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Acupuncture has been used by the Chinese and other East Asian cultures as a system of healing for over 2500 years. Originally, needles were fashioned from stone or bone because these were available and could be fashioned into ‘needles’. These early implements are known as bian and are the origin of the acupuncture treatments used today. Eventually, needles made of bronze and iron were substituted for the stone and today, stainless steel is the most common form of needle. The first written medical account of acupuncture is found in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, entitled “The Nei Jing”. It was compiled around 305-204 B.C. and consists of two parts. The second part mainly focused on acupuncture and moxabustion, describing the meridians, their relation to the organs, needle types, functions of the acupuncture points, types of Qi, needling techniques, and the location of 160 points. From 260-265 A.D., the famous physician Huang Fu Mi, organized all of the ancient literature into his classic text. The text is twelve volumes and describes 349 acupuncture points. This book is noted to be one of the most influential texts in the history of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. During the early 20th century acupuncture was suppressed due to the up rise of Western Medicine. In 1950 Chairman Mao officially united Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine and acupuncture became established in many hospitals, ensuring that acupuncture remained an important element in China’s medical system. In the late 50 and 60’s, research continued into acupuncture with further study of ancient texts, clinical effects of acupuncture on various diseases, and the development of acupuncture anesthesia. From the 1970’s to the present, acupuncture continues to play an important role in China’s medical system. China has taken the lead in researching all aspects of acupuncture and its clinical effects. Acupuncture became more familiar to the Western world in the early 1900s in France. From there, it gradually spread to other European countries. Up until the early 1970s, most Americans had never heard of acupuncture
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