3 Amazing Historical Facts About Chinese Medicine

November 9, 2015 Updated: November 9, 2015

Chinese Medicine is an ancient science that many people find mysterious. I was drawn to practice this amazing medicine because it is endlessly fascinating and it has given me skills that help others. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge so here are three fun historical facts about Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

1) The first acupuncture needles were originally fashioned from stone or bone as that was what was available at the time. Later they were made from iron and bronze, luckily for us, the most popular material used to make needles today is stainless steel. Many people ask me if acupuncture hurts and I generally answer, “not much”, but I’ll bet those bone and stone needles were painful!

Chinese traditional medicine ancient book (LuceHoPhotography/iStock)

2) The First written medical account of acupuncture is found in the Nei Jing. This famous classic is the oldest known Chinese medical text and possibly the oldest medical text in the world, it was written around 305 B.C. – 204 B.C.. The Nei Jing described acupuncture, meridians, qi, and the location of 160 acupuncture points, many fewer than today. We now have thousands of points!

3) While the Nei Jing may be the oldest written text, the guiding philosophy of Chinese medicine is much older. Chinese medicine is rooted in the belief that we are deeply connected to our environment. The story goes that a wise sage named Fu Hsu came up with the concept of yin and yang through his observations of nature around 8000 years ago. The popular concept of  Yin and Yang is still at the core of Chinese medicine theory today.

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.