Today, most people are aware that acupuncture is an alternative medicine payable by the insurance companies. But many do not know it was illegal to use this procedure without a physician’s license in the early 70’s. It took much effort by many people to have Acupuncture of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) accepted and supported by stand alone laws across different states.
The amazing story of acupuncture in the United States started in 1971, during the time when Henry Kissinger visited China to prepare for President Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972. This exhibition showcases the 1971 story, when the New York Times published an article written by its journalist James Reston, who having surgery to remove his appendix in Beijing underwent acupuncture for post-operative pain. His bemused yet factual writing about his personal experience ignited the Acupuncture Fever. Many major magazines published articles about acupuncture in the 70’s. Many celebrities underwent acupuncture treatments and were publicized. However, it took decades before acupuncture could be established legally in most states and widely used by the public.
This exhibition displays many stories from the last 50 years related to acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Notably, some experienced acupuncturists were arrested in the early 70’s. In the meantime, some key people worked diligently, and almost by fate, they convinced different states to make acupuncture legal. The first state that made acupuncture legal was Nevada. The exhibition also covers acupuncture used for anesthesia during surgery and applied on animals.
Along the way, people knew it was important to have educated and well trained professionals to work in the acupuncture and TCM field. This exhibition examines how schools and professional associations were formed in the past 50 years to support acupuncture. We now have over 50 accredited Chinese Medicine colleges in the United States. This exhibition of an American story with Chinese roots about acupuncture’s history is both educational and fun to experience.
This exhibition is planned to open in summer 2022.