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Alternative medicine: Chinese acupuncture history

Alternative medicine is an umbrella term which encompasses all the medical practices which do not belong to the standard, Western medicine. Acupuncture is a part of alternative medicine, even though this treatment method has a history which is over 2000 years long. Therefore, the following lines will provide you with the historical facts related to the appearance and the development of acupuncture, from the ancient times of its genesis to the modern times of its evolution and perfection.

Acupuncture is Alternative Medicine

Basically, acupuncture involves treating patients through insertion of small needles in their body. The needles, when inserted at specific points of the body, following an adequate pattern, are said to have a great effect on promoting one’s health and recovery from many illnesses, including pain, infertility or some specific diseases.

The first signs of acupuncture stem from Huangdi Neijing, dated in, approximately 200BC. Therefore, acupuncture is the main part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, even though Japan, Korea and even Taiwan have inherited the knowledge of acupuncture through the centuries.

Today, acupuncture has evolved and some variants even involve placing electrodes on the acupuncture point on the body of the patient, exposing them to electric current either directly or through the needles.

The Meridians which are used as guidelines for acupuncture have not been proven existent. Basically, all principals of acupuncture rest on the fact that energy flows through our bodies through Meridians. Once this energy gets built up at certain points, we become sick or our health gets jeopardized. Thus, through acupuncture, these energy pathways are cleared up and health is ensured.

Regardless of the groundbreaking success acupuncture therapy has had over previous years, many experts refuse to believe in its effectiveness. Rather, they tend to claim that placebo is the main tool of acupuncture, being the desire of the patients to believe in its effectiveness, feeling better even though no improvement has actually taken place.

Therefore, in modern times, numerous research studies have been carried out, trying to either prove or rebuke the positive effects of acupuncture. So, we are yet to see whether this treatment method is actually miraculously effective or is just a bogus treatment which does not promote health at all.

Chinese Acupuncture Practice

Acupuncture, as a medical term was coined by a Dutch physician called Willem Ten Rhyne. He visited Japan in the 17th century and got acquainted with the acupuncture methods. In Japanese, this method is called “Chen” being the graphic sign of their alphabet signifying pricking with a needle.

Even though the vast majority of historians agree that acupuncture appeared about 2000 years ago, some of them have theories that the actual genesis of acupuncture took place much earlier, claiming that the fist records about acupuncture date back to 4000 years ago.

According to these sources, people of the stone Age used the sharp edges of their knives in order to treat diseases, piercing holes in the abscesses and draining them.

However, these are mere speculations since the first actual written documents bearing witness of acupuncture are dated in 1500BC, during the Shang dynasty. Due to the fact that the presence of spiritualism was always strong in the Chinese culture, the first attempts of acupuncture are said to be related to finding the connections between the dead and the living, promoting healing through this form of liaison.

Yet, this first text to be dedicated to acupuncture was the Nei Ching Su Wen, even though the exact authors of this text remain unknown. In this text, the main principles of acupuncture are explained through a philosophical discussion between the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti and his minister, Ch’I Pai.

Throughout the historical development of acupuncture, the Bian stones, which were initially used in the process, were discarded and some other methods were introduced, such as stone and pottery needles. In fact, some rural parts of China still host acupuncture practitioners who use such primitive tools for practicing this ancient form of treatment.

When the metal needles sent all previous forms of needles into the past, nine needles were introduced as a basic set for acupuncture. These consisted of a blunt needle used for knocking or pressing, the arrowhead needle used for pricking, the round one for massaging, the three-edged one for affecting the veins, the one resembling a sword for draining abscesses, the sharp one for rapid pricking, the large one for reaching the joints, the long one for reaching the muscles and the filliform needle.

Although many people believe that acupuncture does not have the reliability or the renowned aspects which the regular medicine has, other people are ready to plunge into its world and discover the benefits of its treatments.

Therefore, you may either choose to believe in the effectiveness of this remarkable treatment and its centuries of experience and development or consider it all a fraud or an effect of placebo. Either way, acupuncture has helped many and will help millions to come. 

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