The intent of acupuncture therapy is to promote healing 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.
An acupuncturist views health and sickness from the concepts of "vital energy" and energetic balance and imbalance. An acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of this vital energy or Qi (pronounced chee) within its pathways known as meridians.
The practice of acupuncture influences health and sickness by stimulating certain areas along these meridians. These areas or acu-points are stimulated by fine, slender needles. Some needling is used to locate the areas of disturbance, isolate the main blockage points and clear the blockage. Other needling techniques are used for the primary purpose of increasing the flow of Qi in a meridian without removing blockage. While yet other techniques reduce the flow of Qi in the meridians.
These toning and draining methods, as well as transference methods that help move Qi from one meridian to another, are part of the more general goal of balancing the flow of Qi in the body. Sometimes additional forms of stimulation are used in conjunction with acupuncture including herbs, electro-acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion (heat). The objective is to help your body to heal itself.
Acupuncture is just one form of therapy used within the comprehensive healing system of Oriental Medicine. Increasingly, acupuncture is complementing conventional Western therapies. According to the World Health Organization acupuncture is effective in treating 28 conditions, while evidence indicates it may have therapeutic and effective benefits for many more.