The History of Acupuncture

The History of Acupuncture

When we refer to something as being time-tested, this can certainly be said of acupuncture, which dates back millennia and has a long history of helping people to heal.

As old as this healing technique may be, there’s still enough confusion about its history and role in medicine that the team here at Family Wellness Acupuncture thought we’d take this opportunity to provide a brief origin story of the modern art of acupuncture.

Going back in time

It’s hard to say exactly when acupuncture was first used as it’s old enough to predate written history. What researchers have found is that there’s definitive evidence of the use of acupuncture around 2500 BC in China, where acupuncture was born. Some might argue that the use of acupuncture dates back even further, but for the purposes of this discussion, we’ll go with the first recorded use of the art.

Whether acupuncture is 3,000 or 6,000 years old, it can safely be said that acupuncture is an ancient healing practice.

Acupuncture and balancing the forces

The practice of acupuncture stems from ancient Chinese philosophies surrounding yin and yang. The theory behind yin and yang is that all natural life contains two forces:


The yin side of the equation is considered the female force and embodies the earth and darkness.


On the other side is yang, which is the male force that embodies light and the heavens.

Rather than existing in opposition, these two forces complement each other and create the qi that is part of all living life.

When the yin and yang in a person is out of harmony, it disrupts the flow of qi, which can lead to illness.

By restoring one’s qi, the body is able to heal thanks to free flow of resources and energies.

Restoring balance through acupuncture

The practice of acupuncture is based on 12 meridians in the human body, which are passageways for qi. Each meridian corresponds to certain organs and areas of health, and by accessing, and clearing, these meridians through acupuncture, we can restore your balance and your health.

Modern history of acupuncture

Although Western medicine has made some important advances, much of the approach is interventional, which means working around the body instead of with the body. Many Westerners recognized the importance of working in concert with the human body’s incredibly powerful healing resources and have been turning to acupuncture as both a primary and adjunct treatment.

To put some dates to this, Europeans began using acupuncture between the 16th and 19th centuries. By the 19th and 20th centuries, acupuncture became a part of American culture, as well.

Today, acupuncture is a widely recognized treatment option for a wide range of issues, including fertility, pain management, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and more.

If you’d like to explore for yourself why acupuncture has endured through the millennia, please contact our office in Irvine, California, to experience how acupuncture can improve your health and wellness.

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