If you are hoping for a quick answer, you are reading the wrong post, as the work here is deep, but there are some basic principles from a layperson’s biological perspective that we can share:
Two of the big questions acupuncturists get are what is this mystical qi and where are these channel systems?
We can think of qi as energy. We get energy from food, from breathing, from light, from electricity. Nearly every cell in our body has an energy factory called mitochondria. They produce energy or qi, or you can think of it as electrons and ions. On a more macro level, we have these things called muscles which are in effect big batteries both storing potential energy and creating energy. Not to mention all the electricity going off in your body and brain just by reading these words.
So, does that mean the acupuncture channels are the nervous system and the muscles? Not exactly. We can use the nerves and muscles, especially in the case of muscle injuries or nerve damage, the channel system is about nerves, blood vessels and the fascia. What is fascia? The cells in our body produce little tubules that form this mesh that covers our muscles, organs, tissues, and all sorts of things. Think of it as a giant collection of spider webs. Fascia is some of the most electrically conductive materials in the body. When you tug or activate one part, that travels all over the channel to cause changes locally, at the end of the line, along the channel, or all of the above. Similar when activating a nerve or motor point. That effect can be physical, chemical, electrical or some combination to create change in the body where things are stuck, where things are lacking, where things are too much and not flowing to other places, where something is in the way.
A more in-depth perspective of the neuro-chemical processes involved will come in a future post.