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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.[1] Acupuncture is based on tradition and authority, not on the scientific method and science, and acupuncture's claims of efficacy are not yet well established or accepted by the scientific community, so acupuncture is considered an alternative medicine, not an evidence based medicine. 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"), although this energy may not be the same as any kind of energy measured by the science of physics. The acupuncture points are located on what are claimed to be paths ("meridians") where the qi is believed to flow. The location of the points is based on the number of days of the year, the number of rivers flowing through the Chinese empire, and other mystical considerations. Ideas of what constitutes “health” and “healing” sometimes differ from concepts used in scientific, evidence based medicine. 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.

Acupuncture is based on tradition and authority, not on the scientific method, and is not based in, and does not relate to, other interrelated fields of science such as human anatomy, human physiology, cellular biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, or physics. Scientific studies and experiments have been done attempting to prove or disprove some of the claims of its practitioners, but the conclusions of these are still the subject of debate as to whether there is any efficacy beyond a placebo effect or publishing bias. Other claims of acupuncture have not been tested in any way using scientific methodology. No structures corresponding to meridians have been found by the science of human anatomy. No force corresponding to qi (or yin and yang) has been found in the science of physics.


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