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History of Acupuncture

History of acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Oriental Medicine is a system of diagnosis and treatment with acupuncture and herb prescriptions. It began its evolution 4000 years ago in China. Does that mean it’s archaic? Not at all! China was among the most sophisticated of the early civilizations.

Physicians in ancient China developed a complete medical system that has survived unchanged to present times. Oriental Medicine is best characterized as physiological medicine which depends on maintaining the internal balance, which in turn relies on circulation of blood, qi (or vital energy) and vital substances. Blood circulation was looked at as the most important physiological feature.

The Chinese word for science, Ke Xui, translates to “classification of knowledge.”The early Chinese classified natural phenomena, developed scientific instruments, and objectively observed and recorded these phenomena. They also conducted experiments and were able to replicate the results. Early Chinese scientists helped lay the foundation for the later development of modern science and mathematics.

In 100 BC, a Chinese physician Huato, one of the Mythological Sovereigns, of Chinese Medicine, postulated that the heart circulates blood through the body. They also studied circadian rhythms and described how symptoms vary at different times of the day. By 200 AD, diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies were recognized. Also around 200 AD, the Shan Han Lun (Treatment of Cold Diseases) was written and is a still studied as a classic text for the treatment of upper respiratory ailments. Around 600 AD Sun Si Miao suggested that people in the mountain regions eat sea weed for the treatment of goiters. And by 900 AD, Taoist monks were developing inoculations to prevent smallpox. These are a few examples of the insight of early Chinese physicians.

The philosophy of Taoism, with its view that all things in the universe are interconnected, was also influential in the development of Oriental Medicine.

For more on the history of Chinese Medicine, visit the Chinese Medicine Database: 2007-2018 all rights reserved