A Brief History of Chinese Medicine

Evidence of acupuncture principles in practice dates back as far as 1600 BC, with the oldest records found on ancient bone etchings. The early “needles” were thick pieces of stone and bone, a great contrast to today’s sterile, disposable, individually packaged needles made of stainless steel. The first compendium of acupuncture is known as the Huang Di Nei Jing, or Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Disease, written in approximately 200 BC. Chinese Medicine developed over the years being shaped by varied influences from the changing social, religious, and political philosophies in China, owing much to doctrines of Taoism and Confucianism.

Ancient Acupuncture BookThe earliest examples of herbal formulas were very simple, consisting of only 4 or 5 ingredients each, and over the years more complicated combinations were developed. The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing is the most famous and comprehensive herbal encyclopedia, based on years of experimentation and recorded knowledge. By now, there are 1000′s of herbal formulas in use, each designed to treat subtle variations of a given complaint or constellation of ailments.

In contemporary China, Traditional Chinese Medicine is practiced integratively in conjunction with Western medicine, both in hospitals and for routine outpatient care. Extensive research has been done to determine the most effective combinations, and multiple journals publish controlled scientific studies which demonstrate the efficacy of acupuncture and herbs to relieve a vast array of conditions. In this era of globalization, acupuncture has gained worldwide acceptance as a powerful treatment modality for many types of pain and numerous other conditions.  This ancient medicine has finally made a comeback in the West, as it is a great antidote to the fast pace and stresses and strains of modern life, calming the mind as well as benefitting the body.