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Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

Acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago and has been used in Japan for 1,500 years.5 It was first described in Chinese literature in approximately 100 B.C. in The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emporer.6 Over time and with trade, the use of acupuncture spread throughout Asia, into Europe and beyond. By the 1600s acupuncture was discussed in European medical literature.7

Different countries and regions evolved different approaches to the use of acupuncture. For example, the Chinese evolved the use of electro-acupuncture, whereas the Japanese are known for a gentle approach that relies on hair-thin needles.8 The many forms are prized by the populations that rely upon them, and have been refined over the generations by the master practitioners teaching in a given region.9

Europeans have developed their own theories and styles and have worked to explain acupuncture in Western scientific terms - despite differing philosophical underpinnings.10 According to the National Institutes of Health, "competing theoretical orientations (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, French) currently exist that might predict divergent therapeutic approaches (i.e., the use of different acupuncture points). Research projects should be designed to assess the relative merit of these divergent approaches and to compare these systems."11 As of 2003, NIH was spending over $200 million annually in assessing alternative medicine treatments.12



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