Traditional acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine – a tried and tested healthcare system that has been practised for thousands of years in China and the Far East. It has been developed, tested, researched and refined over centuries to give us a complex and detailed understanding of the body’s energetic balance.
The first known book of Chinese Medicine, the Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor, dates back to between the first century BC and the first century AD. All styles of acupuncture currently practised around the world trace their roots back to this wonderful text. Chinese acupuncture philosophy has its basis in Taoism, an ancient philosophy which literally means the “way”, human beings were seem as one with the forces of the natural world, yin yang and the 5 elements come from Taoism. From China acupuncture spread to neighbouring countries and different styles were created. In 1949, the Communists took control of China, and Mao, the president, at first banned acupuncture, Taoism was considered a religion by the secular socialist government and was suppressed. Mao realised he didn’t have the resources to augment western healthcare throughout China so he ordered a standardisation of Chinese medicine confusingly called Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), TCM was based on bodily syndromes, and no longer individually tailored but more a ‘one size fits all’ approach in keeping with the collectivist/socialist beliefs of the government, they attempted to remove the original Taoist philosophy from Chinese Medicine, this was when the older more esoteric part of Chinese Medicine came to Europe, there is currently a number of schools throughout Europe teaching Classical Acupuncture (CCM). In the last three decades of the last century Chinese Medicine proliferated all around the world enjoying a boom. Today, millions of people include acupuncture as part of their healthcare regimens and it enjoys a well deserved place along side western healthcare.
The International College of Oriental Medicine provide a great history of acupuncture timeline here