Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) practice that originated thousands of years ago. It is based on the premise that a blockage or disturbance in the flow of the body’s life energy, or “qi,” can cause health issues. Acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles to specific acupuncture points throughout the body to restore the flow of qi, balance the body’s energy, stimulate healing, and promote relaxation.
According to TCM theory, there are over 1000 acupuncture points on the body, each lying on an invisible energy channel, or “meridian.” Each meridian is associated with a different organ system.
Researchers don’t fully understand how acupuncture might work, but there are numerous theories. One theory is that acupuncture works by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Acupuncture is also said to influence the autonomic nervous system (which controls bodily functions) and the release of chemicals that regulate blood flow and pressure, reduce inflammation, and calm the brain.