Acupuncture originated in China, probably between 2000 and 3000 years ago. The texts for acupuncture and Oriental Medicine that currently exist only go back 900 to 1200 years, but they refer to texts that were old when they were written. We do know that there have been acupuncture devices found in tombs in China that are likely 3000 or more years old.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine continue to be a major health-care modality in China, and most hospitals in China offer these in conjunction with, and as an alternative to, Western medicine.
Acupuncture and related medical modalities also spread from China to other cultures and nations, including Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Tibet, and other Asian societies. It first came to the US with Chinese immigrants brought to this country in the 19th century to provide abundant cheap labor for the construction of the transcontinental railroad and other important products. Of course, they brought their medicine with them, along with other aspects of their culture.
Up until recent history here in the US, acupuncture was almost exclusively available in areas populated by ethnic Chinese in a few large cities around the nation. It took the experience of an American journalist, James Reston, who had a positive experience with acupuncture in China, to begin in earnest the opening of this country to this age-old practice.
As China began to open to the West during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine became important cultural exports to a nation growing increasingly open to healing modalities to complement our Allopathic and Homeopathic traditions.
While the Chinese style, called Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, became the first mode of treatment to make inroads in this country, the influences of the Japanese style, the Vietnamese style (by way of France and Canada), and the Traditional Acupuncture style introduced by J.R. Worseley, have gained increasing numbers of adherents, as well.
With a wealth of styles to choose from, virtually every American complementary health-care consumer can find a style of treatment to suit their individual needs.
Here at the Woodstock Acupuncture Center, the stylistic preference is toward the Japanese method of practice, the most gentle way we have found so far. Our training includes the TCM style, Toyo Hari and Shoni Shin (Japanese styles admirably suited to children and highly sensitive individuals), Japanese five-element tradition, and trigger-point and tender point styles for effective treatment of musculo-skeletal disorders. For more stylistic elaboration, please take a look at the list of acupuncture treatments available at Woodstock Acupuncture Center.