Acupuncture is the practice of using channels of energy or meridians that run throughout the human body to adjust the functioning of organs and tissues. Using very thin needles, or metallic sticks if you’re too scared, acupuncturists direct the energy through electrically charged fascia, or sheaths of tissue that make up the whole body. The fascia conduct electrical energy around the body so that the acupuncturist can communicate with, for example, the liver by needling a point on the foot. For a more detailed analysis of the scientific evidence of these channels and their energetic properties, please see the work of Dr Wae Wanho at the Institute of Science in Society.
The needles are sterile, one time use and one-fiftieth the diameter of regular injection needles. After diagnosis between one and ten or so needles are inserted into acupuncture points of which there are more than 600.
The needles are left in for typically 21 minutes but in some cases are retained for 5 minutes in the back points or 45 minutes for lipid movement (stubborn fat reduction). Depending on the strength of internal energy and acuteness of pathogen, the needles may be gently manipulated while in position, particularly when there is long-term tension; this involves heating or turning the needles to stimulate a relaxation of the muscles or a low level aching sensation, both of which enhance the body’s own immune response.