What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of medicine that has been practiced
for more than 2500 years. Part science and part art, acupuncture
un-does sickness by directing
the body's natural energies away from patterns of pain and
disease, toward their original states of good health.
In the Chinese tradition that gave birth to acupuncture,
the human body is viewed as a part of the natural world; it
follows patterns that are as regular as the cycles of the
seasons and the rhythms of night and day. The body's vital
energy, called qi (pronounced
"chee"), flows through these cycles and seasons maintaining
good health, abundant energy, and buoyant moods. When the
flow of body energy is disrupted, pain, illness, or emotional
disturbances can arise.
Acupuncturists work with bodily qi
to keep it flowing smoothly, thereby creating and supporting
good health. Using a variety of techniques including needles,
magnets, moxibustion, and herbal medicine, acupuncturists
influence the movement and quality of qi
to relieve pain, treat disease, and alter physical conditions.
Rather than masking pain or other symptoms, acupuncture works
by changing them.
To understand and manipulate the flow of qi
in the human body, acupuncturists use detailed maps of body
energy which chart the lines of qi
(called meridians or channels) and the individual points on
them through which qi can be
Needles used in acupuncture are made of stainless steel.
They are extremely thin (not much thicker than a human hair),
and are sterile and disposed of after each use. During treatment,
needles are inserted shallowly just under the skin at points
on the body where qi is stuck
Through a complex series of interactions, the body learns to regulate its energy flow in response to the needles. Over time, the body conforms its energy flows to healthier, more stable patterns. As a result, areas of pain hurt less intensely and less frequently, symptoms grow less severe, stress and fatigue begin to abate, and so on.
A standard acupuncture treatment may use as few as two needles or as many as forty, depending on the condition being treated, the constitution of the patient, and the judgment of the acupuncturist.