Acupuncture is one of several therapies used in the healing system of Chinese Medicine. It has a 2,000-year old written history in China, but dates back before human history was recorded. It is commonly practiced throughout East-Asia, though historical evidence shows variations of acupuncture in the ancient Americas as well.
The ancient Chinese first mapped pathways along the body through which qi travels (the closest translation for qi is vital energy). They found that illness occurred when the qi flow was interrupted in these energy pathways. By inserting extremely fine needles in specific points along the pathways, the smooth flow of qi is re-established and organ functions are regulated. This can help relax muscles, reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and soothe the mind and heart.