A Brief History of Chinese Acupuncture

As you probably know, Chinese Acupuncture has been in existence since before recorded times.

Even before the Bronze Age, acupuncture existed in the New Stone Age, which lasted between 10,000 and 4,000 years ago!

Chinese AcupunctureDuring this period of time, needles were made from stone, and Ancient Chinese people began to use them as tools of healing. These stone needles were given a name: Bian Stone. This word, Bian, literally means a sharp, narrow device used for healing.

Many of these stones have been found in Chinese ruins, and experts believe they date back to the New Stone Age.

Archeologists have found hieroglyphs dating back to 1000 B.C. that showed the practice of Chinese Acupuncture. Bronze needles were taken form these sites, but the main form of treatment still remained in the Bian needles (1).

Eventually, the New Stone Age ended, and the Bronze Age came into existence. The Warren States Era (421-221 B.C.) saw the introduction to medal, more narrow needles. At this point in time the Bian stones were officially replaced (1).

During this time, historians have noted that many physicians were treating patients via Chinese acupuncture, and an important text, the Nan Ying (book of difficult questions), was also released, and served as an advancement in the art of Chinese acupuncture (1).

Between the period of 260-265 A.D., a pivotal text for Chinese acupuncture was written. The famous physician, Huang Fu Mi, organized all of the ancient Chinese acupuncture texts in to one, ultimateley seminal work, the Systematic Classics of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (1).

This twelve volume work highlighted 349 acupuncture points, and is known as one of the most important texts in the history of Chinese medicine, and more specifically, Chinese Acupuncture (1).

This period of time was a popular time for Chinese Acupuncture, and the attention only grew stronger.

Between 581-907 A.D., the Sui and Tang dynasties served to advance the art of Chinese Acupuncture greatly (1). According to Scott Suvow L.Ac., “Upon request from the Tang government (627-649 A.D.) the famous physician Zhen Quan revised the important Acupuncture texts and charts” (1).

During this time, Chinese acupuncture became a separate branch of medicine, and physicians practicing such methods were named acupuncturists. Schools were made for them, and they were officially included into the Chinese medical system.

Chinese AcupunctureMany years later, the Ming Dynasty (1568-1644) served to further advance the art of Chinese Acupuncture. This included the revision of ancient techniques, and the development of many more points (1).

During the early 20th century acupuncture was suppressed due to the up rise of Western Medicine (1). But since the 1970’s, Chinese Acupuncture has proven to remain important in the Chinese medical system. Further, acupuncture has proven to remain important in the United States.

Today, licensed acupuncturists are greatly important to the Integrative Medicine & Holistic Healthcare Association. They serve as integral members of the integrative healthcare field and their involvement with the association would serve to better that very field. With such a rich history, acupuncture is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.


1. https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/The+History+of+Acupuncture