otzi2In 1991 scientist discovered a 5000-year-old mummified man in the mountains along the border between Austria and Italy. Named Otzi after the Otz Valley where he was found, the mummies body was remarkably well preserved, as were most of his clothing, tools and weapons. One of the most remarkable discoveries was a complicated system of bluish black tattoos running along Otzi’s back, right knee and left ankle. Since such non-ornamental tattoos had previously been found in similar locations on mummies in Siberia and South Africa, some researchers speculated that the lines on Otzi’s body where of therapeutic importance. Researchers found that the tattoos lined up with traditional acupuncture points. X-rays of the Iceman’s body revealed evidence of arthritis in the hip, knees and lumbar spine. Forensic Analysis of the mummy revealed that his intestines were filled with worm eggs which would have caused severe abdominal pain. All of the tattoos on his body lined up with acupuncture points with the specific indication of treating those aliments. Otzi died 2000 years before the appearance of acupuncture as we know it today, this raises some interesting questions as to where this form of care originated and how long it’s been practiced.