What is an Acupuncture Model?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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An acupuncture model is an anatomical model which is designed to be used in the teaching and practice of acupuncture, a therapeutic modality which involves stimulating certain points on the body with needles. Medical supply stores and acupuncture schools both sell acupuncture models, and it is also possible to obtain models of historic interest from antique and vintage stores, for people who are interested in studying the practice of acupuncture in previous eras.

Because acupuncture involves the precise targeting of specific areas in the body, an acupuncture model is usually designed to be as anatomically correct as possible, ensuring that the points of interest are clearly illustrated and demonstrated. The model may be made from plastic, wood, or ceramic, with points typically marked with numbers which correspond with a chart. Some acupuncture models focus on specific organ systems and other topics of interest, while others provide more general information; it's impossible to map every single point on an acupuncture model, because there are so many.

In schools which teach acupuncture, models are used to demonstrate points of interest. Students may be required to use models in testing, with a test asking students to name the acupuncture points highlighted on a model, and to discuss when they would be used. Working acupuncturists also commonly keep models and charts as references to keep their skills sharp and to confirm an approach to treatment or the placement of a needle.


Live models may also occasionally be used in training. These medical models allow teachers to demonstrate acupuncture points on their bodies, and give students an opportunity to practice placing needles and performing exams. Using a live person as an acupuncture model can be critical to education because it allows students to explore the diversity of the human body, learning about the various ways in which anatomical structures can appear.

Acupuncture models can also be used in patient education. Some patients may appreciate the use of a model when an acupuncturist describes how the treatment works and what his or her recommendations are, and the model can be used to show patients the specific points which will be stimulated. A practitioner may also utilize the acupuncture model to show the patient acupressure points which he or she can stimulate at home to address minor medical issues or as part of a treatment program for an ongoing condition. For example, a patient with frequent headaches could use manual stimulation of acupressure points to address headaches when they occur, returning for acupuncture sessions with the goal of reducing headaches overall.



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