Acupuncture has been used to complement mainstream medical treatments more and more frequently in recent years. This therapy, derived from Chinese traditional medicine (TCM), has proven effective to treat chronic pain, as well as over 40 other illnesses and diseases. The practice of acupuncture and how it works remains shrouded in mystery for most people, however. Below is a brief history of acupuncture therapy that will shed a little light on this ancient healing art.Acupuncture is a medical treatment that has been practiced for centuries in China and other countries in Southeast Asia. The practice involves the insertion of tiny needles into strategic pressure points on the body to treat illnesses and promote overall health and wellness.The first mention of acupuncture as a healing art in written documents in China first appeared in a book written at around 500-300 B.C.E. This book described acupuncture as a central component of TCM. The first acupuncture needles were referred to as “bian.” These needles, developed during the Stone Age, were crafted out of stone and were used to practice a rudimentary form of acupuncture therapy. With the onset of the Iron and Bronze Ages, metal needles, similar to the hair-thin needles in use today, were eventually developed.Acupuncture first spread from China to nearby countries, such as Korea and Japan, in the 6th Century. The practice eventually reached Europe by the 18th century, but was not widely used among European medical practitioners until the 19th century. The practice finally came to the U.S. in the early 1900s with the influx of Chinese immigrants. It wasn’t until the 1970s that acupuncture gained widespread attention after a U.S. press agent who received acupuncture therapy while traveling in China touted the benefits of acupuncture in a New York Times article.Acupuncture enjoyed widespread use in China until 1914, when the government of the People’s Republic of China enacted a series of legal measures designed to limit the practice of TCM, causing acupuncture therapy to nearly die out entirely. Fortunately, acupuncture continued to be used by traditional practitioners in rural areas throughout the country. Many acupuncturists worked tirelessly to protect and continue to develop acupuncture therapy in China. These traditionalists founded several acupuncture associations, published many books and journals on this ancient therapy, and began teaching correspondence courses to willing pupils worldwide.As is evident from acupuncture therapy history, there are many benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. The benefits available through acupuncture therapy, however, are dependent on the training of the acupuncturist. Anyone considering acupuncture therapy should make sure the practitioner they seek treatment from is a licensed acupuncture therapist who is certified in treating medical conditions using this type of therapy.