History of acupuncture research

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2013;111:1-23. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-411545-3.00001-8.

Abstract

The acupuncture has been practiced in China for more than 3000 years and was spread to Europe and American from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The history of acupuncture research was initiated in the eighteenth century and developed rapidly since then. In the past, physicians tried hard to apply acupuncture into clinical practice, while scientists were focused on the possible characteristics of acupoints and meridians. In the modern time, scientists have strived hard to evaluate the real effectiveness of acupuncture and the underlying physiological and biological mechanisms of acupuncture. Reviewing research history from past to present, we are delighted to witness this wonderful development. Accumulated evidences that acupuncture is beneficial in various conditions significantly enhanced our understanding the mechanisms of acupuncture treatment. However, there is still no conclusive evidence in acupuncture clinical studies. The clinical research still needs great improving, while the basic research results need to be appropriately transformed into clinical outcomes. Based on current achievements, we believe that although the challenges and difficulties exist, a more collaborative, innovative, and integrated approach will help us to achieve further progress in future acupuncture research.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Biomarkers; Clinical trials; Standardization.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / history*
  • Acupuncture Therapy / history*
  • Biomedical Research / history*
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans