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5 Interesting Facts About the History of Acupuncture

The History of Acupuncture

Over the last few years, alternative and holistic medicine has become widely popular. More and more people are searching for other ways to combat illness, relieve pain and heal themselves without drugs and medications. Acupuncture is widely recognized for treating a multitude of physical as well as mental ailments. The ancient Chinese healing technique uses fine needles that are strategically placed throughout the body on specific points. The backstory of acupuncture is quite fascinating, so we have gathered five interesting facts about its history.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine
Acupuncture medicine is about 5,000 years old and originates in China. One of the first uncovered documents that described this healing technique showed diagnoses and treatments. This document is known as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, dating back to about 100BC. It is written in the form of a question by the emperor and presumably answered by his minister. Part of the text includes mention of anatomical locations of acupuncture points on the body that is still relevant to the procedure today.

Acupuncture needles weren’t always stainless steel
In ancient China, Gold, silver, bamboo, stone and bones are just some of the objects that were found to be used in the practice of acupuncture. It is imaginable that the needles made from these materials were not painless let alone sanitary. Today, acupuncture needles are made from disposable stainless steel which makes the procedure pain-free and safe.

Acupuncture and the five elements theory
Ancient Chinese theory believes that the world and the body are made up of five elements; wood, fire earth, metal, and water. The theory states that all of these elements are connected, and each element has a relationship to the other. For example, earth generates metal and water influences fire. The five elements theory may be a basis for many acupuncture treatments. For instance, the kidney is related to water and the heart with fire. If there is a kidney problem, then there may also be a problem with the heart so an acupuncture treatment may be made to target both areas. Although it may sound like “quackery,” many studies have been done to support this theory in the healing process through acupuncture.

Acupuncture gained US popularity in 1972
After President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, an attending reporter had undergone an emergency appendectomy. After experiencing great pain relief through an acupuncture procedure post-surgery, he wrote about his encounter with acupuncture when he returned to the US. His personal story gave notoriety to the ancient healing practice.

Acupuncture originally was used as a preventative
Acupuncture was originally used to prevent medical conditions. However, the World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as an effective way to treat over 15 medical conditions. Insurance companies have become more open to cover acupuncture procedures for many ailments such as knee pain, headaches, neck pain, back pain and many more painful conditions.

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