In 1991, Otzi was discovered in the Austrian Alps. Otzi is a 5300-year old iceman that remained intact quite well over the course of 5000+ years trapped in the ice and snow. Not only were the iceman’s clothes remarkably well-preserved, but the body has tattoos covering his body.
Otzi was found with a variety of tattoos on his body that seemed to indicate they all had a purpose. The carbon tattoos were located around his ankles, on either side of his spine at the lumbar vertebrae, and behind one knee. While these tattoos would be considered very interesting forms of expression, ancient peoples might have used these tattoo designs for medicinal purposes.
Carbon tattoos on the body of Otzi seem to be related to a form of acupuncture or acupressure. While this might not seem significant to modern-day physicians, it is quite a marvel to the archaeologists who have been studying these tattoo designs for decades.
In the whole of tattoo history, it has been noted that acupuncture and acupressure hadn’t been noted on fossilized remains that dated as old at Otzi. In fact, the oldest remains that had tattoos were about 2000 years younger than Otzi. The question for archaeologists is simple: How did Otzi get acupuncture marks 2000 years ahead of his time?
It was noted that Otzi had slight spondylosis in the lumbar spine and osteochondrosis . These degenerative disorders likely caused Otzi to be in a great deal of pain as he moved about. The cure for these maladies was clearly intended to be in the tattoos on his body. However, someone figured out that he could get relief from his pain through acupuncture 2000 years prior to the Chinese standardizing the practice.
In today’s culture, many people uses tattoos designs to express themselves. While this can be considered a different form of pain relief, it is interesting to note that many people find great healing and comfort in tattoo art.
While appreciating Otzi’s tattoos is easy for the tattoo enthusiast, it is interesting to note that there is a long and proud tattoo history of healing people.
While acupuncturists may not leave tattoos on their patients in today’s culture, it may be worth investigation for the tattoo enthusiast who needs to release negative energy of deal with chronic pain.
Otzi has shown us that even the simplest tattoos can have immense purpose under the right circumstances.