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Acupuncture and history: The “ancient” therapy that’s been around for several decades

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David Ramey
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Oct 18


It seems that just about every article about acupuncture makes some reference to it having been used in China for thousands of years. The obvious reason for such a statement is to make the implication that since it’s been around for so long, it must therefore also be effective. Of course, longevity doesn’t argue for efficacy, otherwise everyone would likely agree that astrology is the way to chart one’s life; astrology has been practiced for many more years than acupuncture. What’s maddening about the acupuncture longevity myth is that it isn’t true, and demonstrably so.

PainSci notes

Saying that acupuncture is “not actually ancient” always upsets some folks. Sure, there are ancient antecedents for acupuncture — for practically anything — but acupuncture as we know it is largely a 20th Century invention.

Related Content

  1. “The Acupuncture and Fasciae Fallacy,” Ben Kavoussi,
  2. “A true history of acupuncture,” Ramey et al, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 2004.

These four articles on cite this item as a source:

  1. Reviews of Pain Professions
  2. Does Acupuncture Work for Pain?
  3. ‘Reductionism’ Is Not an Insult
  4. Does Fascia Matter?