Brief History of Acupuncture
The term “Acupuncture” describes procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body, using a variety of techniques. The technique most often studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with very thin, solid, metallic, painless needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.
Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. It is one of the key components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM sees the body as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents cold, slow, or passive aspects of the person, while yang represents hot, excited, or active aspects.
According to TCM, health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state”; disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang leading to blockage in the flow of Qi. Qi is the vital energy or life force which regulates a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang along pathways known as meridians. Qi can be unblocked by using acupuncture at certain points on the body that connect with these meridians. Sources vary on the number of meridians, with numbers ranging from 14 to 20. One commonly cited source describes meridians as 14 main channels “connecting the body in a web-like interconnecting matrix” of at least 2,000 acupuncture points.