History of Acupuncture

The history of acupuncture dates back thousands of years and is known to originate in China.

In September of 1991 two German tourists stumbled upon “Otzi” a frozen mummy preserved in a glacier along the Italian and Austrian border. He was found to be Europe’s oldest natural human mummy. Tattooed on his back, right knee and left ankle were acupuncture meridian points for back pain. Upon X-Rays it showed that Otzi suffered from arthritis in his hip joints, knee, ankle and lumbar spine. Having this acupuncture meridian tattooed on him he then could self puncture or pressure himself when the pains occurred. Analysis of the body put him to be around 5300 years old.

Hieroglyphs and pictorials found in the Shang Dynasty around (1600-1000 B.C.) show that instead of needles they used bone fragments and stone to stimulate acupuncture points.

Some of the earliest written records of Acupuncture date back to the second century(200-101 B.C.) By Huang Di – The Yellow emperor constructing the Nei Jing, the earliest record of acupunctureThe origins of Acupuncture in China are unknown, what is known is that the practice that has been perfected for at least 3000 years.

It wasnt until the 1500’s when Portuguese missionaries documented the practice and brought it back to Europe. Even today acupuncture is a regulated practice and remains popular with Europeans today.

From there Acupuncture didn’t gain attention in North America until President Nixon visited China in 1972. It was there where Nixon witnessed a patient undergoing a major surgery while awake. This was completely unheard of in America where the use of anaesthesia was the only accepted method for major surgeries. Nixon was so impressed with the outcome that the National Institutes of Health set up a committee on Acupuncture and held a conference on it the following year. By 1973 the IRS allowed Acupuncture to be written off as a medical expense when used by a medical doctor.

It wasn’t until Washington, D.C. became the first jurisdiction to legalize the use of acupuncture for non-medical doctors. Causing a flood of people to local acupuncturists. This infuriated the local medical community who took the city to court. The Medical Doctor’s lost in court and gave way to the rest of the country legalizing the use of acupuncture by acupuncturists. Up until that point all Acupuncture practised by non medical doctors was deemed illegal and practitioners caught practising it were fined or thrown in jail.

In 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug administration reclassified acupuncture needles as “accepted medical instruments” from the “investigative” category. More recently in 2006 the BBC aired a documentary titled “Alternative Medicine” and filmed a patient in China undergoing open heart surgery while conscious. They also showed brains scans through a MRI showing a measurable result of brain activity while receiving acupuncture.