Posts Tagged ‘United States’

via Distribution of licensed acupuncturists and educational institutions in the United States at the start of 2018  

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via How many acupuncturists in the United states (US) in the early of 2015 ?

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J Integr Med. 2018 Jan;16(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Distribution of licensed acupuncturists and educational institutions in the United States in early 2015.

In recent decades, acupuncture has been used more widely and extensively in the United States (U.S.). However, there have been no national surveys or analyses reported in academic journals on the number of practicing or licensed acupuncturists. This study was conducted to identify the approximate number of licensed acupuncturists active in 2015. The Board of Acupuncture or Board of Medicine in each state or U.S. territory was contacted to collect data. Online license information searching was also performed in order to get accurate numbers of licensed acupuncturists for those states in which a board was unable to be contacted. The study found that the number of licensed acupuncturists in 2015 in the U.S. was 34,481. Of this, more than 50% were licensed in three states alone: California (32.39%), New York (11.89%) and Florida (7.06%). The number of licensed acupuncturists increased 23.30% and 52.09%, compared to the year 2009 (n = 27,965) and 2004 (n = 22,671), respectively; increasing about 1,266 per year. There were 62 and 10 accredited acupuncture institutions providing master and doctoral degrees, respectively. The West Coast comprised 51.39% of degree granting programs, while the East Coast comprised 29.17%; together the coastal states housed more than 80% of all programs, with the remainder sprinkled across the southern (9.72%), northern (8.33%), and the middle/central states (1.39%). Forty-four states and the District of Columbia regulated acupuncture practice by law at the time of data collection. Acupuncture continues to be a quickly growing profession in the U.S.


Acupuncture educational institution; Acupuncture regulation; Acupuncturist; Oriental medicine; United States

PMID: 29397086  DOI:10.1016/j.joim.2017.12.003

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Today, White Paper version 2.0 was published online first at the Website of Journal of Integrative Medicine

Click to access S2095-4964(17)60378-9.pdf

Acupuncture’s Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management, White Paper 2017

Abstract by Arthur Yin Fan

The title of White Paper is “Acupuncture’s Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management, White Paper 2017”白皮书的题目是“针灸在解决阿片类药物危机中的作用:针灸作为一线非药物疗法治疗和控制疼痛的证据、花费和医疗服务的可行性”。

There were 6 organizations as the co-publishers-参加发表该白皮书的有6个合作单位:The American Society of Acupuncturists, ASA美国针灸师联合会 、The American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety, AAPAS美国执业针灸安全联盟 ,  The Acupuncture Now Foundation, ANF针灸立刻行动基金会,  The American TCM Association, ATCMA全美中医药学会 ,  The American TCM Society, ATCMS)美国中医针灸学会和全美华裔中医药总会 National Federation of TCM Organizations, NFTCMO 。

White paper  was drafted and edited based on a letter, which original authors were(白皮书起草是在一封信的基础上起步的,信的原文作者是): The Joint Acupuncture Opioid Task Force (Chair: Bonnie M. Abel Bolash, MAc, LAc. Member organizations: The Acupuncture Now Foundation (ANF) ,The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) ;组员: Matthew Bauer, LAc ;Bonnie Bolash, LAc ; Lindy Camardella, LAc; Mel Hopper Koppelman, MSc ;John McDonald, PhD, FAACMA ;Lindsay Meade, LAc ;David W Miller, MD, LAc .

The first (revising) author 白皮书修改稿第一作者: Arthur Yin Fan, CMD, PhD, LAc (ATCMA) ;Correspondent author通讯作者: David W Miller, MD, LAc 。Other authors参与白皮书的其他作者: Sarah Faggert, DAc, LAc; Hongjian He, CMD, LAc;Mel Hopper Koppelman, MSc; Yong Ming Li, MD, PhD, LAc ; Amy Matecki, MD, LAc*;David W Miller, MD, LAc; John Pang, MD** , etc . *Division Chief, Dept. of Medicine, Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System; **Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.


The United States is facing a national opioid epidemic, and medical systems are in need of non-pharmacologic strategies that can be employed to decrease the public’s opioid dependence. Acupuncture has emerged as a powerful, evidence based, safe, cost-effective, and available treatment modality suitable to meeting this need. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the management of numerous types of pain, and mechanisms of action for acupuncture have been described and are understandable from biomedical, physiologic perspectives. Further, acupuncture’s cost-effectiveness could dramatically decrease health care expenditures, both from the standpoint of treating acute pain and through avoiding the development of opioid addiction that requires costly care, destroys quality of life, and can lead to fatal overdose. Numerous federal regulatory agencies have advised or mandated that healthcare systems and providers offer non-pharmacologic treatment options, and acupuncture stands as the most evidence-based, immediately available choice to fulfil these calls. Acupuncture can safely, easily, and cost -effectively be incorporated into hospital settings as diverse as the emergency department, labor and delivery suites, and neonatal intensive care units to treat a variety of pain seen commonly in hospitals.

Acupuncture is already being successfully and meaningfully utilized by the Veterans Administration and various branches of the U.S. Military.




  1. Acupuncture is an effective, safe, and cost-effective treatment for numerous types of acute and chronic pain. Acupuncture should be recommended as a first line treatment for pain before opiates are prescribed, and may reduce opioid use.


1.1 Effectiveness/Efficacy of acupuncture for different types of pain.


1.2 Safety and feasibility of acupuncture for pain management.


1.3 Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for pain management.


1.4 Can adjunctive acupuncture treatment reduce the use of Opioid-like medications?


  1. Acupuncture’s analgesic mechanisms have been extensively researched and acupuncture can increase the production and release of endogenous opioids in animals and humans.


  1. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain involving maladaptive neuroplasticity.


  1. Acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in opiate dependency and rehabilitation.


  1. Acupuncture has been recommended as a first line non-pharmacologic therapy by the

FDA, as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in coping with the opioid crisis. The Joint Commission has also mandated that hospitals provide non-pharmacologic pain treatment modalities.


  1. Among most non-pharmacologic al managements for pain relief now available, acupuncture therapy is the most effective and specific for opioid abuse and overuse.


  1. Acupuncture is widely available from qualified practitioners nationally.


Click to access S2095-4964(17)60378-9.pdf

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Title: The earliest acupuncture school of the United States incubated in a Tai Chi Center in Los Angeles
Authors: Arthur Yin Fan
Abstract | Full text | PDF |

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To date, there are 1,035 active acupuncturists in MD. Acupuncture Today indicated the members in Maryland is 752(72.6%). And currently VA active acupuncturists  about 485. In Acupuncture Today, is 352(72.6%).

Total acupuncturists in Acupuncture Today is about 25,000. So in 2014, actual active acupuncturists in USA should be 34,435.

