When Was Acupuncture First Used?
Acupuncture originated in China as a form of medical treatment about 2,500 years ago. It has been practiced by the Chinese ever since. The treatment involves the insertion of small metal needles into one or many of 365 spots on the human body. Each of these spots, designated by ancient Chinese doctors, represents a particular function or organ of the human body.
Accordingly a heart or liver line can be traced by linking the appropriate spots which relate to the particular organ. If a patient has eye trouble the needles will be inserted into his eye line, which may not necessarily come anywhere near the eye. The needles do not go deep, and are not painful. A single treatment may last only 10 minutes.
It is not clear why acupuncture works, but some scientists have suggested that the needles may relieve the nerves affecting a disease. Since the beginning of this century the treatment has been introduced in the West. At first there was much scepticism, but recently acupuncture has been widely accepted and has been found to be not only a cure but also a valuable form of anaesthetic.
The conclusions of many trials and numerous systematic reviews of acupuncture are largely inconsistent. An overview of Cochrane reviews found that acupuncture is not effective for a wide range of conditions, and it suggests acupuncture may be effective only for chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, postoperative nausea/vomiting, and idiopathic headache.
A systematic review of systematic reviews found little evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain. The evidence suggests that short-term treatment with acupuncture does not produce long-term benefits. Some research results suggest acupuncture can alleviate pain, though the majority of research suggests that acupuncture’s effects are mainly due to placebo.
A systematic review concluded that the analgesic effect of acupuncture seemed to lack clinical relevance and could not be clearly distinguished from bias. A meta-analysis found that acupuncture for chronic low back pain was cost-effective as an adjunct to standard care, while a systematic review found insufficient evidence for the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic low back pain.
Acupuncture is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner using clean needle technique and single-use needles. When properly delivered, it has a low rate of mostly minor adverse effects. Accidents and infections are associated with infractions of sterile technique or neglect of the practitioner.
A review stated that the reports of infection transmission increased significantly in the prior decade. The most frequently reported adverse events were pneumothorax and infections. Since serious adverse events continue to be reported, it is recommended that acupuncturists be trained sufficiently to reduce the risk.
Scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points, and many modern practitioners no longer support the existence of life force energy (qi) flowing through meridians, which was a major part of early belief systems.
Acupuncture is believed to have originated around 100 BC in China, around the time The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) was published, though some experts suggest it could have been practiced earlier, Over time, conflicting claims and belief systems emerged about the effect of lunar, celestial and earthly cycles, yin and yang energies, and a body’s “rhythm” on the effectiveness of treatment.
Acupuncture grew and diminished in popularity in China repeatedly, depending on the country’s political leadership and the favor of rationalism or Western medicine. Acupuncture spread first to Korea in the 6th century AD, then to Japan through medical missionaries, and then to Europe, starting with France. In the 20th century, as it spread to the United States and Western countries, the spiritual elements of acupuncture that conflict with Western beliefs were abandoned in favor of tapping needles into nerves.