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The History of Acupuncture

Hood River Acupuncture Video - The History of Acupuncture

Though most Americans did not know of acupuncture before the 1970’s, it has been in use for centuries. There are clues that it may date back to as early as 6000 BCE, though the first recording of acupuncture dates much later than that. Bones sharpened into tools in 6000 BCE could have been used as needles. The Ice Man dated to 3300 BCE has tattoos that appear to be in points used in acupuncture. It is, however, China’s ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’ published in 100 BCE that first records the treatment.

History of Acupuncture in China

‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’ is the first book that records explanations of Qi as well as the channels found throughout the body. It is believed that this book contains knowledge passed down from generations, though, which may mean acupuncture treatment dates back much further. Acupuncture was the standard of medical treatment in China along with herbs, heat, diet, and massage.

Sometime during the Ming Dynasty, another book was published called ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.’ This is what current acupuncture is based off of, including the acupuncture points. The treatment continued to be used until the 1800’s when it was thought of as a superstitious technique and then banned in the 1920’s.

It was not until the 1950’s that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine experienced resurgence due to a large population and need for medicine. There were very few Western medicine doctors in ratio to Traditional so acupuncture was then promoted.

History of Acupuncture

History of Acupuncture in Western Medicine

There was some record of acupuncture being used in Western civilization as early as the 1800’s for treatment of back pain. Dr. Louis-Joseph Berlioz wrote about his success with acupuncture that he published in 1816 titled, ‘Memoirs on Chronic Complaints.’ It did not, however, gain popularity and continued to be hidden in Western medicine. In 1959, Denis Lawson-Wood wrote the first English text that spoke about acupuncture. ‘Chinese System of Healing: An Introduction to Acupuncture’ covered the treatment along with its usages.

It was in 1971 that acupuncture received its first move toward popularity. A U.S. news reporter received acupuncture treatment after having his appendix removed while in China and then wrote about the experience. It was after this that progress started to be made in America.

Acupuncture in the United States

Acupuncture is now implemented into several medical schools in the U.S., including Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Maryland. Acupuncture has also been introduced into Western Medical establishments with resident acupuncturists at the Mayo Clinics, Los Angeles Children’s Pain Management, and MCMC in The Dalles, OR (where Nikol is currently staffed).

The National Acupuncture Association was formed in 1972 to provide education to doctors. It also helped to open the first medical center that could legally use acupuncture as a form of treatment. The New England School of Acupuncture then opened in 1974 and has since been training future acupuncturists.

Today, the United States has seen growth in the use of acupuncture along with regulations to ensure that it is safely practiced. The National Institute of Health has also issued a statement regarding acupuncture and its effectiveness. Because of this, in America alone, millions of people are receiving acupuncture treatment.

The history of acupuncture predates Western medicine by centuries. The first treatments used needles made from stones and bone. Luckily, acupuncture has come quite far, and needles have gotten much smaller. The treatment however, is built from the same successful techniques that have been effective in helping with an array of health problems.

Nikol Angel, LAC, is ready to help you treat these today. Contact her to schedule your first Hood River acupuncture consultation.

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