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[日期:2012-06-20] 来源:  作者: http://book.th55.cn/a/201206/8138.html ]






哈维.库兴(Harvey Cushin9,1869~1939年)在《奥斯勒传》中提到,美国现代医学教育之父奥斯勒医生曾尝试用针灸为一位加拿大麦吉尔大学(McGill University)的董事治疗腰痛,结果失败,没能争取到这位蒙特利尔富有的糖业加工大亨为学校的捐款[216]





《观察》画报于1957年10月1日发表了摄影记者菲利浦·哈瑞顿 (Phillip Harrington)的配图文章,题目为“红色中国墨守古老医学”,其中提到作者在访问北京儿童医院时,看到中国医生使用针灸治疗疾病,文中还刊出针灸照片[88]

第一位赴新中国采访的美国电视记者罗伯特·科恩(Robert Carl Cohen)于1958年拍摄了一部题为“红色中国的内幕”纪录片,在介绍中国医疗状况时,其中有现代医院和传统针灸的内容[219]





1971年5月,耶鲁大学的高尔斯顿(Arthur Galston)教授和麻省理工学院的西格纳(Ethan Signer)教授在访问越南时,获得访问中国的邀请,成为新中国第一批应邀访华的美国科学家,2人在访华期间参观了针刺麻醉手术[21]


1971年6月7日,美国《新闻周刊》报道了耶鲁大学的高尔斯顿教授和麻省理工学院的西格纳教授访问中国,参观了针刺麻醉手术。文章刊登了经络穴位图,解释为“神经中心图” [21]


1971年7月17 日,《纽约时报》记者赖斯顿于北京“反帝医院”(协和医院)因阑尾炎住院并接受常规阑尾切除手术,第二天(18日),赖斯顿因术后腹胀腹痛接受了李占元医生的针刺和艾灸治疗。赖斯顿住院期间,将自己的治疗经历写成“现在让我告诉你们我在北京的阑尾切除手术”一文,发表在1971年7月26日的《纽约时报》上,此文被公认为美国针灸热的导火索[9]


1971年9月,应中国中华医学会邀请,由4位知名美国医生及他们的夫人组成的美国医学代表团首次访问新中国,受到中国医学界的高规格接待。4人是美国前总统艾森豪威尔的私人医生,世界著名的心脏病专家,麻省总医院和哈佛大学的教授怀特(Paul Dudley White)医学博士;密苏里大学健康科学院院长达蒙德(Grey Dimond)医学博士;纽约爱因斯坦医学院社区健康教授赛尔德(Vietor Sidel)医学博士;纽约西奈山医学院耳鼻喉科退休名誉教授罗森(Samuel Rosen)医学博士。代表团在中国多家医院参观了针刺麻醉手术[29]




美国科学界的顶级学术杂志《科学》于1972年1月发表关于中国针灸和针刺麻醉的报道[54]。《科学》杂志在1972~1975年间至少发表过9篇关 于针灸的报告和评论文章。




美国第一次针刺麻醉试验手术于l972年4月由专业麻醉医师刘医生(wei Chi Liu)在芝加哥威斯医院(Weiss Memorial Hospital)完成。患者是一位31岁的麻醉护士,他自愿请医生采用针刺代替常规药物麻醉切除自己的扁桃体,手术十分成功。手术病例报道发表于l972年《美国医学会会刊》[222]


《美国针灸》杂志(American Journal ofAcupuncture)于1973年创刊。


《美洲中医》杂志(American Journal of Chnese Medicine)于1973年创刊。










1972年香港医生温祥来(Hsian9—Lai wen)等首先发明耳针戒毒疗法,其研究论文于l973年发表于《亚洲医学》杂志。1974年纽约林肯医院史密斯(Michael 0.Smith)医学博士建立了第一个设立在美国医院的耳针戒毒中心。


美国第一个针灸学校“新英格兰针灸学校”(New England School of Acupuncture)于1975年创办。








美国国家健康研究院于l997首次召开“针灸听证会”(Concensus conference,即“共识讨论会”),对针灸疗法作出了科学评估。专家评审委员会最后得出结论:针灸治疗一些病症确实有效[165]


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The Practice of Acupuncture: Who Are the Providers and What Do They Do?

doi: 10.1370/afm.248   Ann Fam Med March 1, 2005 vol. 3 no. 2 151-158

Karen J. Sherman, Daniel C. Cherkin, David M. Eisenber

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Karen J. Sherman, PhD, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, 1730 Minor Ave, Suite 1600, Seattle, WA 98101, sherman.k@ghc.org


PURPOSE This study provides basic information about the training and practices of licensed acupuncturists.

METHODS Randomly selected licensed acupuncturists in Massachusetts and Washington state were interviewed and asked to record information on 20 consecutive patient visits.

RESULTS Most acupuncturists in both states had 3 or 4 years of academic acupuncture training and had received additional “postgraduate” training as well. Acupuncturists treated a wide range of conditions, including musculoskeletal problems (usually back, neck, and shoulder) (33% in Massachusetts and 47% in Washington), general body symptoms (12% and 9%, respectively) such as fatigue, neurological problems (10% and 12%, respectively) (eg, headaches), and psychological complaints (10% and 8%, respectively) (especially anxiety and depression). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was the predominant style of acupuncture used in both states (79% and 86%, respectively). Most visits included a traditional diagnostic assessment (more than 99%), regular body acupuncture (95% and 93%, respectively), and additional treatment modalities (79% and 77%, respectively). These included heat and lifestyle advice (66% and 65%, respectively), most commonly dietary advice and exercise recommendations. Chinese herbs were used in about one third of visits. Although most patients self-referred to acupuncture, about one half received concomitant care from a physician. Acupuncturists rarely communicated with the physicians of their patients who were providing care for the same problem.

CONCLUSIONS This study contributes new information about acupuncturists and the care they provide that should be useful to clinicians interested in becoming more knowledgeable about complementary or alternative medical therapies available to their patients.

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Monday, October 6, 2008;


James Tin Yau So

Dr. James Tin Yau So, N.D., LAc., also known as Dr. So, was one of the most influential individuals of the 20th Century in bringing acupuncture to the United States.

Dr. So’s teacher was Tsang Tien Chi who studied under Ching Tan An. He graduated from Dr. Tsang’s College of Scientific Acupuncture in , China, in 1939. During the same year Dr. So opened his medical office in Hong Kong. In 1941 he opened his own school, The Hong Kong College Acupuncture. For the next thirty years, Dr. So established himself as one of the most successful and well-respected acupuncturists throughout Asia. Practitioner came from all over Asia and Europe to study at his college.

Several acupuncturists from the National Acupuncture Association sought Dr. So’s assistance in 1972. At the time the NAA offered Dr. So a position as acupuncturist at the UCLA Acupuncture Pain Clinic, the only legal acupuncture clinic in California at that time. Dr. So accepted and joined the NAA staff of acupuncturists and the UCLA Acupuncture Pain Clinic in 1973.

In 1974, Dr. So was part of the NAA group that traveled to Massachusetts and opened the first acupuncture clinic in Boston and a second clinic in Worcester. In the fall of 1974, Dr. So founded the New England School of Acupuncture. Karen Freede and John V. Braga assisted Dr. So in the translation of his three books on the points of acupuncture, the techniques acupuncture and treatment of disease by acupuncture. . Dr. So, with the help of his students Arnie Freiman and Steven Breeker, founded the first school of acupuncture in the US, the New England School of Acupuncture , in 1974 With his approval Dr. Gene Bruno and Dr. Steven Rosenblatt founded a second school in the US, which became the California Acupuncture College, located in West Los Angeles.

A majority of the acupuncture schools in the U.S. were founded by students of Dr. So. This legacy of acupuncture in North America is unparalleled.

