A Brief History of Acupuncture Therapy

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Acupuncture therapy is one of the oldest known medical practices in the world. It originated in China in 3000 BCE.

Acupuncture had a lot of different uses over the centuries. Its biggest benefit seems to be as a painkiller. It’s a newcomer to the Western world and started catching on in the 1800s.

Today, acupuncture is an established practice in the US, and there’s no shortage of practitioners. Even some skeptics admit that it works. We’ll discuss that and the history of acupuncture therapy in this article.

The Science of Acupuncture

Many studies have suggested that acupuncture is a legitimate method for treating pain. One study showed that over 90% of patients showed a reduction in pain symptoms after acupuncture. Meanwhile, morphine had less than 80% success.

Much of the medical world agrees that acupuncture seems to work. Yet, they don’t agree on why it works. One theory is that the points on the body used to balance life force were nerve endings and points of muscle tension.

Records of Acupuncture

Like any therapy or medical practice, acupuncture advanced as time went by. Between the 14th and 17th centuries, a new manual on acupuncture was published. Known as The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, this book explained acupuncture in a way that was easy to follow.

It’s one of the most detailed records of acupuncture that we know about. It lists more than 300 potential spots to place acupuncture needles and explains what they do.

The first acupuncture guide to reach Europe came in the 16th century at the hands of Jesuits. The Jesuits were a Catholic religious order that was active during the Reformation and the Age of Exploration. They first encountered acupuncture near one of their missions in Japan.

Fall and Rise of Acupuncture

In the 17th century, China began distancing itself from its traditional practices. One such practice was acupuncture. Authority figures struck acupuncture from the record as a medical treatment in 1822.

While the East was turning its back on acupuncture, the West was beginning to embrace it. With colonialism in full swing, ideas were spreading across the world. Acupuncture remained popular until the early 20th century.

Meanwhile, back in China, acupuncture rose in popularity when the Communists took power. It remains a common practice there today. Roughly twenty years later, an American politician got acupuncture, and the US once again took up its love affair with acupuncture.

A Brief History of Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture therapy is an ancient practice that first emerged in China a few millennia ago. Since then, it’s played a fascinating and often varied role in both culture and medicine.

We’ve talked a bit about the history of acupuncture in the paragraphs above, but there’s always more to learn. If you want to learn more about acupuncture and other traditional medicines you can learn about them on our blog. If you’re looking for acupuncture treatments in the Lynchburg, Virginia area, feel free to contact us.

Meet Our Expert: Deborah Farley

Deborah FarleyFounder of Acupuncture Works,LLC in Lynchburg Virginia. Deborah is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine as a Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.).

She is also licensed by the State of Florida as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM). Deborah is a Diplomate of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

She graduated from the East West College of Natural Medicine with a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor’s Degree of Professional Health Sciences.

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