Acupuncture needles placed in arm of patient show the gentleness of the needles.


Acupuncture patient on table receiving gentle treatment by practitioner.

Acupuncture is a system that engages with a network of circuitry built into the body called channels or meridians. This system is based on the concept that there is a vital life force (called Qi), that flows throughout the body, mapped below the surface and activated by inserting sterile, hair-thin needles into sites where Qi collects.

Another way in which acupuncture can be thought of is that, by inserting needles into the sensitive points on the body, we may positively motivate the body’s own resources to heal itself. This can take form by alleviating pain or depression with the release of endorphins, or by stimulating the immune system to better combat disease, reduce inflammation, and increase range of movement after an injury.

Acupuncture is a medical procedure. It necessitates skill and different approaches depending upon who is being treated, and what the condition is. Because of this, it is important to understand that there are various techniques and schools of thought regarding the use of acupuncture. There is the standardized, TCM (or traditional Chinese medicine) approach; there is the Dr. Tan balance method, Master Tung’s system, Matt Callison and Brian Lau’s modern Sports Medicine Acupuncture, Dr. Zhu’s scalp model, auricular approaches (both Chinese and French systems), and Kiiko Matsumoto’s gentle approach. For this reason, it is important to understand that the results that one may receive from acupuncture can vary tremendously depending upon who the practitioner is, as well as the condition being treated (not to mention the duration of said condition).

For an in-depth look at the research that has been done to date with regards to acupuncture’s effectiveness, please visit the Evidence Based Acupuncture website.