Massage to Complement Acupuncture
If you met someone socially and said that you were training to be an acupuncturist and needed people to practice on how confident would you be that you would get a positive response? Then compare that to the response you would expect if you said you needed people for massage.
This gives us a clue about the potential for massage to complement acupuncture and it is why we include massage on our courses and encourage students to undertake a basic massage course. Training in massage is a very good way to learn how to build a therapeutic relationship and to get familiar with taking cases, handling bodies, dressing and undressing etc.
Massage theory speaks about lymph drainage, muscle stimulation and relaxation and the movement of blood. Acupuncture speaks of Qi (energy) running through a system of meridians. Of course both treatments are complete in their own way but they also have a lot of potential to combine effectively. For example there are distal acupuncture points (away from the pain area) which can influence Qi while a massage is being performed, particularly on the neck and back.
It is amazing how well appreciated a short massage is during the course of an acupuncture treatment and it is probably one of the most effective methods I know to encourage patients to return for more treatment.