An acupuncturist works by inserting ultra-thin needles (about the diameter of a strand of hair) into the subcutaneous tissues of the body at very specific locations. In addition to needlework, acupuncture uses several adjunct modalitare - moxibustion (heat therapy), cupping therapy and Chinese gua-sha (dermal friction) - that generate heat and loosen muscle tissue to increase the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used today. These needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head. There are a few different precise methods by which Acupuncturists insert needles. Points can be needled anywhere in the range of 15 degrees to 90 degrees relative to the skin surface, depending on the treatment called for.