Acupuncture originated in China over five thousand years ago. It is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of qi, the vital life energy presents in all living organisms. According to acupuncture theory, qi circulates in the body along fourteen major energy pathways, called meridians. Each meridian links to specific internal organs and organ systems. There are over one thousand acupuncture points within the meridians system that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of qi. When special needles are inserted into these acupuncture points (just on the skin), they help correct and rebalance the flow of energy and consequently restore health.
Perhaps no other alternative therapy has received more attention in this country or gained acceptance more quickly than acupuncture. Most Americans have never even heard of it until 1971, when New York Times foreign correspondent James Reston wrote a startling first article about acupuncture following his emergency appendectomy in China. Today the needling of America is in full swing. Each year, Americans made some 9 to 12 million visits to acupuncturists for ailments as diverse as arthritis, bladder infections, back pain, and morning sickness.
The World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) has cited 104 different conditions that acupuncture can treat, including migraines, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, inflammation of the eyes, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, Meniere’s disease, tennis elbow, paralysis from stroke, speech aphasia (loss of language abilities due to brain damage), sciatica, and osteoarthritis. Acupuncture has also been found to be effective in the treatment of a variety of rheumatoid conditions, and brings relief in 80 percent of those who suffer from arthrosis. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture is valuable in the treatment of environmentally-induced illness due to radiation, pesticide poisoning, environmentally toxic compounds, and air pollution.