Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back thousands of years and originated in China.
The foundation of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is based on meridian theory (channel pathways). Meridians have 'pools of condensed energy' referred to as acupuncture points (acu-points) along their pathways. These meridians connect to a pertaining organ for example; the Liver; the Liver (like all the rest of the organs) has it's own specific meridian 'the Liver meridian'. The meridian pathway travels a very specific course along the body starting somewhere and ending in another spot further away and in it's course, connects to the Liver(or which ever organ the meridian pertains to).
The organs all have very specific jobs such as; filter toxins, make bile, make blood, move the blood etc and these jobs are assisted by a paired organ for example the Liver makes the bile but it's paired organ the Gallbladder stores and releases the bile. If one is malfunctioning it can affect the other and so forth.
The needling of an acupuncture point can tap into and 'manipulate' the energy (this energy is commonly referred to as the 'Qi' , 'Ki' (in Japan) or 'electro-magnetic energy' (by the western world) but all meaning the same. The application of Acupuncture to an acu-point can affect the organ and /or it's meridian pathway to either regulate the flow, disperse stagnation, increase or reduce the energy, expel heat or cold, dry dampness etc. depending on what is going on.
There are few differences and many similarities between western & Chinese medicine pathology and disease process - just looked at, referred to, and approached differently in Chinese Medicine. Chinese medicine refers to western pathologies as 'patterns of disease'.
Chinese Medicine is the most commonly used medicine in the world aside from western medicine. It is cheap, affective and aims to treat the underlying cause of conditions or 'root cause'. Western medicine tends to treat the 'branch' or 'symptom' and does not always get to the core, root underlying cause as a result (however western medicine is vital in many ways!).
The body is entirely interconnected and not all separate parts as frequently viewed by western medicine. Chinese medicine views the person as a 'whole' and many symptoms can be linked to one or two underlying causes rather than multiple different ones IE; irritability or depression, headaches, painful periods, increased shoulder tension when ovulating or prior to onset of the menses and blurred vision are all linked to a pattern of disharmony affecting the liver. The liver is treated to help correct the above symptoms.
Chinese Medicine encompasses Acupuncture as the main treatment modality in conjunction with herbs, cupping therapy, infrared therapy, moxibustion, lifestyle counselling, exercise and a number of techniques falling under the banner of Chinese Medicine may be applied in a treatment.
The core of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore balance. This happens upon each treatment and is not generally 'instantaneous'. It takes time to become unhealthy as it takes time to get healthy again! In that being said TCM and Acupuncture is, in comparison pretty speedy when applied by a qualified and registered TCM practitioner & Acupuncturist.