Acupuncture. Acupuncture, one of the three great nostrums of the practitioners of the Far East (the other two being massage and the moxa), was brought over from China to Japan before the dawn of history. Dr. W. N. Whitney describes it as follows in his Notes on the History of Medical Progress in Japan, published in Vol. XII. Part IV. of the "Asiatic Transactions," p. 354:—
"As practised by the Japanese acupuncturists, the operation consists in perforating the skin and underlying tissues to a depth, as a rule, not exceeding one-half to three-quarters of an inch, with fine needles of gold, silver, or steel. The form and construction of these needles vary, but, generally speaking, they are several inches long, and of an average diameter of one forty-eighth of an inch. Each needle is usually fastened into a handle, which is spirally grooved from end to end.
"To perform the operation, the handle of the needle is held lightly between the thumb and first finger of the left hand, the point resting upon the spot to be punctured. A slight blow is then given upon the head of the instrument with a small mallet held in the right hand; and the needle is gently twisted until its point has penetrated to the desired depth, where it is left for a few seconds and then slowly withdrawn, and the skin in the vicinity of the puncture rubbed for a few moments. The number of perforations ranges from one to twenty, and they are usually made in the skin of the abdomen, although other portions of the body are not unfrequently punctured."