There are different types of acupuncture. Whichever you decide to use, they are designed to do the same thing and that is to relieve pain or treat certain diseases.
The first is called TCM based acupuncture. Here, it uses eight principles of complementary opposites to create harmony in the body. These include yin/yang, internal/external, excess/deficiency, hot/cold.
Next is called French energetic acupuncture. This is often used by MD acupuncturists. Meridian patterns are emphasized here particularly the yin-yang pairs of primary meridians.
Korean hand acupuncture is another as practitioners believe that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
There is also auricular acupuncture where it is believed that the ear is a microcosm of the body. This means that acupuncture needles are placed on certain points on the ear so it can treat certain addiction disorders.
Myofascially based acupuncture is often utilized by physical therapists as it involves feeling the meridian lines in search of tender points before applying needles as this is where abnormal energy flows.
Japanese styles of acupuncture referred to as “meridian therapy, " tend to put more emphasis on needling technique and feeling meridians in diagnosis.
Impulses of electromagnetic energy can also be used as the body generates tiny but electrical discharges which influence the function, growth and maturity of certain types of cells. By inserting the needles in these areas, it stimulates and alters the neurotransmitters in the body thus making the patient feel better after treatment. This is also sometimes used for diagnosis and testing.
There are also other forms of acupuncture that do not use needles. For instance there is sonopuncture that uses an ultrasound device that transmits sound waves to points in the body to treat a patient. Some practitioners use a tuning fork or other vibration devices.
Acupressure is another. Here, the professional will use their hands to relieve the pain. This can be used on it sown or with other manual healing techniques.
The number of treatments you will need depends on the patient's condition. On average this could be from 10 to 5 treatments and 2 to 3 times a week. How much it will cost also varies as this could be from $40 to $150. Some insurance companies and HMO's now cover that or partially so you should check if this is included in your policy.
Anyone can try acupuncture to relieve pain or prevent one but many practitioners decline to see someone during pregnancy. But if you have already started, it is generally safe to do so until the infant is born.
Some acupuncturists may ask you to take in some herbs as part of the treatment. Since you have no idea what it can do, have this checked first by your local doctor to make sure this is safe as this could interact with the drugs you are taking causing side effects.
Which type of acupuncture should you try? That is up to you. All of them are effective so discuss this with your doctor and do some research so you know what you are getting yourself into. Each of these is painless so just relax and let the professional do the rest. Just like conventional medicine, don't expect an improvement overnight as this takes time so just keep an open mind.