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Acupuncture has been practiced in China for more than 4000 years. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique for unblocking chi (ch'i or qi) by inserting needles at particular points on the body to balance the opposing forces of yin and yang. The needles are twirled, heated, or even stimulated with weak electrical current, ultrasound, or certain wavelengths of light. Some use tuning forks over the acupoints. Traditional Chinese medicine has identified some 500 specific points where needles are to be inserted for specific effects. Chi is an energy that allegedly permeates all things. It is believed to flow through the body along 14 main pathways called meridians. When yin and yang are in harmony, chi flows freely within the body and a person is healthy. When a person is sick, diseased, or injured, there is an obstruction of chi along one of the meridians.
The earliest written account of acupuncture is found in the Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine). This document is believed to be from around 200 BC and is one of the oldest comprehensive medical text book. Pien Chueh, a famous physician of the fourth century BC, used stone acupuncture needles, moxibustion and herbs to bring a prince out of a coma. Acupuncture has become increasingly more accepted within the field of medicine worldwide. The fascination lies in the fact that fine needles and the gentle strength can grant healthy without the need for pills. Now these two complementary techniques are the main representatives of Chinese medicine in the west. In the United States, where practitioners incorporate healing traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries, acupuncture is considered part of complementary and alternative medicine.

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