Acupuncture, the method of treating diseases by using needles, is based on the Chinese model of health and disease. In this model, there are three main systems in the body. The first two of these are the circulatory and nervous systems as in the western view but, additionally, there is a sort of energy movement.

The Chinese believe that all forms of life are controlled by two basic movements of energy. One is outward moving and the other is inward moving. When an outward movement reaches its limit, it changes direction and starts to move inwards. Similarly, when an inward movement reaches its limit, ü changes direction and starts to K) move outwards.

The operation is like a pump, and this constant pumping movement may be seen in almost every form of life – the human heart, for example. Understanding this idea of energy movement is important when looking at the theory behind Chinese Acupuncture. In this theory.  there is a life force which consists of inward and outward moving energy in each person.


Inward moving energy tends to increase activity and the other produces calm. The health of the body depends on the balance between the two. If this balance is disturbed, diseases occur.  The Chinese also discovered that this movement takes place around the body along 26 channels called meridians. Each one of these is connected to a different part of the body and has a different function.


Diseases also occur when a meridian is blocked. To help unblock energy channels, doctors place needles in different parts of the body,  but to cure the disease the needles have to be placed in the right place and have the right depth. The earliest acupuncture needles were made of stone. These would have been used when the first books were written about acupuncture 4,500 years ago.

The Chinese later used needles made of bone and  then of different metals such as iron and silver. Today, they are made of steel. The Chinese first believed that the needle itself cured the disease. However, this was before it was discovered that there are certain points along the meridians which are connected to various parts of the  body, such as the stomach and the heart.



There are over 800 different needle points in the body. The doctor examines the patient and decides which part of his or her body are over-active or under-active; in other words, the doctor finds out where there is too much or too little energy. When the acupuncture points  have been found, needles are placed in the skin at various depths. They are then left there for different periods of time, which might be as short as a few seconds. A major recent development has been the use of acupuncture in medical operations.


In such cases, it is used instead of anaesthetics, in  order to take away the pain felt by the patient. In China today, this use of acupuncture is extremely common in both major and minor operations, even operations on the heart. In the East there are nearly three million doctors who regularly use acupuncture. It is taught in several Russian universities. And even in  Europe and America there are thousands of doctors who have now learnt how to use acupuncture. The West, however, uses only one part of the technique intensively; that is, the use of needles to relieve pain during operations.



A. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘these’ (line 3):
2. ‘other’ (line 6):
3. ‘if (line 9):
4. ‘this theory’ (line 14):
5. ‘the other’ (line 17):
6. ‘these’ (line 21):
7. These’ (line 27):
8. ‘there’ (line 41):
9. ‘which’ (line 41):
10. ‘such cases’ (line 44):

B. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).
1. According to the Chinese, the energy movement in the body can be observed in the working of the human heart.
2. Knowing about the energy movement in the body is necessary to understand how acupuncture works.
3. The life force in the theory of acupuncture refers to the balanced movement of energy in the human body.
4. The outward moving energy in the human body makes a person very active.
5. Energy channels in the body are called meridians when they are blocked


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