Acupuncture originated in India. In Ayurveda “Acupuncture” might be known to be as “Shiravedh”.
Sanskrit Meaning Of Shiravedh
“Shiravedh” as the name suggests is an art of healing by pricking. Sanskrit word “Shira” means Blood vessels and “Vedh” means to prick. This means pricking blood vessels under the skin at particular points.
To do research on Shiravedh and to compare it with acupuncture, I went through different ancient Ayurvedic books written in Sanskrit and with Marathi Translation, I observed that Shiravedh was used to treat different ailments and points at which shiravedh was done, at the same place at which we do acupuncture for same disorders.
Sanskrit Ayurvedic text about Shiravedh and Acupuncture
A few Sanskrit wordings from the Ayurveda stated below will prove the existence of Acupuncture in Ayurveda the origin of Science.
“तत्र पददहपदहर्शवचहुक्पददरि प्रभृतिषु क्षिप्रमर्मन उपरिष्टात् द्वेङ्गुल्व्रिहिमुखेन् शिरावेध्येत”
Tatra padadahapadaharshavachahukpadadari prabhrutishu xipramarmana Uparishtat Dvengulvrihimukhen Shira vedhyet
This in short means pain in the leg, and shoulder, and such pain disorders can be treated by pricking at a point two fingers breadth from the margin of the web between the thumb and 1st finger that point is “Hegu” （合谷穴） which we use as an analgesic point in acupuncture.
“नाभेरधस्चतुरन्गुले शिवन्य वामपार्श्वे दकोदरे”
Nabheradhaschaturangule Shivanya vamparshve Dakodare
This means if there is loose motion prick a point four fingers breadth below the umbilicus that point is “Guanyuan”（关元穴） which we also use as an acupuncture point for Diarrohea.
If there is an attack of epilepsy pricks the blood vessel near the midpoint of the philtrum that point is “Renzhong” (人中穴） which we also use in acupuncture for acute emergencies like epilepsy, convulsions, etc.
Jicharogeshwadhojivhanya Dantavyadhishu ch
For any problem of tongue and teeth prick the blood vessels on the underside of the tongue that is extraordinary points “Jinjin”（金津穴） and “Yuye”（玉液穴） which are on left and right side of the frenulum of the tongue which we use for swelling and stiffness of tongue.
“कर्णयोरुपरि समन्तत्कर्णशुले तद्रोगेच्”
Karnayorupari Samantatkarnashule Tadroge ch
If there is pain in the ear or any ear problems prick the blood vessel nearby the apex of the auricle that point is “Shuaigu” (率谷穴） or Auditory area (A6) of the scalp acupuncture.
“गन्धग्रहने नासरोगेषुच् नासाग्रे”
Gandhagrahane Nasarogeshu ch Nasagre
If there is any disorder of the nose or if there is a loss of sense of smell, prick the blood vessel on the tip of the nose that point is “Suliao” （素髎穴） in Acupuncture treatment used for nasal disorders.
This extract from the Ayurvedic book proves that in ancient times also there was an acupuncture treatment known to be as “Shiravedh”.
Shiravedh in Ayurveda and its connection to Hindu Traditions
As I was researching the origin of Acupuncture I found that Shiravedh which is Acupuncture in Ayurveda is the reason behind the old Hindu traditions.
For example, we prick ear for earrings of both baby boy and girl in childhood from the ancient time as this point was good for eyesight.
Raja Maharajas were putting Bali in the ears, it was to increase sex desire. We know that only ladies use “KumKum” (not ready-made “Tikli”), nose rings, and not the gents, this was because these points are good for common cold and sinusitis and ladies will have more of these problems as they are linked with water in the kitchen, to avoid such problems these points were used, where our Ex1 and Yingxiang points are situated.
When I met the patients from Rajasthan they brought to my notice that if there is redness in the eye they tie a thread to the lobe of the opposite ear by folding it vertically in two halves as a traditional method of treatment, the reason behind it is that “eye point” of the “Ear acupuncture” get pressed after folding it and clears eye problem.
There is also a traditional method in Gujarat that they tie an eight (8) shape knot between 2nd and 3rd toes to postpone the date of monthly period, the reason behind this I found is that perineum point of “Foot Acupuncture” get pressed.
I always go into a deep study of old traditional methods of treatment and our activities in day-to-day life and found so many similarities between old traditional therapies.
Acupuncture: If points are needled it becomes acupuncture. In Himalayas, people prick thorns and pointed bamboos to treat some disorders. Moxibustion: We use moxa sticks to heat the points. In villages for jaundice, they burn the skin with hot coins. Cupping method: We use special cups and use suction pressure on the points, from the olden days, also we see in some villages they remove “Ventoj” on stomach and back with the help of glass to remove pain.
Acupressure: We use thumb or nail pressure in acute emergencies. In routine life also if somebody is fainted people press big toes or some other points.
This shows that this science is routinely used in daily life as a traditional treatment. After all this, I may conclude that “Shiravedh” is the root of Acupuncture and originated in India, like Buddhism it is passed over to China where it has been practiced widely and systematically for hundreds of years. By Dr. M. B. Prabhu (Research Paper presented in World Conference).