Thousands of years ago the ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life force (energy) called Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific channels that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters or an electrical grid short-circuiting that causes blackouts. Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Qi energy and restore health.
Yin and Yang is also an important theory in the discussion of Acupuncture treatment, in relation to the Chinese theory of body systems. As stated earlier Qi is an energy force that runs throughout the body. In addition, Qi is also prevalent throughout nature as well. Qi is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. Any upset in the balance will result in natural calamities, in nature; and disease in humans. Yin is signified by female attributes, passive, dark, cold, moist, that which moves medially, and deficient of Yang. Yang is signified by male attributes, light, active, warm, dry, that which moves laterally, and deficient of Yin. Nothing is completely Yin or Yang. The most striking example of this is man himself. A man is the combination of his mother (Yin) and his father (Yang). He contains qualities of both: This is the universal symbol describing the constant flow of yin and yang forces. You'll notice that within yin, there is Yang, and within Yang, there is the genesis of Yin. Whether or not you believe in Taoist philosophy, (which all this is based on), one thing is indisputable: Acupuncture works.
The new American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine guidelines define Acupuncture as follows:
"Acupuncture originated in China and is based in part on the theory that many diseases are manifestations of an imbalance between yin and yang as reflected by disruption of normal vital energy flow (qi) in specific locations referred to as meridians. Needling along one of the 361 classical acupuncture points on these meridians is believed to restore the balance. This stimulation is classically done with thin, solid, metallic needles, which are then manipulated (or turned) manually or stimulated electrically (electro acupuncture). Besides needling, acupuncture frequently involves moxibustion and cupping. In addition to traditional Chinese acupuncture, there are many other types of acupuncture, including those that access non-traditional acupuncture points”.