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The treatment of disorders by inserting needles into the skin at meridian points where the flow of energy is thought to be blocked. Also known as channels, these 14 pathways define the body's outer energetic system, or defensive energy.
To strengthen the flow of qi (Chinese term for vital energy or life force) or remove blockages in the meridians an acupuncturist inserts a number of tiny, sterile, flexible needles just under the skin at certain specific points (called "acupoints") along the channels. The word acupuncture comes from the Latin word "acus", meaning "needle", and "pungere", meaning "puncture".