History of Acupuncture
Acupuncture was first discussed in the ancient Chinese medical text "Huang Di
Nei Jing" (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), originating more
than 2000 years ago.
During the 6th Century, improved transportation and communications within the
Asian Continent led to the introduction of Chinese medicine to Japan, and along
with Buddhism came in the form of religious medicine.
In the 17th century, Waichi Sugiyama, in search of a simple, painless and speedy
insertion method, developed the insertion tube, a small cylindrical tube through
which the needle is inserted. This insertion method is still used today by
practitioners worldwide, and in Japan by over 90% of the acupuncturists.
Japanese acupuncture has been well established as the primary form of health
care for over a thousand years. An acupuncturist's role was comparable to that
of a modern physician. When Dutch and German medicine was introduced in the 19th
century, the Western modality of medicine quickly became the dominant medical
Today in Japan, acupuncture remains an integral part of the health care system,
offered in conjunction with medicine. In North America, acupuncture has grown
into what is now a common form of pain management therapy in many clinics and
hospitals. The Washington Post reported in 1994 that an estimated 15 million
Americans, or roughly 6% of the American population has visited an acupuncturist
and has tried acupuncture for a variety of symptoms including chronic pain,
fatigue, nausea, arthritis, and digestive problems.
In 1995, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture
needles as medical instruments and assured their safety and effectiveness.
The medical community for the most part now accepts acupuncture and a growing
number of medical schools, such as UCLA, include acupuncture training in their
In 1997, the US National Institute of Health issued a report titled:
"Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement". It stated that acupuncture is a very
useful method for treating many conditions. It acknowledges the side effects of
acupuncture are considerably less adverse than when compared to other medical
procedures such as surgery or pharmaceuticals. In addition, the NIH made the
recommendation to U.S. insurance companies to provide full coverage of
acupuncture treatment for certain conditions. This momentous advancement in the
status of acupuncture in the United States has certainly influenced its status
elsewhere in the world, including in Canada.
In 1997, the Ontario Medical Association officially recognized acupuncture as a
'complimentary medicine', acknowledging its broad success in treatment. As
acupuncture becomes increasingly accessible to more Canadians, Doctors recommend
it more and more as an effective relief for many medical conditions.
Acupuncture treatment is included in many Insurance plans. It is a sure sign of
acupuncture's acceptance into the mainstream. It is also an indicator of its
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