Dr. Heidi B. Churgin D.O.M., Dipl., Ac., C.M.E., M.E.
Interesting Facts About Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has received more free publicity than any other health care modality in the history of the United States. Acupuncture gained attention in the United States when President Nixon visited China in 1972. Traveling with Nixon was New York Times reporter James Reston, who received acupuncture in China after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Reston was so impressed with the post-operative pain relief he experienced from the procedure that he wrote about acupuncture upon returning to the United States.
The U.S. military was introduced to acupuncture during the Vietnam War, when local physicians were allowed to administer acupuncture to Vietnamese patients at a U.S. Army surgical hospital. Col. Richard Niemtzow, an Air Force physician began a program in 2001 termed "battlefield acupuncture." Air Force, Navy, and Army doctors are taking acupuncture to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan as part of emergency care in combat and in frontline hospitals. More recently, acupuncture is being offered to veterans of combat as a means to cope with chronic pain suffered as a result of traumatic injuries and PTSD.
In ancient times, acupuncture was used as a preventative medicine. Practitioners were only paid if their patients remained well and disease free. In other words, doctors in those days were responsible for keeping their patients healthy rather than waiting until they were diseased to help them.
The earliest acupuncture devices were made of stone, bamboo, slivers, or sharpened bone. These were not used to pierce the skin, but rather to press on acupuncture points. The oldest acupuncture needles found date to A.D. 600. These needles were made of bronze, copper, tin, gold, and silver. Today's acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel and are pre-packaged, sterilized, and disposable.
The word acupuncture comes from the Latin acus, "needle" and pungere, "to prick."