Chinese medicine is often shrouded in mystical descriptions. A review of the tools in ancient Chinese acupuncture reveals there is little mystery.
Tools in Ancient Chinese Acupuncture
When a person visits an acupuncturist today and has a treatment, infection from needles that are not sterile is not a concern. This is because the very fine, thin acupuncture needles will be taken from individual packages. These sterile needles have even been classified as medical instruments by the Federal Drug Administration. These precision instruments are usually made from stainless steel. In some rarer cases, they are made from gold or silver. Yet, this was not always the case. Acupuncture is an ancient art. What were the earliest tools in ancient Chinese acupuncture?
A discussion of the tools used in ancient Chinese acupuncture would lead to a discussion of the very origins of acupuncture. Most people tend to date the beginnings of acupuncture at various times during the reigns of various Chinese Emperors. They might also date it from the text written by the Yellow Emperor. This book still exists and is used as a reference work to some degree. The truth is that acupuncture did not suddenly originate at any given point in time. It was a system of treatment that most likely developed over a period of millions of years of human history through a slow and almost evolutionary method of trial and error.
In these very early times, there was not much to distract human beings from the basic concerns of survival. Healing and the treatment of injuries was one of these survival concerns. Gradually, as almost countless years passed, people discovered what worked and as they did they developed theories as to why. The important thing in the beginning was not why a procedure worked, but the fact that it did work. The theories as to why it worked would come later and be subject to change as the level of philosophical and spiritual knowledge increased. In very old sites around the world, very primitive types of tools have been discovered that appear to have been the very first acupuncture tools.
These ancient tools were made of stone at first. Later, tools made from fish bones were used also. The tools most likely used in ancient Chinese acupuncture were often made from bamboo. There was no way to make these early needles with the precision that is used today. The materials and the craftsmanship would just not have been present. It is most likely that the earliest forms of acupuncture consisted more of pressure and even bloodletting due to the limitation of the needles.
In the Golden Age of Chinese Acupuncture, needles made from metals appeared. These metals were copper, brass, silver, and sometimes even gold. The use of metals in the making of tools used in Ancient Chinese acupuncture allowed a little more precision and thinness. This would have been the beginning of the needle insertion and twisting techniques that are still practiced today. There is no doubt that the earliest instruments were crude. There was little known about sterilization. Despite these drawbacks, the method of trial and error produced methods that worked. It was the success of the procedures that led our ancestors to attempt to explain them. This in turn led to the theories and philosophies behind the procedures.