Chinese Acupuncture is the world's largest drug free therapy. It is a long established holistic therapy effective in treating a broad range of disorders. Acupuncture is just one application of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. TCM can also be applied by Moxabustion, Cupping, Chinese Herbalism, Tuina and Qi Gong. One of the basic principles of TCM is holism. In TCM theory there is no separation between a persons physical, mental or emotional state. They are all part of the whole. A persons Qi, (energy or lifeforce ), Shen (Spirit and emotions) and Jing (genetic qualities or ancestral essence) are all taken into consideration within TCM theory and TCM assessment. The holistic aspect of TCM is based on the philosphy of the Tao. The Tao means the one, the path or the whole, and is one of the earliest philosophys.
According to TCM theory , our Qi , pronounced chee, flows through our bodies in meridians or partways, also called channels. This is the source of our energy or lifeforce. Channels are linked to specific organ energetic functions. Health is a perfect balance of organ energetic functions, when there is no blockage or stagnation, and our Qi flows through our meridians. When the flow of qi is interupted, this can present as a healthcare problem.
History, Background and Early Texts. . .
In the ancient literature there were many legends about the origin of acupuncture and moxibustion such as Fu Xi's creation of the therapeutic techniques with stone needles, and Huang Di's invention of acupuncture and moxibustion. In the period of Warring States in China ancient doctors began to generalise and summarise medicine and pharmacology The first texts and writings on acupuncture and moxibustion appeared.
Huang Di, or The Yellow Emperor ruled over many years during the Tang Dynasty. This time is known as the time of enlightenment, and followed a time of war and turmoil. During this time, Huang Di, gathered around him philosophers, learned men and sages of the time. A collection of texts, outlining medical theory, wisdom and lifestyle guides were gathered together and became The Yellow Emperors Canon of Internal Medicine and Plain Questions. This is one of the earliest TCM texts and is still relevant today.
Two silk scrolls recording meridians and collateral's written in the third century B.C. were discovered in the excavation at the No. 3 Han Tomb at Mawangdui, Hunan Province, which reflected the earliest outlook of the theory of meridians and collateral's.
As recorded in the book the Miraculous Pivot, there were nine types of metallic needles at that time with different shapes and usage. This was one of the earliest written descriptions of acupuncture needles.
In more modern times, because of the great need for effective medical care for the vast population in China, acupuncture and moxibustion spread among the wider population, and the 'barefoot doctor' appeared. Travelling doctors using acupuncture, moxabustion and herbalism and brought their treatment to communities all over China. Legend says they were paid when the communities were well, so health maintenance. even then was a consideration. When the patient became ill, the barefoot doctor received no payment. This was an effective community healthcare system.
In October of 1944, Chairman Mao Zedong made a speech to the cultural and educational workers in Shanxi-Gansu Ningxia approving of the wider use of TCM alongside 'western medicine', which had come to China with western missionaries. This was a strong sign of approval for TCM to continue within the communities, and to expand into the institutions. Many medical doctors who had already trained in 'western 'medicine, began to learn and carry out research on acupuncture and moxibustion.
In April 1945, an acupuncture clinic was opened in the International Peace Hospital in the name of Dr. Norman Bethune in Yan'an. This was the first time that acupuncture and moxibustion entered into a public hospital.
In current times, TCM is taught in universities all over China, and all over the world. TCM is sometimes described as China's treasure chest, which is now shared with the rest of the world. Many clinical trials have now taken place, testing the effectiveness of TCM and Acupuncture as an effective treatment for a range of diseases. In the present time TCM and its therapies, Acupuncture, Herbalism, and Tuina have their place in the complementary healthcare sector, not only in China, but here in Ireland, and around the world.