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How Long Has Acupuncture Been Around?

Decades? Hundreds of years? Thousands?

One of my biggest disappointments of acupuncture school was that I never had this question answered:

How did they know to stick needles in people to heal them??!!

The origins of acupuncture date back over 8,000 years, related to a philosophy which stated that people and animals should live in harmony and balance with the world, elements, and universe.

Makes sense, right? Things are happier and healthier when everyone gets along.

Simplicity, compassion, and patience are also elements in this ancient way of thinking. Let's take each one in relationship to acupuncture.


We have all heard this simple phrase, taken from Hippocrates: First, do no harm. Supporting the body's already innate and present healing system seems the most efficient way to allow it to heal, does it not? But what does western medicine do? Pumps the person full of drugs, cuts out parts, or bathes the cells in chemicals.


The above doesn't sound very compassionate, does it? Compassion is defined as concern for the suffering of others. Our body is at our mercy. The decisions we make will either promote healing, or weaken the body's ability to heal. These decisions also impact the world around us. If we're not happy, we could act out with our loved ones, might not be productive or feel satisfied, and the medicines and chemicals we use filter right back into the environment, many into the drinking water.


Yes, it is quicker to take a pill, like an antacid for heartburn. But why did the chronic stomach upset develop in the first place? Years of bad meals? And what side effects and future problems are being created in taking the pill? A well-known medication for reflux is now linked to cancer, after years on the market and millions of doses given.

The longer we have strayed from a healthy lifestyle, the more damage has occured. But it's never too late. I have known patients who experience drastic positive changes in a matter of a week, once embarking on acupuncture. Have patience now, and the results are long-lasting.

Back to the original question...

How did they know to stick needles in people? From what has been recovered from past documents and writings, acupuncture was first mentioned and recorded a few hundred years before our Common Era in The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine. By this time, it had already been in practice, with Qi, the vital energy or life force present in the body, described as flowing through channels, the map of these channels, and the points along the way to tap into the Qi, already perfected and established. How? Yeah, that's what I really wanted to know!

For thousands of years, acupuncture was standard practice, along with diet, breathing, massage, and herbal medicine. What happened? Why is western medicine mainstream and acupuncture in the back seat, or not in the car at all, for many people?

That's a topic for another blog...

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