Acupuncture has been used to maintain health and treat disease for thousands of years. People often wonder what acupuncture was used for in ancient China and how similar it was to the practice that is used here and now.
The amazing thing about acupuncture is that it has remained relatively unchanged throughout the centuries. However, there are some small but significant differences. For example, technology has allowed us to develop needles which are extremely fine and sterile for single use, whereas in past times, needles would have been much thicker and used over and over again.
Another major difference is that we now understand how the body works in a very different way. Ancient doctors did not use microscopes or MRIs, so they named diseases based on concepts that they could understand, primarily the principles of nature.
So, although the uses of acupuncture in ancient China were similar to its uses today, the way it was spoken about was very different.
What is Acupuncture Used for in Modern America?
Acupuncture is often thought of as a treatment for pain, and it is true that it can help to relieve a variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to headaches. However, acupuncture can also be used in the treatment of many other issues throughout the body and mind.
Some popular modern uses of acupuncture include:
- Relieving pain
- Supporting fertility
- Boosting immunity
- Improving digestion
- Supporting mental health
Acupuncture also affects the whole body, meaning that people who receive it on a regular basis often report a sense of increased wellbeing and general health. One of the major differences between ancient and modern acupuncture is that it was originally seen as a preventative medicine, but now most people wait for something to go wrong!
What was Acupuncture Used for in Ancient China?
The uses of acupuncture in ancient China were similar to its modern day uses, but the language that doctors used to describe it was very different.
The health of the body was said to depend upon the balance of yin and yang and various ‘vital substances’ such as qi, blood, spirit, and essence. Causes of disease were either internal and due to emotional imbalances, or external and due to climatic factors, such as wind, heat, cold, and dampness. For example, a patient suffering from a respiratory infection by modern standards would have been classed as having a ‘wind-heat invasion,’ and so on.
The ancient principles of acupuncture include:
- Harmonizing yin and yang
- Promoting circulation of qi and blood
- Nourishing spirit and essence
- Balancing the emotions
- Expelling external causes of disease
These principles may sound strange, but they are actually very accurate when it comes to describing various conditions. For example, people suffering from excess heat may be red in the face and feel constantly hot and bothered. People suffering from excess cold, on the other hand, may be pale, chilly, and lacking energy. For this reason, many acupuncturists still use the traditional Chinese terms in their clinics, even today.
So, if you have been wondering what acupuncture was used for in ancient China, then wonder no more. It was very similar to acupuncture’s modern uses, albeit with some very different terminology!