Posts Tagged ‘chinese medicine’


Wednesday, April 21st, 2021


Acupuncture is the result of the development of a intellectual tradition of creative and destructive, healing and sickening forces, together with treatment practices whose usefulness is determined and developed by observation and experience. The understanding of health and disease of traditional Chinese medicine is closely related to the cult of ancestors, the belief in the power of ancient spirits. The application of acupuncture known today is made with steel needles. But since much earlier than written texts, blood letting as throwing cuts with the help of a stone was a common application and acupuncture can be considered to have evolved from that practice. It is based on an understanding of abstraction and causality, which, for example, is thought to help kill the evil spirit that causes the asylum, by drilling into the asylum zone. Besides there are a number of findings and speculations that such practices like stimulate body by energy points may have been common throughout Eurasia since time immemorial. One of the most interesting of these is that 5000-year-old mummy Ötzi has 15 tattoos on her body at points that coincide with those targeted in acupuncture practices, but it is impossible to prove that these tattoos have such a purpose or meaning.

The idea of the evil spirit that causes disease have been the basis for the maturation of the Chi (qi) concept and the idea of energy that fills life. The Chinese elite’s efforts to understand medical practice, drug preparation and its effects in various periods, combined with the knowledge of the causes of disease, the way of understanding the energy that makes healthy living and life possible, has led to this. The influence of medical systematic thoughts of other cultures, such as ancient Greece and later Arab civilization, also contributed to the development of the concept. The idea of vital energy, which Praxagoras and Erasistratus referred to as ‘pneuma’ in ancient Greece, also parallels the understanding of Chi (qi).

The text, which can be considered as the first written source to be considered related to acupuncture, is also the first text found on traditional Chinese medicine, the Mawangdui cemetery finds, and dates back to 168 BC. However, this text does not directly mention a systematic application of acupuncture, it is mentioned that the energy channels in the body called ‘mai’ and that the inflammatory area can be opened and cleaned with the help of a sharp stone. The first text that mentions a therapy or treatment with help of ‘needling’ is the Shiji text of Sima Qian dated 90 BC. But this text also does not mention direct the practice of acupuncture, which is known in the sense of regulating chi (qi) energy. Although there is a consensus that the silver and gold needle finds from the previous century BC were for medical purposes, it is not clear whether they were used for acupuncture or surgical intervention to regulate chi energy in the known sense. However, the systematization of systematic Chinese medicine by the Chinese elite by following periods A.C. did not prevent the use of systematic pre-traditional folk medicine, the ancestral faith continued its existence. The ongoing work of the upper class to develop medical literature and disciplines and the popular belief-healing system continued to exist side by side.. Although there is no complete consensus between the understanding of diagnosis, medicine and treatment of the period, it can be said that they continue to provide organic integrity by reflecting and containing each other, at least for the early stages.

Until the 1500s AC, in the period after conceptualization acupuncture is thoroughly customized to become completely chi-oriented discipline and independent from understanding of drug therapy and surgery discipline, on the other hand by developing a description of the relationship between chi (qi) and energy channels in the body detached from belief in spirits and ancestors. In this long period, acupuncture developed step by step to became known for methods such as finalizing the intervention notes in the body and using steel needles after 1000’s. But with the end of The Song Dynasty (1279), acupuncture gradually began to lose its importance. Acupuncture like other traditional and local medical knowledge disfavored against influence of western medicine, which originated from ancient Greek civilizations, developed by the Arabs to create a mostly modern systematic, which advanced by European countries after that. In the 1800s, the practice and teaching of acupuncture was banned in China and Japan for the concept of modernization. 1950s, Mao’s socialist government, who must somehow provide medical services to a large population under strong economic problems, has encouraged the use of traditional Chinese medicine as an alternative to ‘corrupt imperialist’ modern Western medicine. After United States President Nixon visited China in 1972 and led the end of the isolation over the country, the world’s interest in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine increased significantly.

Modern research has still not been able to achieve very consistent results regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment. However, at least the benefits of its application for symptomatic treatment of pain types were found to be generally positive as a result of experimental studies, and thanks to the absence of side effects, it was approved by the World Health Organization and similar organizations as an alternative treatment, provided that it is applied by well trained acupuncturists. In addition, as expressed in traditional texts, the belief that the treatment works and the intention to heal influences positively the effectiveness of acupuncture for reasons that we more or less understand under motivation and placebo effect titles. Acupuncture is a human heritage that has transcended beyond the boundaries of the age in which it belongs and will still play a role in shaping the understanding of Medicine of the future. It can be safely applied, provided that you do your own detailed research on the practice and the organizations providing this service.