Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating needles into specific points on the body with the aim of relieving pain and for therapeutic purposes. Acupuncture originated in Asia about 5,000 years ago and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Classical Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Korean acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.
While little is known about how acupuncture works, neuro-imaging research suggests that specific acupuncture points have distinct effects on cerebral activity in specific areas that are not otherwise predictable anatomically.
How acupuncture works
Qi (electromagnetic energy) travels through channels of energy in the body (like rivers). These rivers of energy are called meridians. There are 14 such channels: twelve in the hands and feet, one in the front of the body, at the center and one in the back of the body, also in the center.
The acupuncture points are areas where these rivers of energy come closest to the body surface. These points open and close to adjust the circulation in the channels. These points in the body store toxins, cortisone, testosterone, estrogen, and a number of other hormones. When these points are stimulated with acupuncture by inserting tiny needles, hormones and toxins are released and the acupuncture points decrease in size.
Most patients only feel a sensation of a small pinch, followed by a comfortable warmness. Needles are typically left in the body for 20-40 minutes and the patients should feel relief from symptoms and increased energy within 48 hours.