In short, there is no widely accepted theory as to how acupuncture works. The traditional Chinese theory holds that the body’s life energy called Qi (pronounced Chee) travels around the body in pathways called meridians. The acupuncturist views illness as an energetic imbalance and is able to influence this imbalance by inserting very fine needles at certain points along these channels called Acupoints. The acupuncturist may also use heat treatment (called Moxibustion) or Cupping in the treatment.
Much research show that acupuncture causes a release of endorphins, the body’s naturally produced painkillers. Research also indicates that acupuncture causes beneficial effects to the body’s immune and endocrine systems. A good deal of research has been carried out on the ‘Gate Theory’ first proposed in 1965 which basically held that the insertion of an acupuncture needle can interrupt the signals from the sensory nerve endings to the brain and thus have an analgesic effect. However most modern research is focusing on the theory that acupuncture has profound neurophysiological effects and up to details of current research can be found on the US National Institutes of Health website (www.nih.gov)