There are many ways of choosing positions on the body to needle in acupuncture treatment. Similarly there are many ways of stimulating the points chosen. Despite the variety of acupuncture methods advocated, most good-quality trials seem to show a similar 70% success rate, suggesting that there is little clinical difference between techniques. In order to simplify the Western medical usage of acupuncture, the author offers a composite view of needling techniques in which the term “Acupuncture treatment area” (ATA) refers to any suitable site of needle insertion. This may be a single traditional point, it may be a local painful area, a distant strong point, the periosteum around a joint, or it could be a large area of subcutaneous tissue, as in the lower abdomen.
The author suggests that the concept of ATAs will allow acupuncture development free of theoretical expectations, and has the advantage that clinically most medical acupuncturists have already adopted this way of working.
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