Mummy’s Healthcare

It’s said acupuncture is an ancient art.  Have you ever wondered about how far back the evidence of acupuncture goes?  I’ve recently read about proof of acupuncture care more than several thousand years ago!   I’ve reproduced an article from Cool Science News, by Shayla Love, I think you’ll find amazing. The article does not say what tools might have been used to perform the acupuncture, but over history, there has been evidence of rocks, crystals, tattoos and needles having been used.

Sep 14 2018, 9:17am

Cool Science News You Don’t Want To Miss

By Shayla Love

A 3,300 year-old mummy’s healthcare, a blood test that can read your body’s internal clock and predicting who will respond to sugar pills for pain

A man who lived 3,300 years ago may have gotten acupuncture. The Tyrolean Iceman—sometimes called Ötzi (1)—is a preserved glacier mummy who was found in 1991 in the Central Eastern Alps. He lived around 3,300 years ago in the Copper Age, and was killed by an arrow to the shoulder. Ötzi had some other health issues too: His body revealed that he had degenerative diseases of his back, hip, knees and ankles, intestinal parasites, broken ribs and atherosclerosis. He also had 61 tattoos and was carrying some plants with him. The presence of those tattoos and plants led Albert Zink, the director of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, and his colleagues to re-evaluate what was found with the Iceman, and ask to what extent he had used or received medical treatment or care.

In a recent study (2) in the International Journal of Paleopathology, Zink and others report that the Iceman’s tattoos were all in forms of stripes and grouped together, and in two areas they form a cross. The tattoos are all close to areas of the body where the Iceman probably experienced pain. Since the tattoos don’t seem to depict any symbols or figures, it “indicates that they were used as a kind of treatment, maybe as an early form of acupuncture,” Zink tells me.

Alongside the Iceman’s other tools they found birch polypore fungus, a fungus that has anti-inflammatory properties and can potentially reduce fevers. A fern called bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) was found in the Iceman’s stomach, which “is a basically toxic plant that can, however, be used for the treatment of intestinal parasites,” Zink says.

The researchers conclude that even 3,300 years ago, there was already knowledge about treatments like acupuncture and medicinal plant use. “This definitely requires a certain knowledge of the human anatomy, as well as how diseases arise and develop,” Zink says. “I think we just got a small insight into this knowledge, and I hope that in future studies we will be able to trace more evidence of the usage of medical substances.”

Oct 2018 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.