The Curious Case of Ah Fong Chuck, America’s First ‘Licensed’ Acupuncturist

Michael Devitt

After a promising start in the early part of the nineteenth century, the practice of acupuncture all but disappeared in the United States between 1860 and 1970. A small number of Chinese medicine practitioners helped to keep acupuncture alive in some parts of the country during this time. Among the earliest was Ah Fong Chuck, who emigrated to the United States in the 1860s and practised in Idaho for nearly six decades. A classically trained physician and skilled herbalist who also had extensive training in acupuncture, Ah Fong won the legal right to practise medicine in 1901, making him arguably the first ‘licensed’ acupuncturist in American history.

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AuthorMichael Devitt

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