The ancient Chinese believe that there is a universal life force energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate through the body along the specific pathways called Meridians. As long as this energy flows freely through the meridians, health is maintained but once the flow of energy is blocked the system is disrupted in the pain or illness may occur. Acupuncture works to restore normal function by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the chi energy. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin solid metallic needles that are manipulated by hand.