Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice, dating back approximately 5,000 years. It is based on the concept of an energy flow, Qi (or chi), which circulates beneath the skin following preferred pathways and carrying two types of energy, a positive energy - the yang - and a negative energy - the yin. Diseases cause incorrect, unbalanced, or blocked circulation of these energies.
Acupuncture is one of the five methods used to restore correct circulation of the Qi. There are twelve meridians beneath the skin, corresponding to the same number of organs in which the Qi circulates. The needles implanted at specific points on these meridians act on the corresponding organ.
The other four methods to treat or prevent diseases are herbal therapy, massages, dietetics, and energy gymnastics (Tai-chi, Qi gong etc.).