According to practitioners, a life force or energy (known as “qi” or “chi”) flows through channels (known as meridians) within the body. When this flow is blocked or out of balance, a person experiences discomfort or disease. Acupuncture helps to correct these imbalances by stimulating certain points on the body.
Acupuncture is often paired with other practices commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, including the use of electrically stimulated needles, the burning of herbs over acupuncture points, the application of heated cups to the skin, herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, tai chi, and dietary therapy, among others. The practitioner will typically look at a client’s tongue or feel the client’s pulse to determine which treatment will be most successful. Multiple acupuncture sessions may be necessary for a client to experience complete therapeutic effect.
Scientific studies have shown acupuncture to be most effective in treating chronic pain (of the lower back, the neck, and the knee) as well as headaches.