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Acupuncture is a method of enouraging the body to promote natural healing by insering needles at very precise acupuncture points. Heat or electrical stimulation is sometimes applied to the needles.

How does acupucture work?

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals can either change the experience of pain, or trigger the release of chemicals and hormones which influence the body's internal regulatory system.

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of the "energy rivers" is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.

The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in the their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities and in the circulation of energy through the body.

Acupunturists attempt to balance the body's energy flows (or biochemical levels), which is thought to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.