The history of acupuncture stems back thousands of years

A long history

Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing used to restore and maintain health and well-being. It has been practised and refined in China and other Eastern countries. Having a continuous clinical history of at least 2,500 years (it’s earliest roots stem back approximately 5000 years), it’s old! The first known book of Chinese Medicine, the Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor, dates back to between the first century BC and the first century AD. All styles of acupuncture currently practised around the world trace their roots back to this text.

In China it still features in mainstream healthcare. Under the People’s Republic of China, established in 1948, all branches of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) were encouraged. By 1978, whole hospitals and research departments were devoted to the practice of TCM.  As a result, people in China are able to choose acupuncture as their main or integrated treatment.

Ancient observations

The Chinese discovered that there are pathways (known as meridians) that run throughout the body and carry a vital energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”). For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, Qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked. Consequently, this can lead to an imbalance resulting in pain or illness. Acupuncture can be an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.

The skill of an acupuncturist lies in their ability to make a traditional diagnosis from what is often a complex pattern of disharmony. The exact pattern and degree of disharmony is unique to each individual and therefore, your acupuncturist will treat you as an individual. People often comment that this is one reason they enjoy acupuncture. Take a look at the Chinese Medicine Diagnosis section to find out more about the importance of a patient’s history and why an acupuncturist uses pulse diagnosis.

Why people have acupuncture

Some people turn to acupuncture to help with a specific symptom or condition. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain good health or as a preventative measure. Some people simply want to improve their general sense of well-being. Because acupuncturists aim to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a range of conditions. Consequently, many people return to acupuncture again and again because they find it so beneficial and relaxing.

Growing popularity

Acupuncture is now widely used and accepted all over the world and clinical trials are now confirming its efficacy. More and more people are able to benefit as acupuncture becomes a recognised option within standard healthcare. There are around 2.3 million acupuncture treatments given each year in the UK (source: The British Acupuncture Council) reflecting a growing popularity.