China was one of the first countries to create a medical system, which has been in existence for over 5,000 years. The body is understood to be composed of multiple meridians channeling energy throughout the organs and bodily functions, and that illness results from an imbalance between internal and/or external factors.

Balance is maintained by the yin and the yang, opposite forces that interact in harmony to keep an individual healthy, and therapies used to balance the body include acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy and massage. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on working with an individual’s constitution, rather than against it, to gently guide the body to a place of balance.   

Originating in China, acupuncture is a key healing method used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Practitioners inserted thin needles beneath the skin at recognized acupuncture points, which corresponded to energy channels or meridians. This ancient therapy restored the flow or energy to promote balance and healing. Acupuncture was also used as form of anesthesia to prevent pain during surgery.   

Today in Western medicine’s use of acupuncture, it functions as a variation of Chinese acupuncture, where practitioners insert hair-thin needles into the skin to trick the brain into healing by triggering the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. In Western medicine, acupuncture is considered a form of integrative medicine and is primarily used to treat pain and nausea.