Acupuncture is a technique where thin filiform needles are inserted into specific points on the body to promote circulation, decrease inflammation, and stimulate the body's natural healing response. Acupuncture is one practice used in the broader medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also includes modalities such as cupping, gua sha, tui na, and moxibustion.
Acupuncture works on the parasympathetic nervous system, stimulating our "rest and digest" mode. The other side of that coin, the sympathetic nervous system, governs "fight or flight". Overly stimulated sympathetic nervous system activity (as seen with prolonged stress) is associated with numerous chronic health issues.
Acupuncture originated in China approximately 3,500 years ago and remains one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of healing in the world. Modern research has begun to demonstrate some of the mechanisms explaining its effectiveness.