The practice of inserting needles in the skin to various depths may seem unnerving, but it’s one of the man’s oldest medical practices that is used – and trusted – today. Originating in ancient China, acupuncture was used to balance the flow of energy, also known as Qi or Chi (pronounced “chee”). Now, Western practitioners use acupuncture to help stimulate nerves, treat aches and pains in muscle and tissues, as well as boost the body’s natural painkillers and immune system.
An Empirical Technique
Acupuncture dates back more than 8,000 years. Then, metal was rare, highly prized, and hard to come by, so the first needles were crafted from stone. The Yellow Emperor, Huang Di (2697-2597 BC) discussed the spectrum of Chinese medical arts and practices with physician and annotator, Quan Yuanqi. Later, their dialogue would be compiled into the one of the most significant medical texts: Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). The second part of this text, called Ling Shu, delves deeply into the theories of acupuncture, highlighting the needles, acupoints, methodologies, energy channels and collaterals for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
More Modern Principle
The foundation of modern acupuncture principles was shaped between 260-265 AD, with the publication of A Classic Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Famous physician Huang Fu Mi organized the ancient literature into his classic text, including 365 acupoints that represent openings to the channels where needles could be inserted to alter the flow of “Qi”. By the end of the 17th century, acupuncture had undergone numerous updates and improvements, including nearly doubling the acupoints to 657, as well as the development of extra points outside of the main pathways, refinement of techniques and manipulation, and the introduction of acupuncture to Europe.
A Whole New World
As the world started to modernize and China started to open to the West, Europe was introduced to traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. The first recorded use of acupuncture in Europe came in 1810, when physician Willem Ten Rhine, who worked for East India Company, shared his witnessing and described the practice medically. By the 18th century, more doctors and physicians were showing significant interest in acupuncture. An Englishman named James Morris Churchill began using acupuncture for pain relief. He published two books on the practice and benefits of acupuncture. Within the first half of the 19th century both the U.S. and Britain developed interest in the therapeutic form. Today, there are more than 40 accredited acupuncture schools in the United States. The practice continues to be an important aspect of China’s medical system, and the country continues to take the lead in researching its clinical effects.
Don’t let your fear of needles get in the way of relieving your pain. In fact, acupuncture is painless and can be used for a variety of conditions, on patients of any age. Interested in trying acupuncture for yourself? Contact Balcones Pain Consultants in the Austin, area. We offer caring and experienced pain management. Our pain specialists include board-certified surgeons who see every patient on their first visit. Call (512) 834-4141 for an appointment at one of our convenient locations today. We see patients in Austin, Cedar Park, and Marble Falls, Texas.