iStock_000008092940XSmallTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the oldest, documented, continually practiced medical system in the world. Acupuncture is one of the many techniques which make up TCM. Its use is cited in ancient medical texts dating back 3,000 years. The intent of acupuncture is to promote health and alleviate pain and suffering. The method by which this is accomplished has been time tested over thousands of years and continues to be validated today through the use of modern medical technology. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into very specific acupuncture points. These points lie on distinct channels which course the body, connecting the organs and other systems of the body. Although unknown to those who created the practice of acupuncture over 3,000 years ago, many of these channels follow what we now have identified as major neural pathways. According to TCM, these channels contain qi (chee). Qi is often translated as energy or the vital substance that provides the motive force of the organs and body and connects and nourishes the entire body and mind.

Sometimes, overwork, traumatic injury, stress, diet, addictive substances, and illness, just to name a few, can adversely effect the qi. The body’s fine balance can easily be thrown off. The qi can be deficient, affecting the immune system, energy levels, and the over all state of health. Qi can stagnate in the channels, muscles, and organs, causing cramps, aches, organ problems, and a variety of other symptoms. The goal of the acupuncturist is to find the root cause of the body’s imbalance, and through acupuncture direct the body back into a state of homeostasis or balance. Qi is accessed by stimulating acupoints on the channels in which it flows. Acupuncture, heat therapy, cupping technique, massage, and the use of herbs, directly affect the flow of qi. These techniques encourage an even flow of qi, restoring the body’s balance and relieving pain and other symptoms.