Acupuncture may be defined as a stimulation of a specific point on the body with a specific method, resulting in a therapeutic homeostatic effect. The specific point on the body is an acupoint. The ancient Chinese people discovered 361 acupoints in human beings and 173 acupoints in animals.
Modern research shows that acupoints are located in the areas where there is a high density of free nerves endings, mast cells, small arterioles,and lymphatic vessels. Most acupoints are motor points. A number of studies indicate that stimulation of acupoints induces release of beta-endorphin, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters. Therefore, acupuncture for pain relief is well supported by these scientific studies. As more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy will be better understood.
Acupoints may be stimulated in a variety of ways. These techniques include dry needling, moxibustion, aqu-acupuncture and electro-stimulation. Whatever tools are used, the goal is always the same: to restore the flow of Qi and allow homeostasis to return.