Dr. So was awarded the Acupuncturist of the Year in 2001 by the American Association of Oriental Medicine. In 2007, Dr. So Tin Yau was among the first four acupuncturists to be inscribed on the Founders of the Profession Honor Roll by the American Association of Oriental Medicine.

Posted by at 8:27 PM

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Dr. Fan notes: Someone asked me which school is good in the  field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Here is a online article which picked “top 10”. For what is best school, actually different people may have different criteria. From my personal perspective, the best one is that most fit you—fit your taste(most attract you), and affordable, also close to you. So, before choosing a school, you must conduct a research by yourself. And actually in Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there are different academical schools (different in style), such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), five elements, etc., everyone may have something good in “taste”, it is difficult to say which is the best in one word.

Here is the article: http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2012/09/11/10-acupuncture-schools-u-s/

Prospective students may begin their search with schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).http://www.acaom.org/find-a-school/default.aspx?state=All&dicipline=undefined&programtypes=                                  

The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as well as the American Association of Oriental Medicine established ACAOM in 1982 as a not-for-profit organization. ACAOM is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a “specialized and professional” accrediting agency.

ACAOM has more than 60 schools and colleges with accreditation or candidacy status. All of the schools we selected for our list have received accreditation from the ACAOM.

Below is our ranking of the 10 best acupuncture schools in the United States. Factors that influenced our choice of schools making this list as well as their relative order include the following:

  1. quality of faculty not only as practitioners of acupuncture but also as researchers advancing the field;
  2. success in training students who can lead the field;
  3. having not merely a masters but also a doctoral program in acupuncture;
  4. comprehensiveness of the training program;
  5. how long the school has been in existence and its reputation for excellence during that time.


1. Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (Portland, OR)

2. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (San Diego, CA)

3. New England School of Acupuncture (Watertown, MA)

4. Bastyr University (Kenmore, WA)

5. American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (San Francisco, CA)

6. Southwest Acupuncture College (Santa Fe, NM)

7. American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (Houston, TX)

8. AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (Austin, TX)

9. New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (New York, NY)

10. Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences (Oakland, CA)

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http://www.positivearticles.com/Article/The-History-of-Acupuncture-in-the-United-States/16719 By: ashu

Acupuncture has been an excepted medical practice throughout Asia for thousands of years. The history of acupuncture in the United States is less lengthy.

The History of Acupuncture in the United States

Acupuncture found its way into the United States in the same manner that so many other things have reached this country. It was brought with the immigrants. In this case, it was with Chinese immigrants brought into the West to work on railroads and in the fields. Large Chinese enclaves grew up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in New York City on the east coast. Acupuncture was a standard form of treatment in these settlements just as it had been back home in China. The Chinese had been using acupuncture for centuries and also had very little trust for Western Medical treatments.

Although there were a few incidents of Westerners becoming involved with the study and practice of acupuncture in the United States during the 19th century, it was never widely practiced outside Chinese areas. It also was never widely accepted. It was considered superstition and totally unscientific and little attempt to understand it was ever made. When the Communist Government started a campaign to rid China of all traces of Classical Chinese Medicine, many acupuncturists made their way abroad. Some of these came to the United States which increased the number, but still little was done to understand and adapt it to Western use.

One of the big turnarounds for acupuncture in the United States occurred during a State visit to China by Richard Nixon in the 1970’s. During this visit, a member of the U.S. delegation was given an emergency appendectomy. The only anesthesia that was used was acupuncture. The President was duly impressed and when he returned to the US, he called for further study of the procedure. It was the beginning of the move of acupuncture from a foreign voodoo-hoodoo type of thing to a respectable and accepted alternative Medical treatment procedure.

In 1994, the Washington Post was reporting that almost 15 million Americans had tried acupuncture. This was almost 6% of the total population. In 1995, The United States Federal Drug Administration classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments. The biggest turnaround came in 1997 when the National Institute of Health issued a report titled, “Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement.” This report stated that acupuncture was indeed very useful in the treatment of certain conditions. It also stated that the side effects of acupuncture were less adverse than those resulting from either surgery or drugs.

The NIH report further encouraged Insurance Companies to give full coverage to acupuncture treatments for certain conditions. This was a major endorsement of the procedure. Today, acupuncture is becoming more and more accepted as an alternative treatment and is gaining acceptance by the Western Medical Community. Some Medical schools including UCLA have begun to offer acupuncture as part of the curriculum.

Acupuncture has been an excepted medical practice throughout Asia for thousands of years. The history of acupuncture in the United States is less lengthy.

Dr.Fan notes: Some of the points are not correct, such as the Nixon’s team member got sick and had operation under acupuncture anesthesia.

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Dr. Wu: A beautiful, moving and meditative song — In memory of Dr. Jing Nuan Wu, a pioneer of acupuncture and a Chinese medicine doctor in the United States.

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine: 2012; 10(8): 837-840


1.         Arthur Yin Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

2.         Ziyi Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine: Volume 10   August, 2012   Number 8

Received June 10, 2012; accepted June 13, 2012; published online August 15, 2012.

Full-text LinkOut at PubMed. Journal title in PubMed: Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao.

Correspondence: Arthur Yin Fan, PhD, MD, LAc. Tel: +1-703-499-4428; Fax: +1-703-547-8197; E-mail: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US

Few popular songs are titled a doctor’s name and even fewer are sung directly by the doctor’s patients. However, the song Dr. Wu might be the exception. After sung by Steely Dan[1], a well-known American jazz-rock band, Dr. Wu has been loved by many Americans for over 35 years. The beautiful, moving, and meditative song was written in 1975 after Steely Dan had abandoned touring and reconvened in Los Angles, the UnitedState[2]. As one of the best Steely Dan songs, Dr. Wu literally describes the love between Katy and a young Cuban man, and because of Dr. Wu, the girl leaves the young man. Actually, the song writer and singer Donald Fagen, wrote the song as a metaphor commemorating one of the band members’ recovery (probably himself) from drugs with the help of Dr. Wu[3]. Hence, the song is a cryptic lyrical tribute.

1  Who is Dr. Wu?

In the Steely Dan Dictionary[4], the titular doctor is identified as: “Doctor Jing Nuan Wu (1933-2002), an acupuncturist and artist based in Washington, D.C., emigrated from China to the UnitedState at a young age and graduated from Harvard to become a Wall Street venture capitalist, finally setting up a Taoist clinic in Washington, D.C. in 1973.”

I met Dr. Jing Nuan Wu (胡振南) in 2002, just one month before his death. At the time, I had only lived in the UnitedState for one year. I had just received my acupuncture license and planned to practice Chinese medicine in Washington, D.C., so I called Dr. Wu’s office to ask for some advice from him, and he agreed to see me. I did not know he was very ill. We met in one of his offices in Georgetown, located on the beautiful north bank of the Potomac River. He was very thin and wore a black traditional Chinese silk shirt. Because he could not speak Mandarin and I could not speak Cantonese, we used English to communicate. His voice was very soft due to his illness. Dr. Wu described the history of Chinese medicine in Washington, D.C. and he hoped that Chinese medicine could prosper from generation to generation. He said that he was aware that I was a young Chinese medicine doctor with several achievements and expressed that I could work with him should he recover from kidney cancer. It was a pity that the arrangement was never fulfilled. Dr. Wu passed away on December 3, 2002.

