The ancient Chinese medical practice of acupuncture has come a long way in regards to being recognized as an acceptable treatment methodology.
Ancient Chinese Medical Practice of Acupuncture
The origin of acupuncture is shrouded in the mists of the past. There are some indications that a form of it may have been practiced in Central Europe six thousand years ago. Some very early archeological evidence shows that something that certainly resembled it was being practiced in China as early as the 1st millennium BC. The earliest medical text uncovered in China do not mention it, however, so the exact date that it was first practiced in its present form remain unknown.
The first mention of the practice in a written text was the “Classic of Internal Medicine” that was complied during the reign of the Yellow Emperor sometime between 305 and 204 B.C. The theory and philosophy behind acupuncture has changed little through the years, although in modern times the practice was briefly outlawed by the Communist Government of China. The Communists made fun of acupuncture at first. They called it a foolish and superstitious practice that had no place in a modern and scientific world.
This attempt to eliminate acupuncture did have the side effect of driving many devotees of the classical practice out of China. This spread acupuncture to parts of the world where it had previously been little known. It was not long before the Communist Government realized that despite their ridicule, the practice was never really abandoned by the people of China. They also began to see it as a useful alternative to Western style medical practice that was expensive and not so easy to make available to the masses in China.
Today, acupuncture is practiced again in a very slightly altered form that does not discuss the spiritual implications of the treatment as much as had been previously done. The more classical ancient form is found more in Chinese enclaves around the world than in China itself. In China, it is often combined with Western Medical treatments. Acupuncture was not unique to China. Forms of it were practiced in ancient Korea and Japan, and are still practiced there today.
The ancient theory of acupuncture is based on the idea that the body consists of certain “systems of functions.” Some of these systems are associated with various body organs although not directly. Others are associated with various body functions. A substance called qi flows along twenty different Meridians or pathways connecting and influencing the systems of functions. Qi is rather hard to define, but is sometimes referred to as “vital energy.” Treatment consists of altering the activity of one or more of the systems of function at very small points located along the Meridians. The points are called acupuncture points and are stimulated by needles, pressure, or heat.