Electroacupuncture is quite similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated during treatment. As with traditional
acupuncture, needles are inserted on specific points along the body. The needles are then attached to a device that generates continuous
electric pulses using small clips.
These devices are used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered, depending on the condition being treated. Electroacupuncture uses two needles at a time so that the impulses can pass from one needle to the other. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated simultaneously, usually for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, illness is caused when qi does not flow properly throughout the body. Acupuncturists determine whether qi is weak, stagnant or otherwise out of balance, which indicates the points to be stimulated.
Electroacupuncture is considered to be especially useful for conditions in which there is an accumulation of qi, such as in chronic
pain syndromes, or in cases where the qi is difficult to stimulate.