Dr. Wu was a legendary person. He was born in Guangdong, China, a province near Hong Kong, but was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, in the United States. According to the recall of a friend of his[5], Dr. Wu came to the United States with his parents when he was five years old. His parents were laundry workers and worked hard to raise him. Their work paid off as he later graduated from HarvardUniversity with a degree in language and history. He moved to Middleburg, Virginia in the 1960s and caused a stir in Virginia hunt country when he bought the Rattlesnake Ridge retreat from Jacqueline Kennedy[6]. He had an “extreme crisis” in early 1970s before becoming a Chinese medicine doctor[5-7].

Dr. Wu was a venture capitalist in the 1960s and had interest in a firm that was developing Apollo space capsules. He had trouble with the authorities in that period; the immigration officials accused him for faking papers and the Securities and Exchange Commission suspected him of investment improprieties (he denied both wrongdoings). He was involved in a series of tiring law suits and became bankrupt. His United States citizenship was maintained, but he could no longer be a venture capitalist. During this crisis period, he visited his family in Hong Kong. During this visit, an elder relative gave him some life-changing advice — “It’s time for you to do service.” he said. It was then that Dr. Wu learned Chinese medicine from his uncle and was commissioned to write a book on Chinese medicine in English. When he realized that Chinese medicine was effective, he made a decision — instead of writing about Chinese medicine, he began to practice it.

He returned to the Washington D. C. to establish the Taoist Health Institute in 1973, and developed a stable stream of high-profile clients. Under the supervision of a medical doctor, he became one of the earliest acupuncturists/Chinese medicine doctors in the United States. At that time, Washington, D.C. was the first local authority that allowed acupuncturists to legally practice. Dr. Wu was most successful during the late 1970s to early 2000s[5-7]. At the time, when people in Washington, D.C. thought of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the first name that came to mind was Dr. Jing Nuan Wu[7]. As his friend wrote in a book, “a Chinese idiom says, ‘death is not terrible; two decades later, he will become a hero again.’ Dr. Wu actually became a hero in Chinese medicine only several years after his ‘death in Wall Street’”[5].

2  Dr. Wu’s achievements

Dr. Wu established an acupuncture detoxification center, which is the first notable work of him in 1980s. Due to his deep concern for young American addicted to drugs and being encouraged by the initial success of his acupuncture detoxification test, Dr. Wu established a drug recovery center in 1983 or 1984 called the GreenCrossCenter for Traditional Medicine, located at 1510 U Street NW, Washington, D.C. This center was well-known because it was probably the second most successful acupuncture detoxification center in the United States. The first was established by Dr. Michael Smith in the LincolnHospital in the Bronx, New York, which saw 200 to 300 patients every day, and is financially supported by the state. In contrast, Dr. Wu did all the work on his own with great difficulty. His clinic had no funding from the city, the state, or the federal government. In an interview[7] by Dr. Redwood in early 1990s, Dr. Wu said that he and his associates at Green Cross did the work because they had hoped that it would encourage other people to do the same. However, the clinic required a great deal of money and dedication. “I know of many groups throughout the country that have tried to do what we have done, and they have not been successful because of the lack of one or the other. I can not tell you how much dedication it really does take. The staff are burnt out. We are basically on our second group of staff in seven years. Luckily, our practitioners work for very little. So what has happened is that no one works full-time except two of the administrative staff. Everybody else works part-time. They make money outside of this work, so that they can keep body and soul together. I subsidize the clinic through my personal work, and one or two of my friends have put in substantial amounts of money.” At that time, his detoxification clinic might have been the only one using Chinese herbs, alongside the acupuncture, to treat drug addiction and acquired immune deficiency syndrome[8] in the United States.

His second notable work was the push for the first acupuncture regulation in Washington, D.C., which was released in 1989. He served as the chairman of the Acupuncture Advisory Committee for the District of Columbia, which has advised the Board of Medicine, Washington, D.C., on the regulation and licensing of acupuncturists in the District for over 10 years. He did “one of the more frustrating jobs” in his career — the Washington, D.C. Board of Medicine, and Dr. Wu had agreed early on with regard to the acupuncture guidelines. It then took Dr. Wu and his colleagues three years and five lawyers to put out only 12 pages of rules and regulations. “That is because Washington, D.C. mires in a system of bureaucracy that is impossible to understand. That impossibility stems from one critical lack — that they have no one in the city bureaucracy that can type! So we ended up in a situation where the lawyers get so frustrated that after five months they quit. In dealing with this, it was not until our fifth lawyer that we finally got the rules and regulations into a piece where we could publish them. It is that type of procedure which I think is analogous to the drug situation.”[7]

Dr. Wu also played an important role in acupuncture development in the United States. In 1994, as one of three licensed acupuncturists (the other two were Dr. Lixing Lao, and Dr. Xiaoming Tian) was invited, he gave a presentation on acupuncture as a medical device and the safety of acupuncture in a workshop cosponsored by the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institute of Health (NIH), and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since this workshop, acupuncture needles were no longer listed as an investigational device in the FDA regulations (as it did for 20 years prior to the workshop). This was a milestone in acupuncture development and make acupuncture have broader applications in clinical practice. As a renowned acupuncturist, a Chinese medicine scholar and a practitioner, Dr. Wu was also invited to be one of the key board members listed for the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine — one of main journals in the research of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, in which he published an article introducing the history of acupuncture.

His third notable work was his introduction of Taoism and promotion of Chinese medicine in GeorgetownUniversity, GeorgeWashingtonUniversity, and many other institutions all over the country. He translated and published several important classic books related to Chinese medicine, completing the “homework” that his elder relative had given him many years before. Such works were the Spiritual Pivot (Lingshu, 《灵枢》, published by University of Hawaii Press, 1993), Yi Jing (I Ching, 《易经》,published by The Taoist Center, 1999 and earlier), and An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica with the collaboration of Dr. Qian Xinzhong, the former Minister of Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China (published posthumously by the Oxford University Press, 2002). These books have been widely cited by Western scholars. Before his death, Dr. Wu also completed a translation of Tao Te Ching/Lao Tzu(《道德经/老子》), which, sadly, was not published.

Dr. Wu’s fourth notable work was the use of multiple natural remedies to treat patients. In the 1980s, there was a natural healing center located at Wisconsin Avenue and 30 Street that included acupuncture, Chinese herbology, nutrition consultation, Chinese medicine lectures, as well as an Oriental medicine book store and a small Oriental dietary therapy restaurant. One of my patients recalled that this center was also established and administered by Dr. Wu. Dr. Wu invited several renowned practitioners to take part in the center’s work. The center was unique and attracted many people. However, because of financial difficulties, it closed after several years.

Dr. Wu was involved in promoting Chinese herbology. He said that among Chinese medicine therapies, Chinese herbology is the major one. He was one of the earliest well-known Chinese herbalists in the Washington, D.C. area. Besides his daily clinical work, he carried out a clinical study for women going through menopause using Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, also called Free and Easy Wanderer Plus Powder under a NIH funding. His work was recommended by FDA to the public as an alternative therapy for menopausal women.

