Acupuncture and the History of Chinese Medicine

Nowadays, traditional and alternative medicines are popular and practiced by the people especially in treating cancers and other diseases. Most people also opt to engage in this practice for preventive measures. The uses of herbal medicines as well as acupuncture are the most frequent examples of alternative medicine.

But if we look back on our history, these treatments and medicines have been practiced and validated by the ancient people particularly the Chinese.

Acupuncture and the History of Chinese Medicine


Based on archeological finds of the late Shang Dynasty in 1000 B.C., include both acupuncture needles and divination bones on which were inscribed discussions of medical problems.

In 206 B.C.-220 A.D., by the Han Dynasty the basics of Chinese medical theory and practice were already established. The most known among them were the concepts of yin and yang, the five phases, channel theory, various needling methods, a pharmacopoeia, among others.

It is known that the concept of yin and yang is the basic origin of all concepts within Chinese medicine. Yin and yang is the logo of the fundamental duality in the universe, a duality which is ultimately unified.

The Chinese people see that every symptom, every function, and every aspect of our world has a dual nature. For examples, there is day and night, up and down, low and high, male and female, back and front, among others. It simply says that without one, the other cannot exist. As what they say, this is always “two sides of the same coin”.

Yin and Yang

The nature for yin is known as “shady side of the hill.” The nature for yang is as “sunny side of the hill”. Therefore, it is said that there are two different aspects of the same hill. The Chinese people create certain qualities to yin and yang respectively and expected them to all levels of the cosmos through a system of correspondences. Some would include: yin and yang, male and female, sun and moon, directions like inward and outward, up and down, among others.

The purpose of yin and yang is harmony. The one is not the opposite nor a good and bad in comparison. Both are complimentary and not contradictory of each other.

For history has it, this is the basis of Chinese medical theory. Grasping the meaning and purpose between the yin and yang qualities of a person’s nature and character of one’s illness is the major leap in making a diagnosis and treatment.

One’s health and wellness are maintained as long as yin and yang are relatively balanced. If there is too far imbalanced, illness develops. This is when acupuncture comes in because the role of the acupuncturist is to restore the balance and, thus, bring back one’s health.

Aside from medical, the Chinese also traditionally perceive in their social and natural relationships the significance of harmony above all. Thus, the illnesses and diseases are viewed as disorder or imbalance in the body and the treatment is directed toward harmonization. This could mean harmonizing the relationship between organs, acupuncture meridians or regions of the body.

One common example of this is the disharmony between the liver and spleen, which is often carried out by a stressed, tired person. Whatever the illnesses involved, the therapy is always to restore harmony, homeostasis and balance to the body system.

The history of Chinese Medicine and the concepts of yin and yang are the foundations of today’s treatment of acupuncture.