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A BRIEF HISTORY OF ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture as a method of treatment of mans' illnesses is know to have its origin amongst the ancient Chinese possibly as long ago as 4,500 years - before recorded history. Early evidence of this development of acupuncture consists of diagrams of human and animal bodies with acupuncture points identified and ancient implements used in its application.

The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is often cited as the definitive history of acupuncture but was probably a compilation of observations and documents over centuries. It is thought to have been written between 300 - 400 BC. Primitive forms of acupuncture started when people began using small sharp stones to pierce or press the skin. Bone needles replaced this and when metals were discovered, gold and silver were used.

Many myths have survived to partly explain some of the observations as the secrets of acupuncture have been slowly unravelled.

Thousands of years of observing the cause and effect of using and refining these techniques of stimulating specific areas of the body to give therapeutic affect have survived into the 20th century. The Chinese have continued to embrace acupuncture as a major plank to their public health program such as witnessed with the training of Bare Foot Doctors to provide low cost acceptable medical care to the millions of Chinese in rural China.

With the opening up of China to the western world the "art of acupuncture" has been subjected to intense western scientific scrutiny. Research demonstrated that acupuncture relieved pain in rats and rabbits, thus dispelling any contention that acupuncture was purely a placebo effect on humans.

Western doctors have been studying the ancient art now for 30 years, integrating it into western medical culture as have the Chinese been accepting western method into theirs.

Dramatic demonstrations of anaesthesia under acupuncture to perform complicated major surgery provides the most convincing proof of its efficacy. The major benefits of acupuncture though are good health maintenance and providing relief for painful conditions.

Such a large impact has this "discovery" of a natural ancient healing art had on the western world with its scientific validation that it is now practiced along side of traditional western medicine in most western countries. It is also included as part of the undergraduate training at many western medical schools.

Acupuncture's popularity in the 1990's can be seen as part of the emerging resistance to the western medical model which involves invasive procedures and the taking of drugs which often have harmful side effects. Acupuncture has virtually no side effects and is proven to help with many conditions which are often resistant to conventional forms of therapy.

 

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