The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has an interesting history. It has had a difficult time gaining recognition both in the world where it began and the places that it has traveled to. It is believed to be at a practice that can be traced back at least three thousand years. There are early notations of it in Japan where it is part of Kampo; early Japanese medical care which uses acupuncture but incorporates herbs as a big part of its medical care. These notations date back around fifteen hundred years. It is also mentioned in old texts on Korean medicine, which is known as chimsul, where they also practice acupuncture. There are even questions whether a form of acupuncture was originally practiced in Europe over five thousand years ago based on archeological evidence found recently. Researchers believe this to be the case, that this form of acupuncture was well known before it popped up in China. This brings with it many questions which archeologists continue to look into. There have been many indications, including hieroglyphics, which show an earlier form of acupuncture that used sharpened stones to accomplish a similar outcome.

In earlier times in China the practice of acupuncture was not encouraged. The reactions were similar to those in the western world; it was looked on as an odd superstitious practice that was used only by backwards practitioners who knew no better. It was discouraged and looked down on as an old medicine. It was said to oppose the teachings of the governing party and so should be discouraged. The government wanted their medicine to have its basis in science not in what they termed to be magic. This all changed when Mao came to power. He believed in acupuncture and the whole range of various medicinal beliefs held by the practitioners of it. He believed in it so strongly that he changed the course of Chinese medicine to accommodate acupuncture and its teachings.

Mao promoted the use of what is now referred to as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine. This encompasses using acupuncture, herbal medicines and tui na, which is the practice of body massage. Chairman Mao allowed for these types of Chinese medicine to be grouped with the study of the effects of environment on the body to make up the types of medical practices that were allowed in China. Other types of medicine were made illegal at that time. It caused many health care providers to decide it was wise to leave China. Many moved to western countries bringing with them their knowledge of acupuncture. Much of this knowledge did not come from studies in schools but by being taught by their elders. This practice was handed down over the generations.

Although acupuncture first appeared in the United States nearly two hundred years ago it was not easily accepted at that time. it is only the last forty years that it has been accepted and the last decade that there has been acceptance by not only the public but the medical field as well.