I am increasingly of the mind that there is no such thing as acupuncture, but rather acupunctures, plural.  Except when it causes a pneumothorax.  Then it is pleural. 

Not only is there Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Ear, Foot, Hand, Tongue Electo, Laser, Pressure, and there is even fish acupuncture to kill them gently. Anything and everything can be labeled as acupuncture.

As noted yesterday

It illustrates one of the fundamentally irritating and illogical things about acupuncture in general ,ie which form of it is the real acupuncture?

That is a trick question, like asking what is real astrology: Mayan, Indian or European. The real answer is that they are all bogus.  

Part of the frustration of trying to take acupuncture seriously (which I do, that’s why I’m always annoyed about it) is that the definition and supposed theoretical model cannot be defined in a meaningful way.

That, for me, is part of the reason why I can never take astrology, er, I mean acupuncture seriously. The reason that there is no meaningful definition is that there are as many forms of acupuncture as those who practice it.  That, and the fact the whole pseudo-medicine that is acupuncture is not based on reality.

I receive a daily feed from PubMed on various pseudo-medical practices and the publications out the China suggest the heterogenous nature of acupuncture is tremendous, with many eminence-based schools of practice.

The Chinese literature produces a lot of hagiography like WU Xiao-ren: an outstanding physician of acupuncture and moxibustion, many of whom evidently have their special acupoints and needle manipulation styles.

Is  Wu-Xiao-ren's approach  better than Wu Lian-Zhong or Jin's three-needle therapy or Sun's transcranial repeat stimulation.  Or should I try Qin's eight scalp needles for treatment of Parkinson's disease.

The eight scalp needles, founded by Professor QIN Liang-fu, and its clinical experience for treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) are introduced. Based on his years of clinical experience, it is proposed by Professor QIN that the Governor Vessel is mainly for miscellaneous disease and disease of limbs. Combined with distribution of cephalic motor region and meridian, an acupuncture treatment plan that is full of innovativeness is proposed, which is called Qin's eight scalp needles.

Or you can try the variation of needle-knife therapy, having

better effects on neck stiffness and pain relief than acupuncture-cupping, and it is more treatment time saving.

That acupuncturists really do not know what they are doing is suggested in Characteristics of acupoint selection of acupuncture-moxibustion for vertigo in history: a data mining research, where

Totally 82 pieces of prescription of acupuncture-moxibustion for treatment of vertigo are included. In the history the leading selection of acupoints are Fengchi (GB 20), Hegu (LI 4), Shangxing (GV 23) and Jiexi (ST 41) while that of meridians are mainly three yang meridians of foot and the Governor Vessel, especially the acupoints on the Bladder Meridian of foot yangming had the highest utilization rate, accounting for 23.04%. The acupoint selection is characterized by special acupoint, accounting for 80.6%, among which the crossing points are the most common choice.

It is a quasi-random approach to therapy, with each practitioner sticking the needles where they want.  And why, oh why, are there no acupoints in the eyes, under the nails and on the genitals?  One would almost suspect that either qi only flows where it is easy ,or prudent, to stick a needle or that the whole system was made up.

So which is the 'real' acupuncture?  Whose style will reign supreme?  I doubt we shall ever know. The ludicrous variety of practices labeled as acupuncture in China is further evidence that there is no one 'real' acupuncture. PubMed the journal 'Zhongguo Zhen Jiu' to see the breadth, but not depth, of acupunctures

In the US I suspect that acupuncture as it is taught will become increasingly standardized so that its practitioners can pass standardized tests and be certified. I also suspect that once they are in practice, their practice will be all over the map. They will call it individualization. I call it making it up as they go along.