Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that treats patients by insertion and manipulation of needles in the body. Its proponents variously claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats disease, prevents disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes. Acupuncture typically incorporates traditional Chinese medicine as an integral part of its practice and theory. However, many practitioners consider ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ (TCM) to narrowly refer to modern mainland Chinese practice. Acupuncture in Japan and Korea, and to a certain extent Taiwan, diverged from mainland China in theory and practice. In European countries such as the UK almost half the practitioners follow these non-TCM practices. The most notable difference is that these other approaches often are primarily acupuncture, and do not incorporate Chinese herbal medicine. The term “acupuncture” is sometimes used to refer to insertion of needles at points other than traditional ones, or to applying an electric current to needles in acupuncture points. Acupuncture dates back to prehistoric times, with written records from the second century BCE. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Definition courtesy Wikipedia.