Acupuncture involves inserting and manipulating very thin needles into different points on your body to help relieve pain or for other healthful purposes. The word acupuncture comes from the Latin words "acus" meaning "needle" and "pungere" which means "to prick".
Before you get the heebie jeebies too much, let me assure you that I once interviewed a specialist in acupuncture and she gave me a demonstration of how it is done, and I could not feel the super thin needle going into my skin at all. What I did feel was a little jolt of energy in my arm where she inserted the needle, but it didn’t hurt one bit.
That jolt that I felt is very common in acupuncture and is part of the whole process of how it can help us. According to Wikipedia.com, traditional Chinese medicine, which has used acupuncture for thousands and thousands of years, acupuncture points are found on meridians on our bodies along which something called “qi” or “life energy” flows. When the fine needles are inserted into these specific points, they help stimulate the body’s natural healing process and energy system. The sensation I felt in my arm from just one itty bitty needle was apparently my own “qi” or energy being tapped.
Acupuncture has been used to help with a variety of health issues. Relieving stress is probably one of the more common ones, as it’s something that just about all of us experience. And of course, stress can lead to other health problems too, so while you might be getting acupuncture to treat a sore neck or back, chances are pretty good that stress has something to do with this.
To understand how acupuncture can help with stress, let’s think again about our life energy and how it flows through our bodies. When we are stressed out, the theory is that it will create an imbalance in our life energy, and it will not flow correctly throughout our bodies. To help with this concept, think of this energy as a stream filled with water. When things are going well, the water will flow effortlessly down the stream. But when stress comes along in the form of dams and big boulders and giant logs lying across the stream, the water, or qi, can’t flow easily anymore.