The history of acupuncture is very interesting. Sharpened stones found in China point to the origins of acupuncture. These stones are called bian shi. Metal needles replaced stone needles during the Han dynasty in the second century BCE.
But finding the origins of acupuncture is perhaps not that simple. Interestingly Otzi the iceman a five thousand year old mummy was discovered with group of tattoos around his body.
These tattoos can be matched to a number of acupuncture points. The tattoos are very similar to ones found in Africa and India. Inuit people tattooed specific joints to stop evil spirits from traveling through highways in the body and causing sickness and disease.
The Egyptian ebers papyrus describes a channels and vessels system which resembles the Chinese acupuncture system. The papyurus can be seen in the British museum.
It is a little known fact that an early form of acupuncture was practiced in Ayurvedic medicine, it was taught in ancient universities such as Takshashila and Nalanda in India. Metal acupuncture needles have been excavated at both these sites.
The huangidi compiled between 305 and 205 BC is the first medical text describing acupuncture.
After the Chinese civil war, the leaders of the communist party poured scorn on acupuncture and all Chinese medicine they dismissed it as backward, superstitious nonsense while claiming the way forward was science.
Mao reversed the decision later on and gave his blessing to Chinese medicine. In the 1950's Mao had Chinese medicines theory rewritten in response to claims that Chinese medicine and science lacked unity.