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History of Acupuncture

For over 2,000 years acupuncture has been used in the Far East to help restore, maintain and promote general good health and well-being. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine dating back to 300 BC was one of the first transcriptions to document medical acupuncture. Many acupuncturists today use sterile needles however historians suggest that the early needles used were made of stone, bronze, silver and gold.  


Acupuncture in Buxton, High Peak

Acupuncture has roots to the Daoist philosophy to promote change, growth balance and harmony. Combined with the Yellow Emperor’s Classic transcriptions of Internal Medicine principles this has provided the theoretical foundations of acupuncture. These principles were based on;

  • Pathology and physiology

  • The five elements

  • The body systems  

  • The natural laws of movement of life Yin and Yang  

  • Meridian pathways (in which acupuncture points are located)   

History of acupuncture

Since its early origins acupuncture has been developed and refined over the centuries. A main contributor (although many) was a renowned herbalist named ‘Li Shi Zen’ who lived around the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Li Shi Zen studied the Pulse and the Extraordinary Meridians and later went on to publish a fifty volume Compendium of Materia Medica.


Following the formation of The Peoples Republic in China in 1949 and despite the move towards western medicine ideas, acupuncture still remained popular within the rural communities. After the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture was once again officially recognised and new opportunities soon followed.  


Acupuncture became a subject of serious study in Britain in the 1950s following Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese practitioners immigrating to Europe or Britain. Links were soon made with training establishments and teachers throughout the world and especially Europe. Acupuncture is believed to be first practised in Britain by those that practised natural health based medicine as they were able to recognise and formulate the acupuncture principles.   


Today acupuncture is practiced throughout the world either in a hospital based setting or private health setting where there are facilities available to treat a variety of acute to chronic injuries. Acupuncture is often used in combination with Western Medicine where clinical research has been undertaken to pursue best practice.   

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  1. Giovanni Maciocia (2007) The Practice of Chinese Medicine: The Treatment of Diseases with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, Churchill Livingston ISBN 978-0443074905

  2. Giovanni Maciocia (2005) Foundations Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text  Churchill Livingston ISBN 978-0443074899  

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