Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that typically incorporates traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as an integral part of its practice and theory. The term “acupuncture” is sometimes used to refer to insertion of needles at points to relieve pain, treat and prevent disease, promote general health, or for therapeutic purposes.
Ideas of what constitutes health and healing sometimes differ from concepts used in scientific, evidence-based medicine. Acupuncture was developed prior to the science of human anatomy and biology, which operate upon the cell theory. In Acupuncture, disease is believed to be caused not by infectious agents, but by an imbalance of yin and yang (a metaphysical balance). The origin of this imbalance is identified as a “blockage” or “stagnation” of metaphysical energy known as qi (pronounced “chee”) that flows within and without the body. TCM and acupuncture treat these imbalances, thereby stimulating the patient’s own natural healing process.