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Acupuncture has been in practice for thousands of years and originated in China. Around a century ago, it was formalised as a part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine by then-reigning Emperor Huang Ti. Nowadays, acupuncture is a readily available and common form of complementary medicine found in many modern healthcare practices. So, how did acupuncture go from ancient Chinese medicine to popular modern practice?

In this article, we cover the fascinating journey of acupuncture through the ages and uncover the secret to its popularity in modern healthcare.

Acupuncture therapy as ancient Chinese medicine ~

For more than 2,500¹ years, acupuncture has been an integral part of Chinese medicine. It is based on the theory that the harmonious flow of qi is vital to good health. In Chinese culture, qi (also known as ki or chi) is believed to be a vital force or energy that forms a part of any living thing. Traditional Chinese medicine understands that a disturbance or imbalance of qi can be addressed through acupuncture – which manipulates opposing elements of yin and yang - thus restoring good health and vitality. 

Although modern medicine struggles with the concept of qi, the benefits of acupuncture therapy for health are widely understood today. As a general practitioner and acupuncture therapist, Matt Bulkeley, explains², “The difference between western and eastern acupuncture is clearly marked. The western model uses anatomy, physiology and current medical models, while eastern is philosophy based – much more about yin, yang and Qi.”

Acupuncture as modern medicine ~ 

Acupuncture was introduced to Australia in the 1800s, as a form of complementary medicine³. Today, more than one in 10 Australians has received acupuncture therapy, and some 80% of medical practitioners offer referrals to acupuncture services. It is clear that acupuncture has become a widely accepted form of therapy in Australia, and around the world, and its popularity is ever-growing. Of course, the majority of Australians are unfamiliar with the theories of ancient Chinese medicine and the concept of qi. So, just what is behind the increasing popularity of modern acupuncture amongst both patients and doctors? We can thank the large community of researchers that have studied acupuncture for that. The evidence shows that acupuncture is beneficial in a variety of areas, including:

Although research is ongoing into the exact physiological mechanisms behind the efficacy of acupuncture, it is thought that by affecting ‘afferent nerve signalling’, acupuncture therapy may encourage the release of opioids from within the body, to promote pain relief. According to research, “This effect may be augmented by release of ACTH and cortisol, as well as through down-regulation of signalling through pain fibres.”¹

That’s all a very scientific way of saying: Acupuncture can influence the behaviour of nerve signals to the brain, to increase pain-killing hormones and reduce stress and pain responses in the body. In order to understand these reactions within the body and treat patients appropriately and safely, acupuncture therapists in Australia are required to complete a bachelors degree in a related field, such as a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) or a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine). So, whether or not your acupuncturist is a proponent of eastern medicine and philosophy or is more familiar with a traditional western approach to medicine, you can rest assured that if receiving acupuncture in Australia, your therapist is qualified.


Acupuncture therapy and Chinese medicine at Vyne Health, Gold Coast

Gold Coast’s Vyne Health two acupuncture and Chinese Medicine practitioners Rachel Volp and Rebecca Welch are both passionate about connecting people to their physical bodies and enabling the body’s innate ability to heal itself to obtain optimal results. To learn more about your local Gold Coast practitioners, visit the links below:


Rebecca Welch’s ‘about page’ or;

Rachel Volp’s ‘about page’


For more information or to book an appointment, contact: 


Vyne Health, Gold Coast or;


Book Online with Rebecca or Rachel here.


Written by Rebecca Welch, Gold Coast Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner


  1. 1.Vanderploeg, V. & Yi, X., Acupuncture in modern society. PubMed® 2009. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20633471/
  2. 2.Article, Western acupuncture vs traditional acupuncture, from yourGP 2015. Available at: https://your-gp.com/western-acupuncture-vs-traditional-acupuncture/
  3. 3.Zheng, Z., Acupuncture in Australia: regulation, education, practice, and research. National Library of Medicine 2014. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28664085/