Acupuncture is a practice in which needles are inserted into various traditionally determined points of the body ("acupuncture points") and then manipulated, or the theory under which the practice is done. Its practitioners variously claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats disease, prevents disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes. The practice dates back to at least the 2nd century B.C. in China. Acupuncture typically incorporates traditional Chinese medicine as an integral part of its practice and theory. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Acupuncture is based on a belief that flowing through the body is a kind of “energy” called “qi” (or "chi"). The acupuncture points are located on paths ("meridians") where the qi is believed to flow. Acupuncture was developed prior to the science of anatomy and the cell theory upon which the science of biology is based, and disease is believed to be caused by an imbalance of yin and yang caused by a blockage or stagnation of qi, not by infectious agents.