Acupuncture is a treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), asystem of healing that dates back thousands of years. At the core of TCM is thenotion that a typeof life force, or energy, known as qi (pronounced "chee") flows through energypathways(meridians) in the body. Each meridian corresponds to one organ, or group of organs, that governs particular bodily functions. Achieving the proper flow of qiis thought to create health and wellness. Qi maintains the dynamic balance of yin and yang, whichare complementary opposites. According to TCM, everything in nature has bothyin and yang. An imbalance of qi (too much, too little, or blocked flow) causesdisease. Torestore balance to the qi, an acupuncturist inserts needles at points along themeridians.These acupuncture points are places where the energy pathway is close to thesurfaceof the skin.
California Acupuncture Board
According to the California Acupuncture Board, acupuncture means thestimulation of acertain point or points on or near the surface of the body by the insertion of needles toprevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions,including pain control, for the treatment of certain diseases or dysfunctions of the bodyand includes the techniques of electroacupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion.
A Little History
In China, the practice of acupuncture can perhaps be traced as far back as thestoneage, with the
, or sharpened stones. Clearer evidence exists from the1stmillennium BC, and archeological evidence has been identified with the periodof theHan dynasty (202 BC–220 AD). Forms of it arealso described in the literature of traditionalKorean medicine where it is called
. It isalso important in Kampo, the traditional medicinesystem of Japan.Recent examinations of Ötzi, a 5,000-year-oldmummy found in the Alps, have identified over 50tattoos on his body, some of which are located onacupuncture points that would today be used totreat ailments Ötzi suffered from. Some scientistsbelieve that this is evidence that practices similar to acupuncture were practiced elsewhere inEurasia during the early Bronze Age. According toan article published in The Lancet by Dorfer et al.,"We hypothesized that there might have been amedical system similar to acupuncture (Chinese