What is ‘Classical’ Acupuncture?

Ancient Classical Acupuncture Charts

Differing Styles

There are several different styles of acupuncture alongside classical acupuncture, all of which to some degree share a common root, yet are distinct and diverse in their diagnostic and treatment emphasis.

The main styles of acupuncture include ‘TCM’, Five Element, Stems and Branches, Japanese Meridian Therapy, Trigger-Point and Medical Acupuncture.

Introduction of ‘TCM’

Although sharing many similarities, Classical Acupuncture is not quite the same as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a relatively modern although slightly misleading term established by the Chinese government.

This was due to commissioning the development of a uniform system of diagnosis and treatment which was to some degree informed by modern medical practices. As a result, a system of diagnosis and treatment was developed using ‘pattern identification’ methods based on ancient techniques.

In this way, it could be considered a type of ‘fusion’ of old and new. In 1952, the president of the Chinese Medical Association expressed this as being ‘China’s New Medicine’.

Tuned To The Individual

It is this special attention to detail within the diagnostic process that can provide deeply balanced treatments that are ultimately very finely tuned to the individual. This is something that patients often appreciate and comment on as it can enable them to feel listened to at a deep level and very much included in their care.

As a result, two hours for the consultation and inititial treatment and one hour for subsequent treatments are generally required. This is in order to allow time for the practitioner to gather the required information, make relevant treatment decisions and therefore, to give you the most individual care.

It is important to note, that although Lee mostly uses classical theories and techniques during treatment, he sees all types and lineages of acupuncture as holding great value. Therefore, he may incorporate other acupuncture techniques if it is felt this would be more appropriate to bring about balance for that individual at that time.

Ancient Theory and Practice

Classical acupuncture is based on the theories and practice of acupuncture described in Han dynasty texts (206 BCE – 220 CE) and is therefore, distinct from more modern methods of acupuncture. Practitioners pay great attention to factors including time, season, climate and subtle variations within the individual, making it a time consuming yet thorough system of acupuncture.

This system utilises the Five Element (or Five Phase) theories and Stems and Branches systems to elucidate the state of health of the individual and to make therapeutic treatment choices.

One of the main differences between Classical Acupuncture and other systems is that Classical Acupuncture treatments are comparatively labor intensive and time consuming. This is due to the depth of attention paid to the intricate daily and seasonal changes to the flow of qi in the environment and therefore within the meridians in the body.