3 Amazing Historical Facts About Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Chinese Medicine is an ancient science that many people find mysterious. I was drawn to practice this amazing medicine because it is endlessly fascinating and it has given me skills that help others. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge so here are three fun historical facts about Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

1) The first acupuncture needles were originally fashioned from stone or bone as that was what was available at the time. Later they were made from iron and bronze, luckily for us, the most popular material used to make needles today is stainless steel. Many people ask me if acupuncture hurts and I generally answer, “not much”, but I’ll bet those bone and stone needles were painful!

2) The First written medical account of acupuncture is found in the Nei Jing. This famous classic is the oldest known Chinese medical text and possibly the oldest medical text in the world, it was written around 305 B.C. – 204 B.C.. The Nei Jing described acupuncture, meridians, qi, and the location of 160 acupuncture points, many fewer than today. We now have thousands of points!

3) While the Nei Jing may be the oldest written text, the guiding philosophy of Chinese medicine is much older. Chinese medicine is rooted in the belief that we are deeply connected to our environment. The story goes that a wise sage named Fu Hsu came up with the concept of yin and yang through his observations of nature around 8000 years ago. The popular concept of  Yin and Yang is still at the core of Chinese medicine theory today.

So how many, if any did you already know? Do you have a fun fact you’d like to mention? Please do so in the comments.

Comments 3

  1. Awesome, thanks for sharing! I don’t remember where I read this (and the source may have been questionable) so I’m wondering if you know whether there is any truth to this idea: That acupuncture began as a form of what we today would consider acupressure massage, then progressed to using stones to apply pressure to the points, and then eventually to the various kinds of needles that you mentioned. Thoughts?

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  3. I’ve read that the NeiJing was not the first text. Its more packed and defined than those before, which probably led to its populairity. Before the NeiJing many small texts where written but they were just not so clear to the bigger audience. Is this true?

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