We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the History of Acupuncture?

By Patrick Lynch
Updated Feb 13, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

It is believed that the history of acupuncture begins more than 5,000 ago. It began in China but did not spread to Europe until the early 1900s, so the history of acupuncture in the West is less than 100 years of its entire history. Another 70 years was to pass before the process of acupuncture became popular in America. In this short space of time however, acupuncture became one of the most commonly used forms of alternative medicine in the world.

The history of acupuncture begins in ancient China and is said to have originated long before the written word came into existence. Archaeological evidence was found in China in 1963 which suggests that acupuncture is as least 5,000 years old. A stone dated to that era is believed to have been used to create acupuncture needles. The first textbook relating to acupuncture is called the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Inner Medicine and is believed to have been written in 200 B.C. The book explains that ancient people lived longer than their modern counterparts because they knew how to live life according to nature.

In the history of acupuncture, the first Europeans to discover it are likely to have been missionaries who traveled to Asia in the 16th century. In 1683, a Dutch doctor wrote about Chinese acupuncture, but the practice was not brought to Europe until the early 20th century, when it was practiced in France. It slowly spread to various other countries in Europe but was generally only used by physicians.

It was not until American President Richard Nixon visited China in the early 1970s that acupuncture became known in the United States. Washington D.C became the first place in America to allow non-physicians to practice acupuncture. The Acupuncture Centre of Washington was opened in 1972 and was the first clinic of its kind in the nation. Acupuncture quickly gained popularity as a method of treating aches and pains with hundreds of patients being treated per day in the Washington Clinic. It survived a legal attempt at a shut down by anxious members of the medical establishment. In 2011, there are estimated to be more than 20,000 licensed acupuncturists in the United States.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.