3  Dr. Wu, the artist for healing

In the 1980s, Dr. Wu began creating abstract art that embodies the holistic ideas of the traditional Chinese healing system, and had an exhibition at the National Botanical Gardens (Washington, D.C., USA). “My vision for the artwork grew when a patient who was ill with cancer asked me to paint a picture for him. Suddenly I realized that I had found a way to heal many more people than the number I could see in my office every day,” he said. His paintings and sculptures eventually evolved into therapeutic devices, used to promote health, balance, and relaxation by evoking responses from the inner aspects of our being (see Figure 1). Once upon a time, Dr. Wu mentioned that “visual art can and should be celebrated not only for its aesthetic and decorative value and as a record of historical events but also for its potential to help us express, understand and heal ourselves”. He said: “The quest for the transcendental experience has been a popular trip for mystics, and religious persons through the ages. They have followed the paths of meditation and spiritual practice. In the empirical vision and methods of traditional Chinese medicine, entry to the transcendental is an every day experience. The most significant outward manifestation of the transcendental state is relaxation of the physical body. I attempt with my art to change and to reset the clockwork of our inner being to the most beneficial and health-inducing rhythm. When reset and unburdened from the tics of anxiety and social pressure, one is being entered a calm field where new patterns of behavior can develop and take hold within. These quiet inner fields are my new medical country and my artwork is the way of passage.” Ten years after his death, his paintings are still available for purchase online[9].

Figure 1  Dr. Jing Nuan Wu is painting the impressionist paintings about Chinese medicine

This photo was taken in 1990s and was afforded by Ann Miller, Dr. Wu’s former assistant.

Dr. Wu passed away at age of 69, after almost 30 years of acupuncture and Chinese medicine working in Washington, D.C. During his practice, many patients were amazed by him and his work. “He was a genius,” Elizabeth Drew (an author and journalist, and a patient of Dr. Wu) recalled: “He thought beyond the normal ranges.” In a 1985 profile of Dr. Wu published in the Washington Post, the author observed that “there is something about this man. You believe him. His smile defuses skepticism. His Chinese slippers make no noises. In a city founded on convention, Wu is a soothing reminder that there is another way”.[6]

Dr. Wu did many beautiful things; people will remember him. His life of promoting acupuncture and Chinese medicine was just like the beautiful, moving and meditative song that shares his name.

4  Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Ms. April Enriquez for English editing; Ms. Ann Miller, a former assistant of Dr. Wu’s clinic, provided information about Dr. Wu, and permitted the use of the picture. The interviewer was Dr. Arthur Yin Fan.

5  Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


1.         Steely Dan. [2012-05-12]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steely_Dan.

2.         Steely Dan. Katy Lied. [2012-05-12]. http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Lied-Steely-Dan/dp/B00000IPAB/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1336954673&sr=1-1.

3.         Craig Middletown CT, etc. Comments. [2012-05-12]. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=6519.

4.         Steely Dan. Doctor Wu. (2012-03-05) [2012-05-12]. http://www.steelydandictionary.com/.

5.         Chen C. Acupuncture practice in the United States. Taibei: Blue Swan Co. 1987. Chinese.

6.         Zielinski G. Acupuncturist and artist Wu Jing-Nuan at 69. The Washington Post. 2002-12-6. [2012-06-12]. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-403078.html.

7.         Redwood D. Chinese medicine in modern America: Interview with Jing Nuan Wu LAc. (1995)[2012-05-12]. http://www.healthy.net/scr/interview.asp?Id=224.

8.         AIDS and the traditional healer. AIDS Action. 1990; 12: 7.

9.         Wu’s Healing Art. The healing art of Jing Nuan Wu. [2012-05-12]. http://www.wushealingart.com.

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Gene Bruno


Gene Bruno, OMD, LAc, FNAAOM, was a staff acupuncturist of the National Acupuncture Association’s research
team. Acupuncture arrived on the scene in the United States in the early 1970’s, shortly after information about
this medicine became available to the general public. James Reston’s surgery in China with the use of
acupuncture was the notable event that brought acupuncture to the public’s attention. Te National Acupuncture
Associaion, located in Westwood, California, was instrumental in training acupuncturists and research in acupuncture.
While acupuncture had been a part of the Chinese communities in the US, most of the public were uninformed of its
existence and its use in treating diseases. The National Acupuncture Association (NAA) was the first national
association to introduce acupuncture into the United States in the late 1960’s. One of the first major projects of
the NAA was to establish an Acupuncture Pain Clinic at UCLA medical school in 1972. The NAA also began several
research projects and sponsored the first medical seminars on acupuncture.
In 2007, the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) recognized this seminal work by NAA acupuncturists by
awarding its first Founders of the Profession Lifetime Achievement Awards, and creating the Pioneers Honor Roll. Dr.
Gene Bruno and Dr. William Prensky were awarded the first “Pioneers of the Field Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Dr. Steven Rosenblatt, Dr. James Tin Yau So and Dr. Ju Gim Shek were added to the Founders Honor Roll.
From 1971 until 1974, Dr. Bruno was part of the NAA’s two-man team that introduced veterinary acupuncture into the
United States for the first time. As a part of the first national organization to introduce acupuncture to western medicine
and the public in the US, Dr. Gene Bruno was one of the pioneers in this field in the US. From 1972 to 1974 he worked
at the UCLA Acupuncture Pain Clinic. From 1971 until 1974, Dr. Bruno was part of the NAA’s two-man team that
introduced veterinary acupuncture into the United States for the first time.

As one of the directors of the research team that introduced veterinary acupuncture into the United States, Dr. Bruno and
Dr. John Ottaviano were the only two practitioners who were allowed to treat animals in California in the 1970s who were
not licensed in veterinary medicine. The result of this work of the NAA’s veterinary research team led to the trainging of
veterinarians and to the establishment of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Association (IVAS) in 1974. The IVAS
is international and now has members in many countries including Italy. The IVAS is a non-profit educational organization.
As a practitioner of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for nearly 40 years, Dr. Bruno has received many awards. In
2006, the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) recognized his achievements in the field of Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine in the US by presenting him with the first Founders of the Profession Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2007, Dr. Bruno was elected to the Executive Board of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS).
This is the largest group of professional acupuncture and Oriental medicine societies in the world. As a member of
the Executive Board of the WFCMS, Dr. Bruno represents the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine (AAAOM), which is the largest and oldest national acupuncture organization in the United States.
Pioneers and Leaders Award October 2007
:Presented by American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
Founders of the Profession Lifetime Achievement Award October 2006
:Presented by American Association of Oriental Medicine
Special Award for Advancing Oriental Medicine in the State of Oregon October 1993
:Presented by the Oregon Acupuncture Association
Special Merit Award for Contributions that led to the Founding of
Veterinary Acupuncture in the US July 1975
:Presented by the National Acupuncture Association
Personal life
Gene Bruno (born April 13, 1948) grew up in the West Los Angles area, spent a year in Boston, and has lived with his

wife. He still has a medical office in Salem, Oregon.

