Electro-acupuncture is another form of acupuncture treatment that combines needling and small electrical stimulation. During treatment, a small electric current is added to several pairs of needles. Different waves and frequencies will be selected according to the patient’s condition. Most patients hardly feel anything although small numbers claim to experience a tingling sensation that is most likely due to the electric current.

Same as traditional acupuncture, Chinese medicine believes that electro- acupuncture functions to promote circulation and adjust internal organs. Moreover, it can increase analgesic and sedative effects, reduce tension and increase strength of muscles. Therefore, electro-acupuncture is widely used in pain management, injury, neurological diseases and paralysis in China and some of the Western countries. Studies from United States and China also suggest some evidence in treating skin problems (such as acne) and weight loss. Research from China as well as States shows that electro-acupuncture can stimulate body to release chemical mediators to block “pain” messages. It also can activate the endorphin system to lower blood pressure to benefit heart disease patients.

It should be pointed out that electro-acupuncture can only be performed in professional clinics as it is not suitable for everyone, such as patients with pacemakers. The current that connects the needles should not be across the midline of the body or directly over the heart. Patients who have a history of seizures, epilepsy, heart disease or strokes should be monitored carefully during the whole treatment process.