In Asia, Oriental medicine is called the medicine of vital energy. The explanation of its effectiveness is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of western medicine.
Ancient oriental physicians recognised that vital energy (called Ki in Japanese or Qi in Chinese) circulates along channels or meridians throughout the body and links all of the body’s parts and functions. Qi maintains and nurtures our physical body as well as our mind. It keeps the blood circulating, warms the body and fights disease. When a person is healthy, Ki flows smoothly through the channels but if, for some reason, the flow is blocked, weak, or excessive, then symptoms and/or illness occurs.
In treatment, the aim of the therapist is to correct the flow of Qi by inserting needles or applying pressure to specific points along the channels. In so doing, a change in part or function of the body is achieved. Changes in Qi precede physical change, so acupuncture, shiatsu and cupping can act as preventive medicine, correcting energy flow before a serious illness occurs. If physical change has already occurred, it can be reversed by adjusting the flow of Qi.