What is acupuncture?
The TCM treatment of acupuncture is based on the meridian theory. Put simply, meridians are a network of channels that link visceral organs with various parts of the body, all the way to the extremities. The meridian system connects internally with the viscera and externally with tendons, muscles and skin.
There are 3 yang meridians on the hands and 3 on the legs. There are also 3 yin meridians on the hands and another 3 on the legs. All 12 meridians relate to different organs, but may affect one another through collaterals and connecting points.
There are a further 8 extraordinary meridians not directly associated with the 12 organs. They are called the Governor (Du), Conception (Ren), Penetrating (Chong), Belt (Dai), Yin Link (Yinwei), Yang Link (Yangwei), Yin Heel (Yinqiao), Yang Heel (Yangqiao).
It is believed that stimulation of points on these channels (with pressure, suction, needles, heat) will have some physiological effects on their respective organs.
As the name suggests, acupuncture involves the insertion and manipulation of needles into the skin, tendons or muscles. It form of treatment is sometimes coupled with moxibustion and cupping.