Types of Acupuncture

While acupuncture is associated with 'needles', acupuncture as a treatment option involves more than just the use of needles.

A trained acupuncture practitioner (an acupuncturist) uses other treatment modalities such as moxibustion, tuina (remedial massage), cupping and gua sha while also providing advice on diet, lifestyle and general health to assist with the maintenance of your health and well-being.

Treatment modalities at Bay Acupuncture:

  • Acupuncture
  • Moxa
  • Cupping
  • Gua sha
  • Acupressure
  • Auricular acupuncture
Moxa or moxibustion

Moxa or moxibustion

Moxa is said to have originated from northern China at least 3,000 years ago, and used to treat illness long before the use of needles. 

It involves the slow burning of the dried herb mugwort, either directly over an acupuncture point or around the shaft of the needle, which has a warming, supplementing and nourishing effect. Moxa is a fantastic technique for chronic conditions and has a proven effect on enhancing blood chemistry and improving immune function. 

Moxibustion is used to as part of acupuncture treatment in a wide range of issues, such as chronic digestive disturbance, menstrual problems, reproductive issues and musculoskeletal pain.



Cupping is the technique uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow and sedate the nervous system.

The purpose of cupping is to:

  • encourage blood flow
  • enhance circulation
  • help relieve pain
  • pull toxins from your body’s tissue

For most patients, cupping is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation.

The healing process can be shortened by weeks, even months, by using this method that manually removes the energy blockage in ways that acupuncture needles, massage and other forms of treatment cannot.

Gua Sha

Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a massage-like technique that involves stroking and pushing with a round edge instrument through a specific area to relieve congestion and stagnation.

Gua sha is primarily performed on the back, neck, and shoulders, but other body parts may be included as well.  Effective on its own, it can also complement an acupuncture treatment and often pain and range of motion can improve in just one session. 

Gua sha helps break up congestion in the form of congealed blood from an injury, or lactic acids and other toxins that build up in the muscles due to over use. As these problems are pushed out of the tissue, they are released into the blood stream so that they may be removed from the body. This invigorates the circulation of new oxygenated blood.

Gua sha reduces inflammation and protects the cells of internal organs and has clinical significance for patients with chronic illness.

Gua Sha can be used to treat:

  • fevers
  • fatigue caused by exposure to heat
  • coughs, colds and flu
  • difficult breathing: bronchitis, asthma, emphysema
  • muscle and tendon injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • migraines and headaches
  • stiffness, pain, immobility
  • digestive disorders
  • urinary and gynecological disorders


Acupressure is simply pressure to acupuncture points or easy massage techniques that can be taught to enhance acupuncture treatment. 

We hold specific workshops to teach acupressure for childbirth and commonly include acupressure techniques to help manage digestive discomfort, to address constipation, and to improve eyesight issues. 

Auricular acupuncture

Auricular acupuncture

Often referred to as, ‘ear acupuncture’, auricular acupuncture is a technique that stimulates points on the outside of the ear.  The ear represents a microcosm of the body and therefore stimulating points on the ear can affect other parts of the body. 

Auricular acupuncture is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesity and pain. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body's internal organs and calm the mind. 

Ear acupuncture is generally incorporated into a regular acupuncture treatment and is a very relaxing experience.

Small stickers with seeds/tacks attahed may be left in the ear for a few days after treatment to enhance the effect.  This gives the patient the opportunity to stimulate the needles with pressure and can be a useful support method, particularly for addictions and morning sickness.