Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that treats patients by insertion and manipulation of needles in the body. Its proponents variously claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats disease, prevents disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes. Acupuncture 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 other than traditional ones, or to applying an electric current to needles in acupuncture points. Acupuncture dates back to prehistoric times, with written records from the second century BCE. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Ideas of what constitutes health and healing sometimes differ from concepts used in western based medicine. Disease is believed to be caused by an imbalance of yin and yang caused by a “blockage” or “stagnation” of metaphysical energy known as qi.. Qi is believed to flow in and around the body in channels called meridians. Heart-qi is believed to be force that causes the blood to circulate through the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based in part on Daoism, with a belief that all parts of the universe are interconnected.