What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a means of adjusting the body's life energy (chi or qi) through the insertion of fine needles into carefully selected acupuncture points along the meridians of the body. The needles, which have a rounded end rather than a sharp cutting one, are inserted into the points and are then manipulated with a gentle pumping action, by twirling or leaving in place for a few minutes. These motions stimulate the flow of energy and remove blockages so that the qi can be dispersed and regulated. When the qi is flowing properly throughout the body, the balance is restored and improved health results.
The Chinese healing art of acupuncture is one that can be dated back at least two thousand years. Some authorities maintain that acupuncture has been practiced in China for even four thousand years. Though its exact age is vague, what is certain is that up until the recent twentieth century, much of the population of the world was uninformed about acupuncture, its origins, and its capacity to promote and maintain good health. Even today in relatively "advanced" nations such as the United States there are many who hold acupuncture under the stereotype of a new or radical medicine, one which would almost always be a second choice after more familiar Western approaches to handling illness. Following a brief synopsis of the theory of acupuncture, the following text will, to a limited extent, elucidate the vast history of this ancient medicine and assert that it is neither new nor radical.