History and Evolution of Acupunture

Acupuncture has been practised in India for thousands of years as a part of Ayurveda.It is common to see Indian villagers with earrings placed at specific points in the ear, to treat diseases elsewhere in the body.Many villagers also have scars on the abdomen, as a result of cauterization carried out to treat pain in the abdomen. This is similiar to moxibuxtion or heat treatment, which is used in Chinese medicine.

Asstated in this verse from Shusrut Samhita

Which means that to cure a disease , inducingthe method of puncturing, pressuring and heating the body is enough more thanany other systems of medicine.

The other systems are part of of the Ayurvedicsection of Atharva veda and Suchi Veda (Acupuncture ) was part of Atharva Vedawhich also had many other sections like Dhanur Veda etc.

Atharva-Veda (Knowledge of Atharvan; a priest’sspells of the mystic fire ceremony)

Comprised of the following medical sections

a) Ayur-Veda (science of self/life): Eight Branches (Ashtanga= Ashta/Anga)
  1. Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa):prevention, etiology, prognosis, management of disease
  2. Surgery (Shalya Tantra)
  3. Ear, Nose, Throat, and Eye (Shalakya Tantra):
  4. Pediatrics (Kaumarbhritya):preconception, prenatal, postnatal
  5. Toxicology (Agada Tantra):purification through external medicine
  6. Psychiatry (Bhuta Vidya)
  7. Rejuvenation (Rasayana):prevention and promotion of health
  8. Aphrodesiacs (Vajikarana): enhancement ofsexual vitality
b) Suchi-Veda (science ofpiercing with a needle) [Skt: to point, or indicate

(suc): Ayurveda has used bone and bronzeneedles, which eventually

became gold and silver (eg.types of needles: ara, kuthari,atimukha, badisha)

There has been a rich exchange of ideas, philosophy and literature between India and China overthousands of years. Travellers and scholars from India went to China to teach and pilgrims from China came to visit Buddhist shrines and universities inIndia. This allowed Acupuncture which actually originated in India to spread to China.

In India, Ayurveda was a highly developed and effective system of medicine and Acupuncture was only used for those diseases that did not respond to Ayurveda treatment. As there were thousands of herbs that were effective for different diseases, Acupuncture was not as widely practised in India as it was in some parts of China. As explained earlier, in northwest China, very few herbs were available,so here traditional practitioners developed Acupuncture in to a highly advanced science.

With the onset of British rule and their promotion of the Western system of medicine, the art ofAcupuncture was largely lost. It was practised only by a few village doctors with a very basic knowledge of certain "effective points" which were passed down from father to son. It is only recently that there has been a resurgence of interest in Acupuncture in India, fuelled by the intense worldwide awareness of its efficacy in curing a multitude of ailments.

Contact : Dr Nilima Thakkar : 982 0676 600