is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is
governed by the principles of TCM. There are also other vital
disciplines in TCM, including medical herbology, acupressure
(Tui Na manipulation therapy), therapeutic exercises, and dietary
therapies. TCM stresses balance in the body.
The ancient Chinese
proposed that every living thing is sustained by a balance
of two opposing forces of energy, called Yin and Yang. Together,
they make up the life essence, or qi--a type of energy that
flows through the body via invisible channels called meridians.
Half of certain organs and meridians are governed by Yin and
the other half by Yang. When Yin and Yang are out of balance
in the body, this causes a blockage of qi and a subsequent
Yin and Yang imbalances can be caused by stress,
depression, emotional distress, and improper diet. They can also be affected by
wind, cold or hot weather, dampness or dryness, fire (heat),
trauma, hurt (by insects or animals), etc. For diagnostic purposes,
Yin and Yang are further subdivided into interior and exterior,
hot and cold, deficiency and excess, and others.
Illness is understood to be a disruption of the energy that flows through
the body along acupuncture meridians linking to specific internal
organs and organ systems. The acupuncturist evaluates the
flow and distribution of vital energy through the meridians
which, like a network, connect all over the human body. When
very thin, sterile needles are inserted into special acupoints
on the meridians; they help correct and rebalance the energy
flow and consequently relieve disorders and restore health.
Modern research has determined that acupuncture stimulates
certain systems to release some chemicals, such as endorphins
and hormones, that affect mood, health, and pain perception.