It all started in China, with the use of needles made of stone, as they are still preserved in history museums. What era are we talking about? The creation of the nine spiers, the first to be described, are attributed to FUXI, the white emperor, a mythical Chinese emperor, around the year 2850 BC. That is, when human civilization was just beginning, this emperor, legend has it, he was the one who created the I-CHING, the book of changes that was the basis of later Taoism. The famous YING-YANG, Tai Chi, come from this period.

Then Emperor Sheng Nung emerges, called the divine farmer, because mythology says that he invented agriculture. But the most important thing in its history is that it is credited with the first treatise on medicinal plants.

From the point of view of the history of acupuncture, the most important book is the Neijing or  Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which has two parts, the Suwen and the Lingshu. Both are the pillars of acupuncture. In the book, the emperor asks questions of his doctor, KIPO, and through them, he introduces the answers to questions about health that we have not yet adequately solved in the 21st century.

yellow emperor's classic of internal medicine

In the canon of the yellow emperor, there is already talk of the need to regulate salt, to keep the heart healthy: An excess in the ingestion of salty foods damages the bones and muscles and produces a stagnation of the heart’s energy.

Excess sugar, our diabetes, has the kidney as its main target. Well, in the Canon of the Yellow Emperor it is stated: An excess of sweet taste produces apprehension in the chest (a well-known symptom of anxiety!), In addition, it depletes the energy of the kidney (we now call it diabetic nephropathy). Until very recently, diet has begun to be placed in its true place as a health regulator.

Now medicine talks about the relationship of human beings with their biorhythms and with the need to protect the biosphere, but the yellow emperor went further. 5000 years ago he described how the organs are related to each other, with the seasons, with colors, flavors, for example when talking about the liver: the liver represents wood, it is the spring season, its color is yellow (the yellow eye color is a classic symptom of hepatitis), its emotion is anger (we turn green with rage, like bile…) and its sound is the scream (we scream in anger).

Can we understand the human being so connected with his organs and emotions? Unfortunately, our science goes the opposite way, and every time, medicine specializes more, and the vision of the human being is very small: the ophthalmologist is only interested in their eyes, the gynecologist in their reproductive organs, only in women, etc. …

How was Acupuncture taught in ancient China?

If you have seen the diagrams of the points and their location, you should know that already in the Tang dynasty (581-907), acupuncture began to be a specialty that was taught in the imperial medical academy.

The Acupuncture department was headed by a professor, an assistant professor, ten instructors, twenty technicians, and twenty students. The first European university dates from the 9th century, in Italy.

How did they know that the student knew the points perfectly?

They invented the first bronze human model for medical practices (Song dynasty, by physician Wang Weiyi). They were hollow models, which had 657 holes, corresponding to acupuncture points. These dolls were covered with wax and filled with water.

On the day of the exam, if the student punctured the point correctly, water would gush out, a sign of correct knowledge. Until very recently, plastic models have been introduced for resuscitation and surgery practices, among other models for medical students.