Acupuncture makes use of channels of energy that flow through the body in a known pattern. The channels are called meridians; the energy is referred to as Qi. An oversimplified way to think of acupuncture is to compare it to how your blood moves through your veins. Just as a bruise forms when your blood pools and does not flow in your veins properly, health problems result when Qi cannot move through your body as it should.
Many people see dramatic results very quickly, especially for pain management, but acupuncture is not a magical cure-all. Sometimes numerous treatments are necessary, and sometimes a combination of different types of treatments and dietary changes will be the best way to provide relief. A thoroughly trained, professional practitioner of TCM will be able to diagnose and guide you through the best treatment plan for your problem.