Practitioners of acupuncture believe illness, including chronic pain, is due to imbalances of energy in the body. Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine in which the body is seen as a balance of two opposing and inseparable forces or energy—yin and yang. Yin represents cold, slow, or passive aspects of the person, while yang represents hot, excited, or active aspects. Yin is masculine and yang is feminine energy. This energy is also known as chi, the life force that permeates the world. Health is achieved through balancing of yin and yang, and disease is caused by an imbalance of these forces, leading to a blockage in the flow of chi. In acupuncture, hair-thin steel needles are inserted into the body to stimulate fourteen energy-carrying channels to correct the imbalances. Acupuncture is thought to relieve pain by increasing the release of endorphins, the natural chemicals in the body that block and treat pain. The acupuncturist inserts the needles into the body at predetermined points where they stay for differing lengths of time. They can be spun, warmed, or electrically energized to intensify the treatment. Some people feel energized after a treatment, while others feel relaxed. Acupuncture is very effective for chronic pain treatment including back, neck, and muscle pain, headache, facial pain, arthritis, and shingles. Acupuncturists believe treatments can strengthen the body’s immune system. Acupuncture also has been used to treat obesity, drug addiction, and many other conditions. This blog post is an excerpt from A Day Without Pain (Revised) by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).