Sunday, 12 August 2007
Opinions from podiatrists practising accupuncture?
Oetzi The Tyrolean Iceman - European Acupuncture 2000 Years before China?
The Tyrolean Iceman (1), by far the oldest European mummified human body (5200 years old), shows 15 well-preserved tattoo groups on his back and legs, none of which appears to have ornamental importance. The tattoos have a simple linear geometric shape and are located on parts of the body that are not expected to be displayed (2). Moreover, several tattoos that would have entailed superficial skin puncture seem to be located on Chinese acupuncture points.
puncture seem to be located on Chinese acupuncture points.
The tattoos were therefore investigated morphometrically, and photographs were subsequently overlayed by topographic representations of acupuncture points (3). According to the expert opinion of three accredited acupuncturists (4), nine of the 15 tattoos could be identified as being located on or within 5 millimeters of acupuncture points. Five tattoo groups on the back of the Iceman were located in close proximity, or directly over, acupuncture points of the urinary bladder (UB) channel. A close match between the acupuncture point UB 60 and one of the two tattoo crosses near the left, lateral ankle was observed.
The theory of acupuncture predicts that perforation or irritation of the skin at specific locations, the acupuncture points, results in modified function of related, not necessarily adjacent, organs, allowing relief of pain or inflammation.
It is known from computer tomography (5) that the iceman suffered from arthrosis of the lumbar spine. Acupuncture points used for treatment of this condition (3) coincide with tattoos found along the UB channel.
These findings raise the possibility that the practice of therapeutically intended acupuncture originated long before the medical tradition of ancient China (approximately 1000 B.C.) and that its geographical origins were Eurasian rather than East-Asian, consistent with far-reaching intercultural contacts of prehistoric mankind.
H. Seidler et al., Science, 258, 455 (1992); K. Spindler, The Man in the Ice (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1994).
T. Sjøvold et al., in Der Mann im Eis, K. Spindler et al., Eds. (Springer, Vienna-New York, 1995), vol. 2, pp. 279-286.
3. Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing colleges of traditional Chinese medicine, Essentials of Chinese Acupuncture (Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1980).
F. Bahr, L. Dorfer, and S. Suwanda, presi
presidents of the German, Austrian, and Swiss academies of acupuncture, respectively.
D. zur Nedden and K. Wicke, in Der Mann im Eis, F. Höpfel, W. Platzer, K. Spindler, Eds. (Univ. of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria, 1992), vol. 1, pp. 131-148.
Source: The Journal of Chinese Medicine