Did you know that acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine that is still practiced today? That’s right! Acupuncture has endured for thousands of years as an effective method to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions. But where does acupuncture come from? And how does it work?
In today’s blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of acupuncture treatments. Let’s get started!
When & Where Was Acupuncture Invented?
Believe it or not, there’s evidence that acupuncture has been around for over 5,000 years! But acupuncture as we know it today probably began around the year 100 BC in China– that’s a bit over 2000 years ago. Gold and silver needles found in the tomb of Liu Sheng, a member of the Chinese royal family around that time.
As early as the year 100 AD, practitioners of acupuncture in China began to make the connection between chi the flow of energy in the body and wellness. For over 1,000 years the Chinese were the only culture to use acupuncture to cure illnesses and relieve pain.
Did You Know…
The earliest acupuncture needles were made from bone, bamboo, gold, silver, and other materials. However today, acupuncture needles are made from surgical stainless steel. This allows them to be incredibly sharp but also incredibly thin–thinner, in fact, than a human hair!
This means that modern acupuncture treatments are often essentially pain-free!
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (also known as the Huangdi Neijing) was probably the first scholarly medical texts to discuss the benefits of acupuncture treatments. It was written around 1800 years ago (sometime around 200 AD, most likely). Most importantly, however, it was this text that was used as a guide to refine acupuncture treatments over the course of nearly 1,000 years!
Virtually all modern acupuncture treatments can trace their roots to this seminal text.
Acupuncture Around the World
Eventually, nearby countries like Korea began to experiment with acupuncture therapies learned from practitioners of Chinese medicine. Evidence suggests that China sent “medical missionaries” to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan to teach their techniques and methods, including acupuncture.
It wasn’t until the 1500’s, however, that European countries began to practice acupuncture treatments. Missionaries working in China and Japan returned home and began introducing European doctors to the practice of acupuncture. Finally around the year 1800, French doctor Louis Berlioz began publishing his work with acupuncture treatments and therapies.
Richard Nixon & Acupuncture in America!
In 1972, then-President Richard Nixon visited China. During his trip, he saw patients receiving acupuncture treatments for pain management and interest in acupuncture treatments in the United States began to take off. An article in the New York Times, also published in the early 1970’s also helped increase awareness about acupuncture treatments in mainstream America.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Even though acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, its earliest practitioners had an excellent understanding of why and how it worked. Early Chinese practitioners believed in the existence of a life force (chi) that flowed along lines in the body known as meridians.
They used acupuncture treatments to help restore the chi’s natural flow, which could be disrupted by disease, injury, or illness.
Today, acupuncturists and Doctors of Alternative and Oriental Medicine rely on the same principles of acupuncture treatments, although they have been refined quite a bit in recent years! This is thanks to increased research and knowledge about the systems of the human body.
What is Acupuncture Used to Treat?
Acupuncture is an amazingly versatile treatment for a variety of ailments and illnesses. The reason for its effectiveness lies in its traditional roots. Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine focus on the body as one united system governed by the flow of chi. By controlling, directing, and restoring the flow of chi, acupuncture can be an effective treatment for disorders throughout the body.
Today, at CIMH, our Doctors of Alternative and Oriental Medicine use acupuncture treatments to help our patients with:
- Back, knee, and neck pain
- Chemotherapy side effects
- Many other health conditions
What to Expect From Acupuncture Treatments
If you’ve never had an acupuncture treatment, don’t be nervous! Most practitioners, including those at CIMH in Providence, don’t dive right into treatment. Instead, your first appointment will likely focus on your health history, any issues you’re facing, and your health goals. Then you’ll work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that works for you!
If you’re like most people, you’ve never loved having your blood drawn or getting a shot at the doctor’s office. However, acupuncture treatments are completely different:
- An acupuncture session takes place in a serene, relaxing setting– not a hectic hospital room.
- Acupuncture treatments are never rushed. Your acupuncturist should take his or her time to make sure you’re at ease before starting your treatments.
- Acupuncture needles are very sharp and thin. You might not feel anything at all!
Schedule an Appointment at CIMH
Are you interested in learning more about how acupuncture treatments can help you?
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and health evaluation.