As stated before, qi can be moved through blocked meridians in the body through stimulation points (acupuncture points). These points can be stimulated by needles, heat (top right picture: moxibustion), cupping (bottom right picture), massage and voltage.
Uses: most Americans use acupuncture for chronic pain and other pain issues that are not solved with pain medications. The number of effective treatments is not really stated anywhere, but clearly people believe it works or the practice of acupuncture would not be growing as much as it is. In addition to chronic pain it can treat: infertility, headaches, gastritis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, trigeminal neuralgia, stroke symptoms and much more
Insurance: Most acupuncture is covered by Medicaid and other insurances because there are minimal side effects and if a patient responds well to treatment it is much cheaper than long term drug therapies.
After reading up on acupuncture, I believe that if a patient thinks it will work for them, that it will work. If a patient thinks that it won't, then it won't work. Keeping an open mind, I plan to eventually try acupuncture in my lifetime if I had a medical problem that it could treat.