What is Acupuncture?

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a 2000+year-old system of medicine designed to both restore and maintain one's health and well-being. Its roots are grounded in an ancient Chinese world-view and culture that stressed the importance of being in balance with the natural world that surrounds you.

The system is based on the concept that we have Qi (or Chi, pronounced "Chee"), or vital energy, flowing through our bodies. When Qi flow is optimal, we are "healthy". When Qi flow is not optimal, depending on the wheres, whys, and hows, various conditions of disease will arise. 

Things that can disrupt the flow of Qi can be either internal or external, such as an emotional disruption (being stuck in grief after a loss or overcome with anger), a pathogen (a bacteria or virus), an environmental factor (excessive exposure to cold or humidity), or an injury (straining a muscle or breaking a bone). 

Basically, life disrupts the flow of Qi in everyone to some extent, and it's our job to smooth things out so that we feel well. A lot of times, we can do that ourselves. Sometimes we need a little help, which is where acupuncture comes into play.

An acupuncturist uses various forms of observation and engagement with you to determine where the flow in your body can use some help. We will ask questions and use touch to gather information. We will listen to pulses in your wrist, take a look at your tongue, and check your range of motion. After assessment, we will determine a course of action, based on you and our understanding of you, to help your body return to optimal flow.

This post begins a series of entries designed to answer common questions people have about acupuncture. 

If you would like to submit a question, you may do so via the comments below, or by emailing me here.

Next time . . . How does it work?


  1. I have a question! Do you think clients need to "believe in" acupuncture to benefit from it? Do you notice a difference in the experiences of clients who are more and less open to the treatment?

  2. Two good questions. I'll write up the answers in separate posts now.