Chinese medicine, of which acupuncture is a part, is a system of medicine that has developed over more than 2,000 years. Acupuncture was created by, and continues to develop through, academic theory, clinical practice and trials. There are 365 points on the body which run along meridians. Meridians are pathways throughout the body through which Qi (vital life energy), Blood and Fluids travel. A meridian is similar to a stream. When a stream is free flowing, life thrives. If the stream is obstructed, the water no longer flows freely. Areas beyond the obstruction are deprived, while those above become congested and stagnant. Fine needles are inserted into appropriate points to remove obstructions and create free flow. If Qi, Blood and Fluids are plentiful and free flowing, life is nourished and health is maintained. Obstructions cause pain, congestion and eventually illness.