TIM MALYON & PAUL BIDDLE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TIM MALYON & PAUL BIDDLE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Acupuncturist inserting a needle into a point (named hegu) on the large intestine meridian on a patient's left hand. In traditional Chinese medicine, illness is considered to be due to an imbalance of "vital energy" or Ch'i, which flows through the body in twelve pathways or meridians, each meridian corresponding with one of the vital organs. The acupuncturist corrects the imbalance by inserting needles at specific points on the meridians and rotating the free ends to stimulate the energy flow. Strong stimulation can result in a sensation similar to a mild electric shock.
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