Early written accounts of TCM date back to 180 B.C. in China and are based on the belief that health is determined by balancing the flow of the vital life energy (called Qi or Chi) that circulates through all living organisms. According to acupuncture theory, Qi circulates in the body along 12 major energy pathways, or meridians, which are associated with specific internal organs and organ systems. When special needles are inserted into certain points along these meridians, they help correct, balance and re-establish the proper flow of Qi. Clinical research continues to demonstrate acupuncture's effectiveness for alleviating pain, increasing immune function and improving a wide variety of conditions by balancing the flow of vital life energy throughout the body.
The presence of these meridians was established by French researcher Pierre de Vernejoul, who injected radioactive isotopes into the acupuncture points in humans and tracked their movements using a special gamma-imaging camera. The isotopes traveled along these meridians within minutes after injection. The French researcher then challenged his work by injecting isotopes into random points of the body rather than known acupuncture points. In these cases, the isotopes did not travel in the same manor, further indicating that meridians do indeed comprise a system of separate and unique pathways within the body.
The World Health Organization has cited over 100 different ailments for which acupuncture treatment has been shown effective. These range from chronic pain to migraines, sinusitis, colds, flu, asthma, allergies, addictions, gastrointestinal disorders, Meniere'syndrome, stroke, sciatica, osteoarthritis, and many more. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture is useful for treating environmentally-induced illnesses, pesticide poisoning, hormone balancing and adrenal dysfunction.