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May 15, 1972

Acupuncture and US Medicine

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital Philadelphia

JAMA. 1972;220(7):1010. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200070098017

Recent reports from the Peoples Republic of China on the value of acupuncture, as well as the lack of information on its scientific foundation, have given the public and the medical profession the impression that acupuncture is rather empirical and that one may, not unjustly, treat it with skepticism. Accordingly, I have reviewed the abundant original descriptions of acupuncture written in foreign languages and undertaken a trip to Japan, where many patients who have received acupuncture treatment have experienced relief from the pain of some illnesses.

To understand acupuncture one begins by learning about meridian points, certain points on the body surface that correspond specifically to the particular diseased organ. These points have been discovered by actual experience of more than 3,000 years with the use of acupuncture needles. The needles used in acupuncture come in varying sizes, some as thin as 0.14 mm in diameter. The procedure is considered