Acupuncture Techniques' Brief History

Acupuncture techniques is a very old practice reputed to have originated in China, although some have attributed its origin to Egypt, India, or even Japan. Hippocrates is said to have inserted needles into patients' ears to cure impotence. In 1991, the remains of a man who died approximately 5000 years ago were found in the Alps between Austria and Italy. Otzi, as his discoverers called him, had 57 acupuncture points tattooed on his body.

The Chinese are known to have practiced acupuncture techniques for approximately 2000 years, although it was nearly forgotten until the Communists resurrected it and forced their Western-style physicians to learn tt'aditional Chinese medicine. The first reported use of acupuncture anesthesia in China (for tooth extractions) was in 1960; it was claimed that 70% of patients experienced no pain with acupuncture anesthesia, 27% had mild pain, and 3% failed to respond. The use of acupuncture anesthesia was then extended to other types of surgery, including appendectomy, meniscus repair in the knees, thyroidectomy, gastrectomy, retinal operation, craniotomy, pulmonary resection, hysterectomy, and open-heart surgery. References to acupuncture techniques in Chinese medical literature disappeared during the Cultural Revolution. However, interest resurfaced in the early 1970s with President Richard Nixon's historic trip to China when acupuncture anesthesia was shown off to many Western journalists and scientists. use of acupuncture anesthesia has since waned in China, mostly because of physicians' inability to predict which patients will benefit from its use and probably also because its efficacy had been greatly overstated.

Today in China, as in much of the Western world, the medical establishment disdains acupuncture as unscientific. In the West, acupuncture is associated with Oriental culture and has heavy metaphysical baggage. Although it has been in practiced in the U.S. for more than 150 years, including in the management of low back pain, its use remains controversial.

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