Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world, dating back at least 3,000 years as one of the central modalities of traditional Chinese medicine. In comparison, modern or Western medicine has been practiced for only about 200 years.
Acupuncture was first recorded in the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), considered to be the oldest Chinese medical textbook, which most scholars believe was compiled between the third and first centuries BCE. Traditional Chinese medicine, which encompasses many different practices, is rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism whose origins may be traced more than 5,000 years in the past. As part of traditional Chinese medicine, the main goal of acupuncture is to restore and maintain health through the stimulation of specific points on the body. Simply put, acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles on the body’s surface in order to influence physiological functioning of the body. The most common practice of acupuncture is for the relief or treatment of moderate to severe pain, which can originate from various points in the body.