Acupuncture, which is a type of treatment from China, Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia, involves putting short, thin and flexible needles in the skin. The needles affect invisible pathways that crisscross the body like roads on a road map. The theory behind acupuncture is that vital energy or qi (pronounced chee) flows in the pathways, called meridians. Similar to blood vessels, the meridians are connected throughout the body, permitting energy flow between them. In Chinese medicine teaching, disease symptoms result from an imbalance of qi in one or more meridians. The acupuncturist detects these imbalances, and re-establishes proper flow by applying the needles to get the qi moving where it is blocked, and thus causing pain or disease.