As dynasty succeeded dynasty, many more important acupuncture works were published. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there was a decrease in the practice of acupuncture and herbalism, due mainly to the increasing influence of Western ideas in China.
In 1822 a government decree actually banned the practice of acupuncture from the Imperial Medical College, and in 1929 the Kuomintang government tried to ban traditional chinese medicine as a whole. However, there were so many protests from traditional doctors, the attempt to ban the practices failed.
Since the second World War, there has been a significant resurgence of acupuncture in China, with an appreciation of its complementary role to Western medicine.
One of the most important factors in the promotion of acupuncture in the West today began in 1971, when a famous American commentator named James Reston was visiting Peking with his wife. He was stricken with an acute appendicitis attack and required emergency surgery. Two days later, suffering from post operative abdominal pain, he was treated using acupuncture and moxibustion at points near the knees and elbows.
Surprised by the considerable level of relief achieved, the Restons travelled throughout China following his recovery, visiting hospitals and communes where acupuncture was being used for a wide variety of conditions. Upon their return to the United States, their eye witness accounts caused a considerable stir, and focused tremendous public and professional attention on acupuncture. He later wrote, "I have seen the past, and it works".
As a result, greater numbers of Westerners have begun to study the art of acupuncture, and professional associations and schools have been established all over the world.
After thousands of years of history and practice, we are only now beginning to recognize the true medical and therapeutic value of acupuncture.