There are some patients who say that they feel something moving down to the leg, though the needle is applied on the abdomen, or "electricity running" and so on.
This means that the patient has something irregular down the leg. It is very common to perform needling on the limbs or back though, for example, the patient has a headache.
Especially the feeling as if the electricity is running in the body is like the lightning streaks down the ground. The path such the electricity runs is expressed as "meridian" in Oriental medicine. As the lightning is called as "electricity", the power, qi, is running the all over the body.
Such responses of meridians were used to be very common long time ago, but now people have lost such senses, so this is not what everybody can feel. However, the fact that applying the needle on certain point can actually cure the disorder which appears far away from the point. This is understood as the qi is transferred from the point where the needle is applied, through the meridian and reaches at the affected area, in other words, the unbalance of qi is adjusted.
However, does the qi really run through the meridian that you expect?? There is no way to prove it, so this is quite uncertain. Because, it is also common that the lightning streaks through the meridian that you never anticipate. Even the qi runs through the meridian, it is very modern point of view (!) to think that the qi runs where one expects.
Rather, it is more practical to think that the symptom, such as a headache, is one of reference points indicating the unbalance of qi of the whole body, in other words, as the tip of the iceberg.
The movement of qi is more open and generous. It is the power to move all over the body, not limited only via the path of certain meridians.
*This is translated from the article by Kobayashi sensei, "Taishido Times Square" vol.16