The Classical Chinese theory of acupuncture developed out of an observation of nature. Chinese Medicine practitioners of antiquity recognized that the energy pathways of the body behaved like water canals. Acupuncture points were analogous to water gates and in order to redirect Qi and blood to a certain part of the body these points were needled. These invisible channels and points are understood to determine the characteristics of the visible physical form. Thus, when there is blockage, there is pain and disease; when there is no blockage, there is no pain. These channels work together to form a network that connects the outside with the inside, the upper portion with the lower portion, and the left with the right. For instance, a needle placed in the leg is able to affect a change in the upper portion of the body, and a needle placed on the hand is able to affect change internally. Through the understanding of channel location and flow, practitioners are able to treat a wide range of illness.
There are several current Western Scientific explanations of acupuncture that are being evaluated in new terms that describe Qi and meridians in a very interesting way. One explanation is that a dysfunction of the internal environment of the body creates sensory changes on the surface of the body through specific nervous pathways. These are often felt as “tender areas.” So by stimulating these areas with needles, internal structures can be regulated via these same signaling systems.