Acupuncture has been applied as a therapeutic medical technique in China for more than 2500 years although its development goes back further than that. In the 2nd and 3rd century BC, the systematical theory of acupuncture was already well developed as shown in the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). Acupuncture, as an apparently simple and effective clinical procedure, was introduced to China’s neighbouring countries, Korea, Japan and Viet Nam, in the 6th century. In the early 16th century, acupuncture came to Europe.
During the last two decades, acupuncture has spread worldwide. There has been growing interest in the therapeutic applications of acupuncture, and a desire to explain its modes of action in terms of modem scientific knowledge. WHO has been aware of the potential value of acupuncture and its possible contribution to WHO’S goal of health for all. In 1985, the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific adopted a resolution on traditional medicine which recognized that traditional medicine practices, particularly those of herbal medicine and acupuncture, constitute appropriate technologies which could be integrated into the national health strategies, and urged Member States to initiate programmes of research, training and information. Two years later, in 1987, another resolution was adopted by the Regional Committee, reiterating the value of herbal medicine and acupuncture and urging Member States to establish or further develop programmes on traditional medicine, particularly herbal and acupuncture, in the light of their specific needs and circumstances.