Most acupuncture techniques have been continually practiced for hundreds or even thousands of years, in China and other parts of the world. Electroacupuncture, however, is a relatively new form of the ancient treatment method, which was developed in the 20th century.
The basic idea behind electroacupuncture is very similar to that of acupuncture. Specific points along the body are stimulated in order to help energy flow properly throughout the body. The main difference is that small amounts of electricity are used in order to further stimulate the points during treatment. Electroacupuncture continuously stimulates the specific acupoints more effectively, more precisely, and in a more controlled way than stimulation by hand. The frequency and intensity of the stimulation delivered can be precisely adjusted, to a level simply not possible by hand.
Just like traditional acupuncture, there are both needle and needleless forms of electroacupuncture. In the former, specific needles are put in the acupoints and then attached to a device that produces continuous electric impulses using small clips. In other cases, a type of electrodes are taped on the acupoints and stimulated from there, with no needles. The process is not painful and safe, if it is administered by a licensed expert.
Because electroacupuncture is a relatively new method, fewer studies have been done to show its effectiveness. Some studies have shown it to be effective for conditions like hypertension or pain management. It has also been studied for treating skin conditions and nausea.
There are cases in which electroacupuncture should not be used. This treatment is generally not appropriate for patients that use pacemakers, are in the third trimester of pregnancy, or have a history of seizures, epilepsy, or strokes. Before trying electroacupuncture, or any other treatment, be sure to discuss your specific case with a licensed, experienced expert. Dr. Maryam Mansouri is a licensed acupuncturist with over 20 years of experience in different forms of acupuncture, including electroacupuncture, in the Irvine and Orange County area.
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