Acupuncture treats health conditions by stimulating “acu-points” found at specific locations on the surface of the body. Acupuncturists stimulate the acu-points by inserting very thin needles through the skin to produce physiological effects.

The general theory of acupuncture is that proper physiological function and health depend on the circulation of nutrients, substances and energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) through a network of “channels” or “meridians.” This network connects every organ and part of the body, providing balance, regulation and coordination of physiological processes.

Pain and ill-health result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked by many things, including disease, pathogens, trauma/injuries and medication (side-effects), as well as lifestyle factors such as overwork, poor diet, emotions, lack of rest and stress.

Stimulation of the appropriate acu-points through acupuncture treatments helps to restore sufficient, continuous and even flow of Qi and other nutrients throughout the body, thereby restoring health and balance to the body, while relieving pain and other symptoms.

The acupuncturist uses a sophisticated and complex system of diagnostic methods that take into consideration the person as a whole, discerning the body’s pattern of disharmony rather than isolated symptoms. The aim is not only to eliminate or alleviate symptoms, but more importantly to treat the underlying cause, increase the ability to function and improve the quality of life.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is one of the newest primary health care professions in California. The potential benefits of acupuncture are widely recognized, and it is being increasingly integrated with mainstream health care. Since the 1970’s, when acupuncture and Oriental medicine first became available in the United States, more than 15 million Americans have tried it. The risk of side effects is low and the potential benefits are high. Knowing what to expect from acupuncture will help patients get the most benefit from treatments. The purpose of this booklet is to help consumers approach acupuncture treatment from an informed perspective.