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Acupuncture is an Asian technique treating many medical problems by inserting fine needles into various active points on the body. Legend has it that acupuncture is 4,000 to 5,000 years old. The first written reference to acupuncture dates back to somewhere between the 5th and 3rd centuries B.C. Acupuncture began in China, but soon spread to other Oriental countries and in the past century has been practiced in Europe and the Soviet Union. Acupuncture is now practiced in China side-by-side and in cooperation with Western medicine. Many conditions have been found to benefit greatly from treatment using a combination of Eastern and Western medicine. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine's theory, the basic energy force of life which flows through all living things is called Qi - meaning energy flows. When this force flows through the human body, it travels along twelve primary and two secondary channels or meridians. As Qi flows through the channels, it helps circulate the blood and also affect the nervous system. Along these channels there are 365 major acupuncture points.
Qi (energy flow) has two aspects to it: Yin is the negative aspect and Yang is the positive aspect. The twelve primary channels through which Qi flows are divided into six Yin and six Yang channels. For each Yin channel, there is a Yang channel. Despite their negative and positive nature, Yin and Yang are two aspects of the same force and one is no more desirable than the other. Yin and Yang must be in balance for Qi to flow freely and for all living beings to function properly. When Yin and Yang are out of balance, the body is susceptible to pain and illness. The traditional Chinese medical theory says that disease is usually caused by functional disorder first. When we mention functional disorder, we mean poor blood circulation and an imbalance of the nervous system. Only if Qi flows freely through the channels, when Yin and Yang are well balanced, can the function of the body be maintained in good condition.
An acupuncturist, in observing symptoms of disease, is able to locate the points on the body that govern a particular section of the channel that is blocked. The acupuncturist then stimulates those points so as to clear the channel to allow the life energy to flow freely again. By placing and manipulating the needles in the proper points, the skilled acupuncturist brings Yin and Yang back into balance. This restores good blood circulation and a healthy nerve system.