Anyone seriously wanting to study acupuncture will find that just studying charts and diagrams will not be as effective as working with three-dimensional models, and these are available in both complete body forms and as specific body part sub-models, including skeletal models . Models are available for humans and for most common animals.
Types of model available
Acupuncture models are commonly made in hard forms, often resin or plaster cast or traditionally wooden, and soft forms, usually made in vinyl and foam combinations, along with rubber derivatives and other synthetic materials. Some models are specifically designed as introductory practice models, allowing students to experience the insertion of needles into a human analogue without having to coerce too many volunteers until technique is perfected.
Particular use is made of ear, hand and foot acupuncture models, due partly to the concentration of acupuncture points in those areas and also the higher level of relief (three-dimensional nature) of these body parts. Two-dimensional charts and diagrams of these areas are notoriously difficult to translate into an actual understanding of the acupuncture points concerned.
Many models are approximately life sized, but particularly with human ear models there are many offered at twice actual size or similar scales, in order to allow more information to be included on the model and for the acupuncture points to be clearer and less cluttered for study and location during therapy. Conversely, full body models may often be at a reduced scale, with only primary points indicated.
Buying a model
When buying an acupuncture model, it should firstly be borne in mind what purpose it will be for. Budget is an important consideration, as there are widely differing prices for apparently similar models. If you are intending to use the model for clinical purposes, it is important to be sure that the model is accurate, and there are various acupuncture organisations which recommend and offer certification of some model brands. Different schools of acupuncture have different view on the location and importance of certain acupuncture points, so there are some considerable varieties for sale. If you are following an acupuncture study course, it would be best to ask your instructor what they recommend and which models they consider most practical.
Another consideration when choosing an acupuncture model is language. The majority of the models are manufactured in the Far East, particularly China, so it is normal that the acupuncture points are labelled in Chinese characters, usually traditional ones although modern forms might be found. If you are not comfortable with the Chinese characters, most of the alternatives use numbering systems and accompanying text documents, although there are some fairly poor translations around which could cause confusion in some cases.
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