Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance. In contrast, Western practitioners view acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue, which boosts your body’s natural painkillers and increases blood flow.