Is acupuncture a nerve treatment?

No. Acupuncture theory is based on a channel system that is neither separate from, nor dependent upon, nerves. These channels connect the whole body and are conduits of qi; points are areas where the qi is accessible.

Channels aren’t anatomical parts; their existence depends upon the life they circulate. A corpse, for example, has no channels and no acupuncture points because it has no qi. So the channels are in part what enervate us, but they are not synonymous to nerves.

Here’s an example: a channel runs along the spinal column, an area replete with spinal nerves that affect the entire body. When I access the acupuncture points of the area, I am not attempting to influence or block the nerves. Likely the nerves respond in one manner or another, but that response is, for acupuncturists, of peripheral significance.

The nerves are just one instrument of qi; they are not anything final in themselves. If the qi changes, so will the nerves.