Acupuncture Needles

WLMD ID: aijr

The medical practice of acupuncture originated in ancient China, and continues to be used today, both to prevent and to treat disease. Thin needles are inserted into specific "acu-points" on the body, each of which corresponds to specific limbs and organs, in order to balance the body's energies. James Morss Churchill (1796?-1863), an English surgeon, wrote A Treatise on Acupuncturation in 1821. This was the first book in the English language about acupuncture.

Over the course of the next decade Churchill popularized the technique by writing several other books and articles on the subject. He reported his own success, and that of other physicians in France and England, in treating rheumatism, sciatica, hernia, inflammation, jaw and back pain with acupuncture. In his 1821 'Treatise,' Churchill illustrated the needles used by the French practitioner, Demours. The needles shown here are of the same design. They were made from steel sewing needles, and are equipped with ivory handles.

Catalog Record: Acupuncture Needles

Access Key: aijr
Accession No.: 2003-11-13-3

Title: [ Churchill acupuncture needles.]
Author: Churchill, James Morss, 1796?-1863.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Churchill-type acupuncture needles.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Churchill’s acupuncture needles.

Physical Descript: 3 needles : steel, ivory ; in case 7 x 3 x 3 cm.

Subject: Needles, Acupuncture.
Subject: Acupuncture – instrumentation.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title from the Wood Library Museum’s name for the item.

Note Type: With
Notes: In case measuring 7 x 3 x 3 cm. Lined with satin and velvet.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Churchill JM. A Treatise on Acupuncturation … . London: Simpkins &
Marshall. 1821.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Conlay LA, Sim P. Acupuncture from East to West: Chinese medicine and
therapeutics: Early texts represented in the WLM collection. American Society
of Anesthesiologists Newsletter. September 2007;71(9).

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Bause G, Conlay LA, Robins J. Treasures of the WLM. American Society of
Anesthesiologists Newsletter. September 2006;70(9):7.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Steel sewing needles with ivory finger holds; Two of the needles measure 7 cm
in length (with head) and one measures 6 cm. in length.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle July 13, 2010.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: A Treatise on Acupuncturation (1823), by James Morss Churchill, was the
earliest English monograph on acupuncture. It was reported that he
successfully utilized acupuncture to treat a number of conditions, including
rheumatism and back pain (Conlay & Sim, 2007).

Note Type: Publication
Notes: This set was featured in an Anesthesiology Reflection, in the journal
Anesthesiology, by George Bause, MD (citation: Bause G. Churchill acupuncture
needles. Anesthesiology. April 2010;112(4):809.).

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Bivins R. The needle and the lancet: acupuncture in Britain, 1683-2000.
Acupunct Med. 2001;19(1):2-14.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Displayed in the first floor, Northwest Highway, Wood Library-Museum gallery
(noted 7/13/2010); Selected for the redesigned WLM website.