Corona turns back clock as ancient treatments like Acupuncture get new life


  • People seeking acupuncture treatments as its fight towards coronavirus
  • Rise in demand for ancient herbs and treatment facilities
  • Origin of Acupuncture
  • Spread of Acupuncture around the globe
  • Procedure of Treatment
  • Uses/ risks related to Acupuncture
  • Conclusion



Covid 19, what commonly known as coronavirus is making people think over current medical practices and taking them back towards adopting ancient methods of treatments. One such treatment is Acupuncture. As kids, most of us were always inquisitive about people talking and practicing Acupuncture. How can one be treated by just pricking needles was always the reason of curiosity. Acupuncture has been treating numerous people since ages, ironically not many people are fully aware of this wonderful science.



Rise in demand for ancient herbs and treatment facilities

After recent outbreak of coronavirus, there has been increase in the demand of ancient herbs, especially from China. Last year itself World Health Organisation (WHO) brought in the point of bringing age old treatments like Acupuncture in mainstream. Those ancient herbs have proved effective against flu and boosting immune systems without any side effects. According to reports, Chinese medicine business in San Francisco stated that there indeed has been rise in the demand and ordering quantities. As per WHO bulletin Chinese medicines created almost $60 billion annually.

People associated with acupuncture and numerous acupuncturists have claimed that they can assist in on going fight against coronavirus as the acupuncture can effectively fortify the lungs and the kidneys, by balancing certain organic systems. These claims do have some weight-age as conventional medicines proved effective in previous pandemics.

Although major part of researchers and scientists disqualify all the claims.



Origin of Acupuncture

World’s most populated country China, gave birth to science of needles called Acupuncture. Needles, what commonly used today for acupunctures were not part of initial phase of treatment, instead sharpened stones and bones were used. In the tomb of Ma-Wang-Dui, certain documents were found in year 198 BCE that hint towards system used by meridians. Use of something similar to acupuncture was the theory that was drawn after noticing tattoo on ‘Ice Man’ whose body was discovered in 3300 BCE.

‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine’ was the first document from year 100 BCE, brought forward the existence and use of acupuncture. Conversations between emperor and his ministers deliver the information regarding an organised manner of treatments with help of needles.

After going through lots of literature related to Taoist philosophy and decoding several other medical texts, Acupuncture was developed and soon became a standard practice of treatment. Later in 15th century, bronze statues were found which depicted acupuncture points and were included in teaching material. Ancient literature called as ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion’ was published in the era of Mind dynasty, which reigned between 13th and 16th century. As per this book almost 365 points can be used to control and modify the flow of Qi energy.

Era of 17th and 18th centuries saw a decline in use of acupuncture as it was excluded from Imperial Medical Institute as per decree of Emperor. It suffered till 1949, when Communist government brought back ancient forms of treatment. Even though it wasn’t used till 1949, population from rural China majorly used acupuncture.


How Acupuncture got out of China

Way back in sixth century, countries like Japan and Korea adapted acupuncture along with other Chinese herbs in their medical practice. While acupuncture reached the country of Vietnam in eighth century as result of open commercial routes. Acupuncture arrived in west quite before, when France took acupuncture under its wings and integrated it in their medical system. Later a diplomat by the name of Souliet Du Morant, spent several years in China and published many treatises related to acupuncture.

Acupuncture arrived in Europe via Ten Rhijne, a European physician who witnessed acupuncture in Japan as he was working for East India Company. Later science literature was flooded with numerous publications related to acupuncture as a result of growing interest of British and Americans. It slowly took over the world and today is part of treatments for various ailments.


Method of treatment/ Procedure

Traditional Chinese medical theory states that acupuncture points are basically located on meridians, the points through which vital energy works. This vital energy is known as “qi” or “chi.” After clinical examination, the needles are inserted in certain points and will asked to compliment this treatment with other ancient herbs. Patient is asked to lie down on their back, front, or one side, as it totally depends on place of needles insertion. Treatment brings a tingling or stinging sensation to the patient as result of inserted needles.

After the needle is inserted, one may experience dull ache every now and then at the base of needles, which subsides immediately. Acupuncture is always a painless form if treatment. As part of treatment, after insertion, needles are stimulated or heated with electricity in some cases, in order to get optimum results. The needles are kept in place for between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on duration of treatment. The amount of sittings of treatments needed are totally dependent on the individual. A patient with a chronic condition sometimes requires one to two treatments a week lasting for several months, while on other hand acute problem gets treated in and after 8 to 12 sessions.