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Acupuncture in Veterinary Medicine
January, 2005 .http://www.iama.edu/Articles/Acu_VeterinaryMedicine.htm
John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

Dr. Amaro treats Siberian Tiger
with Laser for Spasmodic Torticollis

In the fall of 1979 I was fortunate to be included on one of the first State Department approved list of observers to visit the People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of my very first acupuncture experiences was to assist in the performance of acupuncture on a hog in rural Liaoning Province in the Dongbei region of northeast China. Two thousand years ago the ancient city of Mukden now known as Shenyang had become a major trading post to peoples living north of the Great Wall. Shenyang would ultimately become the court of the Manchu (the “Masters”) and the capital of Manchuria. It sits in a pivotal position as it is on the land route to both Korea and upper Mongolia.

During the procedure it was explained the acupuncture points of large animals are primarily based on human anatomical transposition of human points onto animals. In other words, just place the human in the all four position much like an animal. The acupuncture points are virtually in the same location. Since the cow, pig, horse, camel and donkey were of vital importance to the ancient Chinese, veterinary acupuncture was developed and texts were written dealing with these animals. Even though through history there have been more than 70 texts on animal acupuncture, only 16 exist today.

Most of the information on veterinary medicine comes from the T’ANG Dynasty which is usually recognized to be from approximately 600 A.D. to 900 A.D. During this period due to the military requirements on the northern front many horses were raised specifically for the ever increasing military presence and purpose. Recognizing the tremendous importance attached to the health and welfare of the horse, the T’ANG Dynasty established an actual Department and School of Veterinary Medicine. This was the first formal education of this type in the history of China and the world. Even though the T’ANG Dynasty is credited with the formalization of veterinary acupuncture, the Spring and Autumn Warring States which was approximately 400 B.C. to 200 B.C., produced the historic practitioner who to this day is considered the Father of Chinese Veterinary Medicine Shun Yang. However, the earliest recorded practitioner of veterinary medicine was during the Chou Dynasty around 950 B.C. Chinese medicine was first introduced into Korea in the Chou Dynasty and then into Japan by way of Korea. Numerous contributions to both human and animal acupuncture have been made by both countries especially during the years 1100 to 1600.

The Jesuits of France were a presence in Macao and as far as Peking (Beijing) as early as 1582. It was the French Jesuit Harvieu who published the first work in a European language on human acupuncture in 1671. However it was not until 1836 that the first mention of veterinary acupuncture appeared in print in France. The case reported was of a paralyzed ox that was treated by implanted needles 3 inches long in two rows bilateral to the lumbar spine. The needles were described as being driven in with a mallet and left in place for two days. In England a passage from the British Veterinary Journal of 1828 stated “two things however are sufficiently evident, that the sudden and magical relief which the human being has sometimes experienced has not been seen in the horse; and that, probably from the thickness of the integument, the animals suffered extreme torture during the insertion of the needles”.

During the last Dynasty to be recorded in China’s long history, the “CH’ING Dynasty (1644 to 1912) there was a countrywide epidemic which had been catastrophic to pigs. As a result of veterinary acupuncture, the disease process had been cured and eliminated. In 1900 the book “A Complete Collection of Pig Diseases” was published. It was the information from this book which was being shared with me on that rural farm in Northeastern China in 1979.

It was not until 1917 the first “School for Chinese Medicine” for humans patterned after western medical schools was established in Shanghai. The school was privately financed and was the first school of its kind to offer a formal program and diploma in Chinese Medicine. There were no schools at this time of Chinese veterinary medicine only western style schools awarding degrees in Veterinary Medicine. In 1944 Chairman Mao Tse Tung issued a directive of historical proportions when he wrote “…if the modern practitioners of human and veterinary medicine do not unite with the more than one thousand traditional practitioners in this region and help them progress in knowledge and ability, they are in fact helping evil and letting many humans and animals die of diseases”.

In 1947 the formation of the beginning of modern Chinese Veterinary Medicine developed with the establishment of the School of Agriculture of the Northern University. This entire school was devoted solely to Chinese Veterinary Medicine which only focused on large animal applications. There has never been a development of small animal practice in the history of China as there is literally no demand for its use due to the cultural differences between the East and West regarding the owning of pets.

Acupuncture anesthesia was first developed in humans in 1958 and first applied to horses and donkeys in 1969. Analgesia was first used outside of China on humans in 1972 in Austria where the first surgery for a tonsillectomy in the Western world was performed.

The history of American veterinary acupuncture had its root beginnings following the national public interest shown in China and acupuncture in 1971-72. Whereas, unknown to most in the profession, acupuncture’s history in the US is quite startling when one considers just a few of its inclusions in the American medical scene.

Acupuncture for human applications have appeared in American medical texts since 1822 when the “Treatise on Acupuncturation” appeared in print which was a review of a British booklet. In 1825 the French book “Memoir on Acupuncture” appeared in the US. By 1829 a three page section on acupuncture appeared in the surgical text “Elements of Operative Surgery”. In the July 28, 1888 issue of Scientific American a two page article on Electric Acupuncture appeared. Perhaps the most famous 20th Century reference to acupuncture outside of the 1971 New York Times article by James Reston on “Now about my Operation” came from the 1907 book “Principles and Practice of Medicine” and the 1917 book by the same name whereby famed surgeon and medical practitioner Sir William Osler stated “….for lumbago acupuncture is, in acute cases, the most efficient treatment. Needles of from 3-4 inches in length (ordinary bonnet needles. Sterilized, will do) are thrust into the lumbar muscles at the seat of the pain, and withdrawn after 5-10 minutes. I many instances, the relief is immediate, and I can corroborate fully the statements of Ringer, who taught me this practice, as to its extraordinary and prompt efficacy in many instances….”. Ringer would be recognized to this day as one of the greatest physicians in history having discovered the isotonic electrolytic infusion solution still used today and known as “Ringers Solution”. A side note is that Dr. Sydney Ringer was British however his two brothers amassed great fortunes in Asia one in Shanghai and the other in Nagasaki Japan. One brother was so successful he was given the name “King of Nagasaki”. Dr. Ringer obviously learned acupuncture through one or both of his brothers and taught it to Osler. The 1910 book “The Principles and Practice of Chiropractic” by D.D. Palmer the founder of Chiropractic, also made specific reference to acupuncture.

Throughout the political history of all professions who have pioneered acupuncture in North America, it has been a very rocky and tumulus road for the veterinary profession. Following interest in acupuncture by a few DVM’s in 1972, Dr. David Bressler of UCLA was contacted and acupuncture procedures were initiated in Southern California on a variety of cases that had been deemed hopeless as they had all failed to respond with conventional Western medicine. The response with the variety of these test cases were overwhelmingly successful. This project was under the guidance of the National Acupuncture Association which Dr. Bressler had founded and presided at UCLA.

The National Association for Veterinary Acupuncture was formed in 1973 and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society was founded in 1974. By 1975 symposiums were being conducted by the Chinese Academy of Medicine and held at the University of Cincinnati, University of Georgia, Purdue University, The University of California School of Veterinary Medicine and others. The American Veterinary Medical Association took a very cautious position in the early formative years of acupuncture and in 1974 issued a formal statement that stated “the AVMA has serious concern about acupuncture regarding it as entirely experimental until strong evidence is available that the procedure has therapeutic value in animals and additional cases have been evaluated”.

