer styles of acupuncture, both as an adjunct to treatment or as a specialty. 

Scalp Acupuncture

Instead of the hands or ears, this style of acupuncture focuses on the scalp as a microcosm, or representation for the entire body. A practitioner treats various health conditions by inserting fine, sterile needles into specific treatment zones on the scalp. This style of acupuncture is especially helpful for motor-impairment and spinal conditions.



Clinical Treatments



Medical QiGong: Personalized prescriptive Self Care

Manual Therapy: massage, cupping, gua sha

Hydrogen water therapy

Internal: tea, Chinese herbs, CBDs,  

Acupuncture: classical, motor sport, electric, auricular

Heat: moxibustion, infrared heat

Topical: custom oils