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What is the History of Acupuncture?

Feb 25, 2008
Acupuncture is an ancient form of medical treatment and has been used since 202BC. Traditional Korean medicine mentions this form of treatment under the name of Chimsul. Japanese traditional medicine (Kampo) also considers it important. Evidence suggests that this ancient art may even have been practiced in Eurasia during the early Bronze Age. This may not have been quite like the acupuncture we know but was a similar treatment.

At first the Communist party in China did not accept the traditional forms of medical treatment like Acupuncture, but in time chairman Mao accepted these treatments as an important part of Chinese medicine. He sent representatives out to research the different theories and techniques of Chinese medicine. This research led to a compilation known as Traditional Chinese Medicine. After the Cultural Revolution only the Traditional Chinese Medicine findings were accepted and other treatments were outlawed. This led to a migration of practitioners, who spread the word about acupuncture to their newfound homes. The information about acupuncture treatment was brought to the USA by this means.

Acupuncture treatment has been used in the West since the 17th Century. The 1st practical use was in 1810 at the Paris Medical School by Dr Berlioz. He claimed to have some successes with this treatment. However his medical peers were somewhat skeptical. John Churchill continued to use this treatment in the UK in 1821, and published some facts about his treatment of tympany and rheumatoid arthritis with acupuncture treatment. Dr Elliotson also used this treatment and published his findings about treating 42 cases of rheumatoid arthritis with this method in 1827.

Today acupuncture is widely used in the West. It is mainly used as therapy but some practitioners even use this treatment as anesthesia. Doctors in France and Austria have carried out experiments with using acupuncture as anesthesia and have met with some success; Russian Doctors have also done some research. In 1972 a paper was published about acupuncture points. Russians claim that they have used this treatment for a wide variety of ailments. The rest of the Western world uses acupuncture mainly for treating pain.

Acupuncture is still fairly controversial in the medical field with many doctors and scientists showing a lot of doubt in this form of treatment. However there are also many success stories. As more research is done we will be seeing more ways to use this intriguing form of medical treatment.
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