Acupuncture is an ancient Oriental healing art that is enjoying a welcome recognition in the West. The origins of this art are historically uncertain but, given the great refinement, effectiveness and reproducibility of its practice it could not just have been stumbled upon accidentally. In our times when "empirical" evidence is required for everything, one cannot simply state that someone was inspired in the discovery of acupuncture as a healing art. Unable to admit to inspiration, some have postulated that the concept of acupuncture was discovered when Chinese soldiers in battle found themselves healed of ailments when struck by arrows. This type of postulation is a little extreme and even more far fetched than inspiration. In all likelihood it came into being at the same time as herbalism as the two are so closely interrelated and sometimes interdependent.
Acupuncture correctly recognizes that the human body has, coursing throughout its entire structure, energy channels or meridians wherein an energy called "qi" or "life force" courses. These energy meridians have no physical organ like a vein or artery to contain the "qi" coursing inside of it. Nonetheless, it's etheric quality can be influenced and regulated. By placing fine stainless steel needles along the meridians the energy can be increased, decreased, accumulated or released depending on how the needles are placed, manipulated or otherwise influenced.
These meridians are mapped all over the human body and continue inside the human body and organs making it possible to affect an internal organ from needles being placed on the skin.
The method for determining where the needles need to be placed is by pulse diagnosis. Whereas in modern medicine there is only one pulse; in acupuncture there are 12 pulses that are measured. Sometimes, the pulses are used to determine organ activity or if specific herbs need.
Acupuncture is also used to alleviate pain, allergies and other otherwise chronic conditions.
There are different types of acupuncture (Classical Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean acupuncture) practiced throughout the world.
Generally, the modern medical establishment does not officially acknowledge any aspect of acupuncture, its meridian lines or "qi" in spite of the fact that it produces results and is gaining acceptance among health care practitioners.