Uses and Benefits

A German research states that acupuncture may help in relieving tension headaches and migraines. The note given by NCCIH also advocates that it has been proven in cases of lower back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, headache and migraine. Along with all of these, there is also a list of additional disorders that may benefit from acupuncture, although require extra scientific research and confirmation.

In parallel the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed that in number of conditions in which acupuncture can be effective comprises of high and low blood pressure, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting along with some gastric conditions, and also include peptic painful periods, dysentery allergic rhinitis, facial pain, morning sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, tennis elbow, dental pain along with reducing the risk of heart attack.

As per World health Organisation, the diseases that require more scientific evidence as confirmation but may be treated with acupuncture are fibromyalgia, neuralgia, post-operative convalescence substance, tobacco and alcohol dependence, spine pain, stiff neck, vascular dementia and whooping cough, or pertussis. While WHO also suggest that it may turn instrumental in treating numerous infections, which include few urinary tract infections and epidemic hemorrhagic fever.


Risk related with Acupuncture


There are certain risks related to acupuncture as every therapy has its own share of benefits and ill effects. The potential risk are inclusive of getting in the state that is dangerous if a patient has a bleeding disorder or is consuming blood thinners. One may also experience bleeding, bruising, and soreness at insertion sites during or after insertion. In case of unsterilized needles they may infect the patient. Quite rarely it has been found that, a needle might break and do damage to an internal organ. It also involves risk of lung collapse, when inserted in chest although chances of happening this are extremely rare.




Regulations for Acupuncture

The authorities of regulation of acupuncture practice have ensured that healthcare firstly should have appropriate knowledge in order to conduct procedures and provide therapies, as this is the key reason behind safe guarding patients from potential ill effects of it. Similarly there are courses to get into practice of medicine in the United States, the practice of acupuncture is also determined by each state. In various states, the medical board is the authority which governs licensed physicians that provide acupuncture, while other states have formed acupuncture boards that will provide physicians with all the requirements. In the year 1994, there were only 12 states, which developed requirements for physicians practicing acupuncture as today most of states have succeeded in doing so.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mandatory 200 hours of formal training for physicians who are willing to get associated with acupuncture and want to integrate it into their medical practices. It also suggests that there should be further advanced personalized training for physicians who are desiring for more expertise in the field of acupuncture. Physicians and dentists may also gain experience in specific fields, such as acupuncture for pain or dental analgesia, for further preparation in their particular medical specialties.

The United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have regulated that acupuncture needles will be treated similarly as medical devices. When it comes to their manufacturing and labeling they needs to meet certain standards. This needles also must be sterile, nontoxic, and have to be labelled specifically for one use only, that too by a licensed practitioner.


Reason behind rise of Acupuncture in recent years

In recent years the researchers have found with the help of study that over 14 million U.S. citizens have tried acupuncture for at least once in their life time. In initial part of study the number of acupuncture users was 8 million, which later on increased to 14 million thus stating that indeed there has been significant rise.

It is further proved by the data from this survey as it shows an upward trend in use of acupuncture from almost 4 percent to 6 percent of Americans over the period of five years, and also states that it may become part of primary treatments in U.S.

The investigation team included few health experts from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, and also from University of Maryland School of Dentistry and University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.


Reviews by Acupuncture users

Numerous people around the globe have benefited from these treatment and main reason behind it has been negligible amount of side effects. As per survey conducted by National Health Insurance Survey (NHIS) state that most of the people used acupuncture as a complementary and alternative approach to conventional treatment for a specific health condition, but also used it as a preventative measures in order to promote general health. These investigators also predicted a continuation of the upward trend.

Many people came forward and stated that they started using acupuncture because this treatment method proved effective and has low-risk factors while dealing with controlling various chronic conditions. Another reason for people using it at maximum is due to increase in insurance cover related to acupuncture related treatments.



These ancient form of treatment deserves to be part of main stream treatments, irrespective of its capability or incapability of fighting against coronavirus. Acupuncture belongs to heritage literature and should be cherished and utilized in today’s time by culminating them with modern treatments and technologies.  By keeping the soul of this treatment intact and by changing the external structure, it will indeed prove beneficial for the mankind. It has also seen that although the origin of acupuncture is China, but traces of its use are found in ancient Indus civilisation. Positive traits of acupuncture should be upheld while eliminating the negative ones. Finally we can conclude this by stating “Acupuncture is not just a science of needless, but quite more than that”.