The view of acupuncture held by many people is actually at odds with the reality of the practice. The insertion of needles scares many people, preventing them from realizing how effective this ancient practice can be.
Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and works on the principal of energy flowing through the human body. Many people in Asia believe that universal life energy, or Qi, flows along lines, called meridians, just below the skin. In ancient times, practitioners believed that there were 365 acupuncture points, reflecting the number of days in the year.
Practitioners mapped the acupuncture points to correspond with the 14 major meridian lines they had identified - there was one meridian line for each of the 12 major organs, one along the spine (called the governing vessel), and one along the centerline of the abdomen (called the conception vessel).
As this practice has grown and developed, modern therapists have identified an increasing number of points, with other locations being identified on the outer ears, the nose, the scalp, the hands, the feet, and the wrists and ankles.
If you receive treatment, any of these meridians may be activated, depending on your symptoms, though most treatment still focuses on the traditional meridians identified thousands of years ago. These have proven to be effective time and time again.
Treatment involves the gentle insertion of needles into these key locations - so gentle is this process that most people either don't even feel the needle being inserted, or else simply feel a gentle pressure.
The needles unblock the flow of Qi and help the body to begin its own healing process, reducing pain and resolving symptoms.