Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an invention in ancient China that involves inserting needles into certain points on a person's body. It's supposed to prevent pain during surgery. It may sound strange, because sticking a needle into yourself is supposed to hurt a lot. But maybe doing a lot of that can numb the pain.

Why does acupuncture work to prevent pain instead of hurting yourself even more? Doing this unblocks chi, which is an energy that flows through your body through 14 paths called meridians. There are also two forces called yin and yang. When yin and yang are balanced, chi flows freely and the person is healthy.

But when that person is sick or injured, the chi is obstructed. Inserting needles into several points (out of 500) in the body can balance yin and yang.

For 2,000 years, people in China have been practicing acupuncture. Modern acupuncture uses needles that are twirled, heated, or even charged with weak electricity. Even though acupuncture helps against pain, it isn't effective against any disease.

Another acupuncture is ear acupuncture. If someone has a problem with his/her liver, sticking a needle into the ear can treat the problem. The ear is supposed to be the corresponding part for the liver.

Acupuncture can be risky sometimes. Lungs and bladders have been punctured, needles were broken, and some people are allergic to the needle's substances. And if a mother is pregnant, the fetus may be harmed because it can increase the production of ACTH and oxytocin, which affect labor.

Fireworks

Fireworks originated in China some 2,000 years ago. The most prevalent legend has it that fireworks were discovered or invented by accident by a Chinese cook working in a field kitchen who happened to mix charcoal, sulphur and saltpeter (all commonly found in the kitchen in those days). The mixture burned and when compressed in an enclosure (a bamboo tube), the mixture exploded.

Some sources say that the discovery of fireworks occurred about 2,000 years ago, and other sources place the discovery sometime during the 9th century during the Song dynasty (960-1279), although this could be confusion between the discovery of gunpowder by the cook and the invention of the firecracker.

Some sources suggest that fireworks may have originated in India, but in the October 18, 2003, online edition of The Hindu, an Indian national newspaper, the Chinese are credited with the discovery of gunpowder.

A Chinese monk named Li Tian, who lived near the city of Liu Yang in Hunan Province, is credited with the invention of firecrackers about 1,000 years ago. The Chinese people celebrate the invention of the firecracker every April 18 by offering sacrifices to Li Tian. During the Song Dynasty, the local people established a temple to worship Li Tian.

The firecrackers, both then and now, are thought to have the power to fend off evil spirits and ghosts that are frightened by the loud bangs of the firecrackers. Firecrackers are used for such purposes today at most events such as births, deaths and birthdays. Chinese New Year is a particularly popular event that is celebrated with firecrackers to usher in the new year free of the evil spirits.