Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique that uses tiny, hair-thin needles to punch or stimulate specific points on the body. The application of needles is often used in combination with moxibustion, which involves the burning of herbs to facilitate healing. It is one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese medicine, dating back to at least 100 BC. It spread to Japan, Korean, as well as many other countries in that area and has been widely accepted by governments and general public as an effective methods in treatment of diseases for many centuries. Acupuncture was first introduced to Europe in the 1600s and has since then gained acceptance slowly in the western world where scientific and evidence-based methods for diagnosing and treating disease is considered mainstream. Today, more than 3,000 U.S. physicians integrate the therapy into their clinical practices.
In a modern and broader term, Acupuncture may also include the application of other kinds of stimulation to certain points on the body such like electric acupuncture and acupressure. Based on reports from controlled clinical trials and studies, the World Health Organization has recognizes the acupuncture in its 2002 publication Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trial as a practice that has the ability to treat over 40 different common issues including chronic pain, circulatory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, joint and nervous systems disorders, anxiety, depression and more.
Acupuncture is one of a few traditional Chinese medical techniques that have been known to be effective for treating conditions, but without a proven or convincing explanation as to why the practice works. One theory of the acupuncture is that there is a form of life-giving energy called qi that circulates within the body, traveling through lines called meridians. The circulation of the qi can be blocked for various reasons, and people got sick when that happens. Placing acupuncture needles into certain points along these meridians help relieve blocked qi, which cures the problem. Unfortunately, there has been no proven from the modern science that either qi or meridian exists in human body.
Like many of traditional Chinese medications, or a great amount of discoveries by human being in general, Acupuncture originated from observations followed by a lengthy period of trial and error. In ancient China, people noticed that by punching or pressing certain areas in the body with some special stones where the body hurt, the pain actually got relieved.