While there are many health issues acupuncture can help with, it is sometimes important to step back and understand what is going on. Acupuncture theory goes a long way to understanding the treatment.
The word theory is interesting. Usually, when a person knows that something is a stone cold fact, he no longer thinks of it as a theory. When you listen to a person knowledgeable in Traditional Chinese Medicine talk about how acupuncture actually works, you will certainly get the impression they are pretty sure they know whereof they speak. Yet the very definition of the word theory speaks much about how TCM and acupuncture itself might have evolved from the very dawn of mankind.
People have always been concerned about their health, and have always desired to feel better. There is little doubt the most primitive man had these desires. Over millions of years of trying, they were likely to discover some things that actually worked. This is really the guiding principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. It works. Acupuncture theory was developed and written down much later in an attempt to explain why it worked. That is why the process is still evolving and it is not unlikely evolution in the Theory will take place as years pass.
The most recent change in the Theory, or at least the way of expressing the Theory, took place during the beginnings of the Communist regime in China. The leaders were anxious that China not look backward in the eyes of the Western Powers that had shown the wisdom and understanding required to build bigger guns and bigger ships. As the years went by, they began to see the foolishness of this line of thinking, but still their dogmatic beliefs led them to alter the theory of what was then considered Classical Chinese Medicine into Traditional Chinese Medicine. What changed was a removal of some of the more spiritual elements that smacked a bit of religion.
Both forms of Acupuncture Theory still exist today. There are some minor differences between them. The underlying idea is that man was intended to be in harmony with the world in which he lives. He was intended to feel well. His body is a precisely engineered masterpiece that should work like a Swiss watch. When it does not, it means that something is amiss. This something is not the external thing, the symptom that Westerners tend to view as the problem. It is actually something internal, and often distant from the symptom.
Great rivers of vital energy, a substance known as qi that is as hard to define as the human soul, move over unseen channels inside our body. When something happens to block or hinder this flow, things will quickly get out of whack. It is possible, however, to regulate this flow by stimulating certain key points along the channels. There are thousands of these points and each is interconnected to the others in a complex grid. This is the basic Theory of Acupuncture.