The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular pattems through the body and over its surface. These energychannels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.

The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modem scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which intluence the body's own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and promoting physical and emotional well-being.

People experience acupuncture needling differently. Some people feel the initial insertion as a mere prick; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt. There can be a heavy sensation or tingling sensation. This is described in acupuncture literature as the sensation of the qi "coming to the needle".

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point of the needle is smooth and not hollow as blood drawing needles. In fact, 10 acupuncture needles could fit inside one blood
drawing needle. Insertion of the needle is also not as painful as injections or blood sampling.

Patients visits are usually scheduled once weekly, although two or three visits each week are not uncom mon especially during the initial stages of an acute problem. When a favorable response lasts for the full week between visits, the interval is opened to 2 weeks. As the response stabilizes for a 2 week period, the interval is opened again to 3 weeks, then 4 weeks. When the symptoms are stable for 4 weeks, a decision is made as to whether the patient should retum for a maintenance treatment in another month or 6 weeks or call for an appointment only if the condition retums. Chronic pain problems typically require maintenance
treatments at 1-month, 6 week, or 2 month intervals. Medical problems of lesser severity and chronicity can often be resolved adequately and do not require main tenance treatments, although chronic medical problems-even when they respond well to acupuncture-typically call for quarterly maintenance treatments.