The Origin of Acupuncture : Acupuncture has become a popular treatment method all over the world because Acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment that can be used for a variety of conditions. These conditions range from dental pain to back pain to shoulder pain to headaches, and more. It is believed to have originated in China around the time of 100 BCE; however, there is a lot more to be learned about the story of acupuncture.
The History of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese medicine, which makes it one of the oldest kinds of medicine in general. Most believe it originated in China, though some historians have doubts. Regardless of its true origin, it is most commonly associated with China and is one of the main elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The First Records of Acupuncture
Sharpened stones and bones dating from 6000 BCE were at first believed to be acupuncture tools, but they may have been primitive surgical instruments instead. Ancient documents discovered in the Chinese tomb of Ma-Wang-Dui, which was sealed in 198 BCE, have references to a system of meridians that are similar to—but different from—the ones used in acupuncture. However, there is no specific mention of acupuncture in those documents. Meridians are channels where Qi (pronounced chi), or life energy, is believed to flow.
The first actual document of an organized system of diagnosis and treatment for acupuncture was from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which dates from 100 BCE. The first record of acupuncture treatment was from the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian), also from around 100 BCE. These two records suggest acupuncture was a common treatment at the time. The practice of acupuncture continued for centuries through the various dynasties and on into the modern day.
Alternate Theories of Acupuncture’s Origin
The well-preserved, mummified body of Ötzi the Iceman was discovered in September of 1991 in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Austria and Italy. The body dates from 3300 BCE and has tattoo marks that correspond with the acupuncture points used to treat lower back pain and abdominal pain, conditions which seemed to have afflicted Ötzi. This suggests that an acupuncture like treatment could have been practiced in Europe during the Bronze Age.
Other theories suggest that acupuncture could have originated during the neolithic era, which occurred near the end of the Stone Age. Sharpened stones from this time period, called Bian shi, are believed to have been used in an antecedent to acupuncture, though they may have also been used to lance boils or drain abscesses. Some historians believe that acupuncture first occurred circa 600 BCE, it is possible that bronze, gold, or tin were used to make the first acupuncture needles.
Organic material, like thorns, bamboo, or sharpened bones could also have been used for acupuncture until steel production was discovered. It is possible that they had other medical uses as well, which is why there is some indecisiveness regarding their use as acupuncture instruments.
The Origins of Modern Acupuncture
The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion was published during the Ming Dynasty (which lasted from 1368 – 1644) and it is the basis of modern acupuncture. In the latter half of the 17th century, interest in acupuncture began to decline because China started to adopt Western medical practices.
The practice of acupuncture saw a resurgence during the Chairman Mao’s communist government as part of a return to traditional Chinese values. It is now practiced all over the world and is very popular in America, where experts like Sound Acupuncture Miami use it to treat a wide variety of different conditions.
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