Many people know that acupuncture involves the use of needles inserted in the skin to alleviate everything from pain to obesity. But do you know how and why this seemingly strange method of treatment works? There is a lot more to acupuncture than meets the eye.

Acupuncture is an energy therapy that has been practiced as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. The basic idea is that Qi, which is the vital energy of the universe, flows through the body along channels referred to generally as meridians. These meridians have the power to influence the balance of yin and yang as well as the five elements of earth, metal, fire, water, and wood within the body. The Chinese believe that imbalances in these energies and elements are behind mental and physical disease, and acupuncture is a way to bring them back into balance.

The meridians run in lines along the body, and each one corresponds to a certain bodily function. Along these meridians are acupoints that influence the balance of specific elements. When a problem arises within the body, the acupuncturist discerns which acupoint corresponds to the problem being experienced and then stimulates that acupoint by inserting small needles into the skin to unblock the flow of Qi to that area. The points are not necessarily located near the area that they affect. Once the Qi to the affected area is unblocked, the body and mind should naturally balance themselves.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that acupuncture has been extensively studied and shown to be effective in treating some conditions. Individuals suffering with weight issues, addictions, and even cancer have started using acupuncture for relief. Studies also show that it can be helpful in treating nervous disorders like anxiety and depression, as well as helping to alleviate stress and tension.

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