TIM MALYON & PAUL BIDDLE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TIM MALYON & PAUL BIDDLE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Acupuncturist manipulating needles inserted into the shenshu points on the bladder meridian on a patient's lower back. 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. Here, the kidneys are being "tonified" or filled with Ch'i. The skin surrounding the needles is pink where it has been warmed with a smouldering cigar of moxa (the downy covering of the leaves of the herb Artemisia moxa, a type of wormwood) to stimulate the energy flow.
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