Acupuncture and moxibustion are important component procedures in traditional Chinese medicine which prevent and treat disease by puncturing certain points on the body with needles or applying heat with ignited moxa wool. Of marked efficacy and requiring but simple equipment, they have been widely popular in China and elsewhere for thousands of years.
The initiation and development of the art of acupuncture and moxibustion have undergone a long historical process. They are summaries of experience of the Chinese labouring people of many centuries in their struggle against disease. As early as in the Stone Age, people used needles fashioned of stone for curative purposes. These are known as bian1 and are a rudiment of acupuncture. When human society entered the Bronze and then the Iron Age, needles made of these metals were substituted for the stone bian. And with the development of social productive technique, needling instruments were constantly improved, providing conditions for the further refinement of acupuncture. Moxibustion originated after the introduction of fire into man's life. It is assumed that while warming themselves by the fire, people in ancient times accidentally found relief or disappearance of certain pain or illness when definite areas of the skin were subjected to burning. Moxa leaves were later chosen as the material for cauterization as they are easily lit and the heat produced is mild and effective in removing obstruction of channels and collaterals. And so the art of moxibustion was established.