History buffs and acupuncture aficionados — you’re going to love this.
According to LiveScience.com, Otzi the Iceman (if you’re not familiar, he’s the incredibly preserved Tyrolean Iceman mummy of a man who met his death via murder 5,300 years ago. He was found in 1991 in the Alps of Italy and has been thoroughly studied by science ever since) just may have undergone acupuncture.
How cool is that?
While we have long known acupuncture has been around for quite some time, having actual evidence that demonstrates the possibility of the treatment being used on Otzi is quite fascinating.
After carful study of his anatomy, researchers discovered that he was covered in tattoos — 61 to be exact. Simple in design, mostly strips and two crosses, they weren’t exactly decorative or artistic which led researchers to conclude they were possibly medical treatment.
Albert Zink, head of the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy said, "The tattoos are all located at body regions where the iceman had some health issues and probably experienced periods of pain. For example, he had degenerative diseases of his hip, knee, ankle joints and lower back. Most of the tattoos are located [on] the legs and the lower back," Zink said.
Furthermore, some of the tattoos correspond. Directly to traditional acupuncture points, which Zink says suggests to some researchers, “that the iceman underwent some form of acupuncture.”
This seems to challenge. The notion that acupuncture first began in China about 2,200 years ago — with Zink acknowledging it could have earlier routes in Europe.
Regardless of whether acupuncture was actually used on Otzi, there is strong enough evidence to conclude that even 5,000+ years ago, people were practicing medicine, holistic treatment, and pain management
For more information on this discovery, you can read the full journal article from the International Journal of Paleopathology, here.