James Reston, who worked for the New York Times had his appendix removed (appendectomy) during a visit to China in 1971. After surgery he experienced some discomfort and was treated for this with acupuncture. He was surprised to find that the acupuncture treatment helped his discomfort tremendously. He subsequently wrote an article that year titled "Now, About My Operation in Peking". Many believe this article triggered intense interest in acupuncture in the U.S..
The practice of acupuncture to treat identifiable patho-physiological (disease) conditions in American medicine was rare until the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972. Since that time, there has been an explosion of interest in the United States and Europe in the application of the technique of acupuncture to Western medicine.
Acupuncture originates from China and has been practiced there for thousands of years. Although there are records of acupuncture being used hundreds of years ago in Europe, it was during the second half of the twentieth century it began to spread rapidly in Western Europe, the United States and Canada.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient's skin at specific points on the body – the needles are inserted to various depths. The medical community is not in conclusive agreement about how acupuncture works scientifically. However, we do know that it does have some therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Energy circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. If this energy circulation is disrupted, the result can be pain or illness. Acupuncture points are stimulated to balance the circulation of energy, which influences the health of the entire being and promotes the body's natural healing ability.
Most conditions can be corrected or improved without any side effects commonly caused by chemical drugs. As a comprehensive system of preventive health care, many people also rely on acupuncture for health maintenance. Throughout its long history, acupuncture has established a solid reputation as a system of health that works.