Since those early days in the United States, veterinary acupuncture has become increasingly popular with more than 500 certified Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) practitioners in North America alone. Its clinical use ranges from equine to feline to canine and avian. The success rate borders on the astonishing in a variety of conditions known and unknown to the human patient.

Most licensed Acupuncturists State licenses deal only with the treatment of the human it does not include animal applications. However as an acupuncture practitioner it behooves us to know of a qualified veterinary doctor utilizing acupuncture and refer to them as necessary. You will find the DVM using acupuncture will reciprocate the referral. Veterinary Acupuncture has come a long way in America from the vision of the original three DVM’s who started it, Dr. R.S. Glassberg, Dr. Marvin Cain and Dr. H. Grady Young. I am proud to say I knew these individuals and was honored to have studied with them at the first official symposium on “Acupuncture for the Veterinarian” in Kansas City in 1974. They are to be commended for following their vision. As a result the Siberian Tiger which is shown with me being treated with laser beam did not have to be euthanised as originally planned. Incidentally, there are no known acupuncture charts in the history of the world for a Siberian tiger. Just treat the points of the animal as if it were a human with the same protocols.

Best Wishes for a phenomenal 2005 in the Year of the Rooster! I wonder how you find the points on a rooster?

John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.
Carefree, Arizaona


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History of Acupuncture.



Oetztiiceman tattoo

A 5000-year-old mummified man found in the Alps had tattoos on his body which corresponded to traditional acupuncture points.

In 1991, a 5,000-year-old mummified man was found in the mountains along the border between Austria and Italy. Named Otzi after the Otz valley in which it was discovered, the mummy’s body was remarkably well preserved, as were most of his clothing, tools and weapons. Scientists discovered a complicated system of bluish-black tattoos running along Otzi’s back, right knee and left ankle. These tattoos were located directly on or within six millimeters of, traditional acupuncture points and meridians.

X-rays of the ice man’s body revealed evidence of arthritis in the hip joints, knees, ankles and lumbar spine. Nine of the mummy’s 15 tattoos are located on an acupuncture meridian commonly associated with treating back pain. In fact, one of the mummy’s two cross-shaped tattoos is located near the left ankle on an acupuncture point (UB60) which is considered by several texts a “master point for back pain.”

Autopsy also revealed that his intestines were filled with whipworm eggs, which can cause severe abdominal pain. Five other tattoos located on the body corresponded with points located on the gall bladder, spleen and liver meridians — points that are traditionally used to treat stomach disorders.

“Taken together,” the scientists added, “the tattoos could be viewed as a medical report from the stone age, or possibly as a guide to self-treatment marking where to puncture when pains occur.”

“The locations of the tattoos are similar to points used for specific disease states in the traditional Chinese and modern acupuncture treatment,” the scientists concluded. “This raises the possibility of acupuncture having originated in the Eurasian continent at least 2000 years earlier than previously recognized.”

“At the time when Otzi was around, I’m sure that many shamanistic cultures worldwide might have practiced it,” added Dr. Moser. “But only the Chinese formalized it and saved it into modern times.”


bantu rock art

South African rock art depicting a Bantu shaman.

Early forms of acupuncture which probably arose during the Stone Age have survived in many parts of the world right down to present day. There is evidence that acupuncture has been practiced in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Sri Lanka, many parts of Europe and South America, and even by the North American Indians. The Eskimos, for instance are still using sharpened stones for treating illness. The Bantus of South Africa scratch certain areas of their skin to allay the symptoms of many illnesses, while in Brazil there is a tribe whose method of treating illness is to shoot tiny arrows from a blowpipe on to specific areas of the skin. The practice of cauterizing a part of the ear with a hot metal probe has also been reported among certain tribes in Arabia. This is probably a vestige of the acupuncture practiced in ancient Egypt and Saudi Arab. The Ebers papyrus of 1550 B.C. (now in the British Musemum) describes a system of channels and vessels in the body which approximates more closely to the Chinese system of channels than to any known system of blood vessels, lymph vessels or nerves.

In India, an ayurvedic form of early acupuncture also existed. Ayurvedic acupuncture was practised by many in India and was taught as an Ayurvedic subject in the major ancient universities like Nalanda and Takshashila. Excavations have unearthed metal acupuncture needles in the sites of these ancient universities. The famous physician of India, Giba [Jivaka] is said in one of the texts such as the Chikitsa Vidya to have been born with an acupuncture needle in the right hand and a drug container in the left hand in about the 5th century B.C.

The Indians had a homeopathic theory as to how acupuncture works:

“What disorder a nail (or other sharp instrument) may cause by traumatically injuring a marma [acupoint], an acupuncture needle can cure by stimulating the body into healing rather than disease when that marma is gently needled. It is the amount of trauma (dosage) that dictates whether the instrument:

  1. kills
  2. inhibits functions (pain killing, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic) or
  3. stimulates the organism into repair.

This is known as the Arndt-Schutz Law. Consequently, a warrior (kshatriya) and an acupuncturist (suchika) use similar tools, albeit for opposite reasons!”

— Frank Ros, Ayurvedic Acupuncture


ancient needles

The “Nine Needles” described in the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classsic,
as illustrated in the Zhen Jiu Da Cheng (1602)

The earliest written records about acupuncture is found in the Chinese medical treatise called the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). This is said to be the oldest medical book in the world. Its authorship is attributed by Chinese tradition to the legendary Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) who is said to have reigned 2696-2598 B.C. It is more probable however that it is a collective work which has been added upon through many centuries. It may therefore be regarded as a compendium of all the medical knowledge accumulated during a period of over four thousand years. The book owes its present form largely to the commentator Wang Bing of the ninth century A.D. who claimed to have discovered and used its original edition. The Huang Di Nei Jing is the basis of traditional Chinese medicine. Upon it is built the whole edifice of Chinese medical though and practice. It consists of two parts – the Su Wen (Simple Questions) which is a treatise on general medicine, and the Ling Shu (Magic Gate or Spiritual Pivot) which is a special section devoted to acupuncture and moxibustion.


Stone relief from the Han Dynasty depicting the legendary Chinese physician Bian Que as a human-headed bird. Here he is depicted treating a patient with acupuncture.

The earliest recorded case of a cure by acupuncture is found in the “Biographies of Bian Que and Zang Kung” found in the Shi Ji (Historical Records) written about 2000 years ago. According to this book, the physician Bian Que (see illustration above) applied acupuncture to the ailing Prince of Kuo and brought him out a deep coma. Bian Que lived in the 5th century B.C. during the Zhou Dynasty (1122-255 B.C.).

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D) the Imperial Medical college with a special department for acupuncture/moxibustion was established. This was the first organized medical school in China. It came into being 200 years before the first medical school in Europe. The school was staffed by well qualified specialists and there were over 300 medical students. Buddhist influence on Chinese medicine also began to be felt at this time, and the works of the great Indian teachers Charaka and Susruta were translated into Chinese with the help of Buddhist Scholars. Observance of the highest ethical principles in medical practice was also encouraged by the contact with Buddhism. The invention of plate printing about this time was another factor which contributed greatly to the re-edition and re-publication of older medical books and the publication of new ones.

