Most people would probably recall an acupuncture session in the movie Final Destination 5 – a man with many needles stuck all over his body and unable to move, almost resembling an immobile porcupine. Thankfully in reality acupuncture is not like this. It is not about poking needles on every bare inch of skin. Most of the times, a few needles would suffice.

Chinese medicine is based on the foundation that our organs can function and that we can move around and go about our daily activities because of the qi (life force energy) in us. This qi flows through channels called meridians, and at certain points along these meridians, qi is especially more pronounced or more easily accessed. These points are termed as acupoints, which is where acupuncture needles would be placed in if necessary. A person is considered to be in good health if their qi is of sufficient levels and flowing smoothly. However, if there is too much or too little qi in an area, or the qi is not flowing smoothly or remains stagnant in an area, then the person falls ill or experiences pain. Here is necessary to ensure that qi can flow continuously. In such situations, doctors can employ acupuncture.

Depending on the patient's condition, acupoints varies can either be near the problematic areas, far from them or a combination of both. This depends on the doctor's planned route of treatment. By using acupoints near the problematic area, the doctor would be tackling the 'troubled' qi head-on, while it would be possible to direct good qi to the problematic area by using acupoints further away.

After having chosen the acupoints, next comes the insertion of the needles. Acupuncture is not just a simple case of sticking needles into the body, as is the common misconception. From the insertion of the needle to the way the doctor works the needle after it has been inserted and up to the removal of the needle, the methods with which the doctor chooses to carry out all these will vary, depending on the patient's ailment and condition . During the period when the needle is in the body, it is normal to feel that the area is sore, heavy, bloated or numb. These are signs that the treatment is effective. However should the feeling be unbearable, the doctor should be informed so that he or she can reduce the intensity of it.

Acupuncture can be used to treat many kinds of ailments, and is suitable for most people. However, there are some who should avoid going for acupuncture treatments. These include pregnant women, those who are gravely ill and people with problems in blood clotting. Always check with the doctor beforehand on the best course of treatment for you.