The theory behind acupuncture, as in all traditional Chinese medicine, is that health results from a harmonious balance between the complementary extremes, or yin and yang, of the life force known as qi (pronounced chee).
Qi is believed to flow through pathways called meridians in your body. These meridians, and the energy itself, are accessible through more than 350 acupuncture points. Because illness may result from an imbalance of these forces, the insertion of needles into targeted points in various combinations can rebalance your energy flow.
The Western approach to acupuncture incorporates modern concepts of neuroscience. Practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Such stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body’s natural painkillers and increase blood flow.