During the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) the physician Weng Wei-yi had two hollow life-size bronzes figures cast with the acupuncture points and channels marked clearly on the surface. Tong Ren or ‘the Man of Bronze’ as they were called, later became models for teaching and examination purposes. The hollow life-size manequins were provided in the examination room. Holes had been punched out at acupuncture points, the statues were covered with wax so as to make the holes invisibles, and then filled with water, Given the clinical picture of a hypothetical patient, the student was then required to perform acupuncture on the waxed model. If he was accurate in locating the selected points on the model, water would gush out from the sites of puncture. If the student got sufficiently wet he passed the examination!

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D) all previous knowledge about acupuncture was once again summarized by Yang Chi-Chou in his Zhen Jiu Da Cheng (Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion). This book which succeeded to some extent in unifying previously divergent views about points and channels, became a very popular text. It was encyclopaedic in size and written in short lines of rhythmic prose. Unwritten traditions as well as classical concepts were fully discussed, and exhaustive section on clinical and therapeutic procedures were included.

The Ching Dynasty (1644-1911 A.D.) was a period when China was thrown open to Western influence. This was the time when the Manchus seized power through all China. Huge encclopaedias which were four times the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannica were published at this time. One of them called the Golden Mirror of Medicine dealt exclusively with medical science and was fully illustrated. Visiting German, Dutch and French scholars including physicians, sinologists and Jesuit missionaries were impressed by the therapeutic value of acupuncture and commenced introducing it to their respective countries during this period. The Western physicians who had not been to the East found these writings very amusing and altogether unacceptable.

After the first Opium War (1839-1842 A.D.) the Western colonial powers established themselves in China, thereby hastening the dissolution of a social order which had prevailed unbroken for several millennia. The rule of the Manchus ended in1911, and Sun Yat Sen became President. After a period of civil wars the Guomindang regime came into power in 1927 with Chiang Kai-Shek as president. The Guomindang paid little attention to the heritage of traditional medicine and branded it as quackery. In 1929 the Government proposed to declare a complete ban on traditional medicine, but this suggestion met with such bitter opposition by the people that they had to withdraw. Nevertheless everything possible was done to discourage traditional forms of medicine, and a rift was created between traditional doctors. (Zhong Yi) and doctors who were trained in Western medicine (Xi Yi).

In 1949 when the Guomindang regime was ended by the victory of the Red Army under Mao Zedong. The developments which followe opened on entirely new chapter in the history of acupuncture. It is amazing that the foundations for this new era of progress were laid by Mao Zedong even before his accession to power. In 1928, he suggested the integration of Western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine in an article written by him entitled. “The struggle in the Ching Kang Mountains”. The appeal was made a time when the liberated area was blocked by the Guomindang, and medical equipment and drugs were in short supply. Malaria was rampant among the troops and the situation seemed hopeless as no anti-malaria drugs were available. Necessity is the mother of invention and someone suggested that the malaria be treated by acupuncture. Incredible as it may sound, it has been estimated that no less than 182,000 cases of malaria were treated successfully by acupuncture and herbal medicines during this compaign, thus “making the past serve the present”. Through this first hand experience, the founders of the new Republic came to appreciate the legacy of their traditional medicine, and no efforts were spared to “explore them, and raise them to a higher level”.

In October, 1944, at a conference held in Yenan in the Shensi-Kansu Ningsia border region, Mao Zedong called upon Western doctors and traditional practitioners to forget their professional jealousies and work together in a common program of disease prevention and health upliftment. This was followed soon after, in April 1945, by the opening of an acupuncture clinic at Yenan Peace Hospital. Classes in acupuncture were started all over the country and every encouragement was given to its practitioners.

In 1949 the People’s Republic of China founded, and acupuncture had once more become an officially accepted form of therapy. The next decisive step was taken in 1955 when the Acdemy of Traditional Chinese Medicine was set up in Beijing with the Research Center for Acupuncture and Moxibustion as a key faculty. Through this organization, and others in big cities like Shanghai, and in communes which dotted the entire countryside, acupuncture was studied from every possible angle and its use was successfully extended into hitherto neglected fields like the treatment of deaf-mutism. Not only fully qualified doctors but para-medical personnel like the so-called “barefoot doctors” pursued this research. In China Today, new methods are constantly being devised and their efficiency tested by practical experiment on the principle that “all genuine knowledge originates in direct experience”. Apart from acupuncture analgesia which has internationally become the most widely discussed medical topic in recent times, doctors in the People’s Republic of China have made other notable advances in acupuncture techniques for purposes of therapy. Electro- acupuncture, auriculotherapy, scalp needling, surgical suture embedding therapies, hot needling and point injection therapies, penetration puncture, swift insertion, strong stimulation, and non-retention of the needle are some of these developments.


The European countries have researched and used acupuncture for hundreds of years.

The first knowledge of acupuncture came to the West at the end of the seventeenth century, via the writings of a Dutchman called Wilhelm Ten Rhyne (or Rhijin), a physician employed by the Dutch East India Company and stationed in Japan. He wrote in Latin; his account had the title “De Acupunctura,” presumably the origin of the Western name for the treatment. In Chinese, acupuncture is known as “zhen jiu” which literally translates as “needles (and) moxibustion (a technique of heating or cauterizing points on the body).” Ten Rhyne was probably also responsible for the misleading expression “meridian” to describe the channels or vessels of acupuncture. Although Western doctors were interested in acupuncture at this time, they made little attempt to understand the theoretical basis in Chinese thought, of which indeed they generally had a poor opinion. The term “acupuncture” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1683.

Ten Rhyne wrote that the purpose of inserting the needles was to allow “evil wind” to escape from the body. According to the Chinese medical classic “Yellow Emperor’s Classic” (see above) this “wind” was at the root of all disease.

Acupuncture became well-practiced in France due to physicians like ReneLaennec, who popularized it. Dr. Laennec was the inventor of the stethoscope. The popularity of acupuncture in France continues to this day.


Acupuncture came to the United States from France in 1825. Dr. Franklin Bache, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was its leading advocate and researcher. Bache M.D. wrote an article, “Case illustrative of remial effects of acupuncture” showing how acupuncture was beneficial in the patient use in treating the penal system of Philadelphia. In 1916, Sir William Osler B.T., M.D., FBS wrote in the Principles and Practice of Medicine recommended treatment for lumbago was acupuncture.


Nixon in China, 1971

In 1971, James Reston, a reporter for the New York Times with Nixon’s Chinese trip, developed appendicitis while in China. The Chinese proposed surgery for his appendectomy using acupuncture anesthesia. His post operative pain after appendectomy treatment was relieved by acupuncture at the Anti-Imperialist Hospital in Beijing. Click here to read James Reston’s 1971 article in the New York Times describing his experiences. Nixon’s personal physician, Dr. Walter Tkach, was so impressed with the treatments he saw there that National Institutes of Health set up the Ad Hoc Committee on Acupuncture. An acupuncture research conference was held the following year.

In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reclassified acupuncture needles from the “investigative” category to “accepted medical instruments”. Being “investigative” allowed insurance companies to deny payment for acupuncture treatment. In 1997, the National Institute of Health issued a Consensus Statement on Acupuncture that recognized that “Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States” and “may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.” NIH also formed a department of Alternative Health care to provide needed research funding in alternative avenues of medical care.

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