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Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 11, 2013   Issue 1,  Pages: 45-53

DOI: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013008
Global Views
Acupuncture in ancient China: How important was it really?
Hanjo Lehmann (Deutsches Institut für TCM, Cranachstr. 1, D-12157 Berlin, Germany E-mail: Lehmann@tcm.de)

ABSTRACT: Although acupuncture theory is a fundamental part of the Huangdi Neijing, the clinical application of the needle therapy in ancient China was always a limited one. From early times there have been warnings that acupuncture might do harm. In books like Zhang Zhongjing’s Shanghanlun it plays only a marginal role. Among the 400 emperors in Chinese history, acupuncture was hardly ever applied. After Xu Dachun called acupuncture a “lost tradition” in 1757, the abolition of acupuncture and moxibustion from the Imperial Medical Academy in 1822 was a radical, but consequent act. When traditional Chinese medicine was revived after 1954, the “New Acupuncture” was completely different from what it had been in ancient China. The conclusion, however, is a positive one: The best time acupuncture ever had was not the Song dynasty or Yuan dynasty, but is now – and the future of acupuncture does not lie in old scripts, but in ourselves.

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Please cite this article as:
Lehmann H. Acupuncture in ancient China: How important was it really?. J Integr Med. 2013; 11(1): 45-53.
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