The 2 Types of Acupuncture


Problems of the body can be divided into 2 broad categories, whether we are talking about ancient Chinese medicine or Modern Western medicine. Those categories are:

External Medicine (orthopedics)-

problems of the muscles/skeletal system or

Internal Medicine

problems of the internal organs, glands, etc. We could further divide things but this is the basic concept. Some practitioners specialize in internal medicine and some specialize in external medicine. The “bible” of acupuncture “Emperor Huang’s Classic of Medicine” ( Huang Di Nei Jing) was written more than 2,000 years ago and describes, in Chapter 13 of the Ling Shu, how to treat problems of the muscles. It says to treat the painful points along the course of the muscles.

Ashi (literally “that’s it!”) acupuncturists

treat the knots in the muscles that are called Ashi points. These are called “trigger points” by MD’s and a future blog post will explain more how modern doctors reinvented acupuncture for the treatment of pain.

Meridian Acupuncturists

(the style most acupuncturists practice in America) rely on complex metaphysical theories to decide which points should be treated. They don’t believe that the Chinese were describing the vascular system, even though all basic acupuncture textbooks admit that blood flows in the so called “meridians”. They believe they are treating a network of energy conduits. That somehow they can find these conduits and insert a needle into the conduit and then some magical energy enters your body through the needle.

Ashi point acupuncturists rely on their hands and your body to find the exact spots where your pain is coming from.