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Acupuncture with an extra tingle.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 9, 2016

Electro-acupuncture is a form of acupuncture where the needles are stimulated by eletric impulses after being inserted.

The origins of electro-acupuncture: Electro-acupuncture's origins are somewhat unclear. Some date it back to the 1880s and experimentation in France, while others believe the Japanese invented it in the 1940s while attempting to spur bone growth.

Benefits Of Electro-Acupuncture

Electro-acupuncture operates along the same principles as acupuncture. The difference is that instead of physically manipulating the inserted needles, electric impulses are sent through the needles in order to stimulate the body's nerve meridians. Electro-acupuncture is said to be especially useful for treating paralysis and as a form of anesthesia.

What To Expect

During an electro-acupuncture session, needles are inserted into nerve meridians in the body, just as in classic acupuncture. The needles are then attached to a machine that generates electric impulses. Pairs of needles are used, allowing the electric impulse to travel between them. In some cases, electrodes are attached to the skin and stimulated, so that no needles are used. Regardless, electro-acupuncture is typically not painful. Some patients feel a tingling during treatment.

Recommended sessions: The number of sessions needed depends on the conditon to be treated. Chronic conditions, like arthritis, may require a session every several months, for example.

Preparation: Be prepared to discuss your medical history with your acupuncturist, including whether or not you are pregnant. Do not eat or drink alcohol for four hours before treatment.


Needles may cause pinprick bleeding or bruising.

Who wouldn't benefit: Electro-acupuncture should not be performed on people with a history of seizures or heart disease. It should also not be performed anywhere on the head or neck.

Find licensed and certified experts who offer electro-acupuncture near you