qi is a critical element of human life, according to Chinese medicine. This can be described as the vital energy flowing through the body.
Meridians are pathways through which qi is believed to flow. There are fourteen major meridian lines in the human body—one meridian for each of the twelve inner organs.
Blockages, impediments, and desensitization due to an infection or ailment impede the flow of qi through these meridians, resulting in disease manifestation. These impediments or blockages are removed with the help of acupuncture needles or by applying pressure at specific points.
In ancient times, the number of acupuncture points was believed to be 365. More points have since been identified. Through these points one can reach out to the meridians. Today, meridians and acupuncture points are associated with nervous system pressure points. Each nerve point triggers a response in a specific organ.
Pressure on a specific acupuncture point stimulates the associated nerves that trigger the release of hormones and biochemicals. These provide relief to the affected part of the organ. In China, acupuncture is used extensively in treating a range of ailments. It is said to be most effective in dealing with pain.
Let me present a preview of scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of acupuncture.
A group of scientists screened 2151 publications on acupuncture treatment involving cancer patients. They also reviewed 41 random clinical trials involving eight symptoms (pain, nausea, hot flashes, fatigue, radiation-induced challenges, anxiety/mood disorders, sleep disturbance, and prolonged postoperative side effects such as vomiting, stomach distention, and other stomach-related discomforts. This review showed that acupuncture as an adjunct treatment yielded positive results for these patients (Garcia et al., 2013). Another clinical trial showed positive results for cancer-related fatigue in patients given acupuncture along with regular medicine (Balk et al., 2009).