Combining Systems

Abdominal Acupuncture (AA) is a gentle yet powerful system of acupuncture, which generally works incredibly well when used alone. It is also a system that allows other modalities to be used in conjunction with it.

In this article, I will describe how I mix and match my treatments and suggest a few ways that can complement the midsection, using traditional methods.

As any acupuncturist knows, there are many options available to treat various conditions using acupuncture. I mainly focus on chronic and acute painful conditions, which usually have a pathology of excess, stasis, wind, wet phlegm, etc. These need to be dealt with in order to fix the problem permanently and so having many methods to deal with is always helpful. Some people are more receptive to one particular system than another, and occasionally using one system paves the way for using other methods in the future.
I suggest that when you start using AA, use it as a standalone method. I do this for a number of reasons, including:
Using AA alone will give you a realistic idea of its potency.
- When using AA, you must be able to use subtleties effectively in order to achieve the best therapeutic result.
- Only by testing the AA under different conditions will you develop your skills and appreciation of this wonderful system.
- By keeping good processing records you will become more comfortable using including fast/minimal AA options.

Once you have reached a level of confidence in your own potential using AA, in every way combine with other acupuncture systems to enhance your therapeutic results.

In my practice, I always use AA as the first method of treatment. .
If I don't get the powerful result I expect with the abdomen (80 - 90%) I will use the distal points on the wrist or ankle, to treat the shoulder for example. When I use body highlights, I often emphasize the difference between the needle feel with the abdominals and the distal ones. My clients prefer sit-ups to other methods I use, but sometimes we need to use strong distal points to move Qi, and I recognize the power of combining the systems (Tan, Tung, et).

There are so many options and often it becomes a personal choice. A new method learned, an experiment or simply an intuition can lead to the use of particular points or a treatment protocol. I believe it is important to be versatile, confident, imaginative, intuitive and to trust your instincts after all, in the abdomen resides the Dantian and the Miraculous Turtle!

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