TCM Theory: Acupuncture Doctors and Works


There are voluminous Traditional Chinese Medial literatures and numerous medical great stars in China history. The most well-known doctors of the past were experts in Acupuncture and Moxibustion. For example, from 400 B,C. to 200 B.C.(the Periods of Warring Stage to the Western Han Dynasty), there were famous doctors Bian Que and Cang Gong.

Bian Que was not only proficient in all clinical specialties, but also an expert in clinical Bian puncture, fire moxibustion, herbal decoction, massage and hot compression therapies. The story that Bian Que cured the prince in Shijue (like coma) with acupuncture has long been the most relishable episode in China's medical history. The magpie-shaped stone statue, a deified symbol of Bian Que holding a stone needle, was found in the excavated tomb of the Han Dynasty.

In A.D.200, the medical great of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Hua Tuo, besides the superb surgical techniques which he was famous of, was also a master of acupuncture therapies. The acupuncture therapy he used to successful cure Cao Gao's headache has been a familiar episode in China's medical history. Clinically, the method used to locate the "Beishu, Back-Shu" points which located about one cun (a Chinese inch) lateral to the spine. The locating method was called "Hua Tuo Parallel Spine Method". There are some other literatures recording the acupuncture methods of Bian Que and Hua Tuo.

Zhang Zhongjing, another outstanding medical doctor of Hua Tuo's contemporaries authored the book Treatise on Febrile Diseases. In his book he stresses very much the acupuncture treatments besides herbal medication. For instance, he used Fengchi, Fengfu to treat disease of Tai-yang.

 In third century A.D., during the Jin Dynasty in China, acupuncturist Huangfu Mi edited the book "Acupuncture Jiayijing", literally meaning "the systemic of Acupuncture." It incorporates the acupuncture theories of "Su Wen" and " Ling Shu" with the book "Ming Tang Essentials of points". It is a complete edition of Acupuncture. The essence of the earlier acupuncture classic Ming Tang Essentials of Points was quoted and has been preserved in Acupuncture Jiayijing. A total of 349 points are described in this book.

The contemporary of Ruangfu Mi, the famous medical expert and chemist Ge Hong also advocate the application of Acupuncture. In his book Bao Pu Zi he had mentioned "Ming Tang liu Zhu", the diagram of meridian network and "Yan Ce Tu", a chapter of lateral and posterior views. His another book Prescription for Emergencies also records "Ming Tang Liu Zhu." These were all literatures of points.

The book Sui Shu Jing Ji Zi recorded many Acupuncture literatures.

In sixth to ninth century A.D., during the Sui and Tang Dynasty in China, State Government paid more attention to medical education and established the special institution Imperial Medical Bureau, a government unit, responsible for medical training. At that time the bureau officers controlled the number of medical specialties, student number, the length of programs and different accreditation of facilities. They also selected talented students through a strict examination system.

Sun Simiao, the great medical specialist living in Tang Dynasty, was crowned "King of Herbal Medicine". Sun Simiao compiled the hook Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold for Emergencies and A Supplement to Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold. He considered that human life is as precious and valuable as a thousand grams of gold, therefore he used the phrase Qian Jin to name these books of prescriptions. Charts of meridians and points are illustrated in his book. They include the anterior, posterior and lateral views of meridians and points, but the original charts have been missing. The three charts in Qianjin Yaofang are the research outcome of famous medical experts of that era. The twelve regular meridians are illustrated in five kinds of color and the eight extra meridians in green color. It can be concluded that they are the earliest multi-color charts of meridians and points in medical history.

Yang Shangshan, a medical expert and court official, compiled two books Huahgdi Nei Ting Tai Su and Huangdi Nei Jin Ming Tang. The latter illustrates all points according to different branches of meridians. The twelve regular meridians are explained in 12 chapters separately. But all eight extra meridians are grouped in one chapter only

Wang Tao was a medical specialist who authored the book The Medical Secrets of An Official in 752, in which Jiu points are illustrated in charts. The three charts were expanded to twelve charts. The original charts are also lost, but we could understand their figures by studying the survival moxibustion scrolls housed in Dun Huang, Gansu Province.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been introduced to foreign countries in the Sui and Tang Dynasties. The famous monk Jean Zhen of the Tang Dynasty finally arrived in Japan after five trips to the east. He brought to Japan books of meridian, Acupuncture and Buddhist scriptures.

Nowadays, there are some duplicated editions such as Tai Su and Nei Jing Ming Tang are preserved in Japan

In the same period, Japanese medical experts wrote the book Yi Xain Fang, which records the monthly meridian diagram of pregnant women.

In the tenth century, in the Song Dynasty of China, medical science was so emphasized by the Imperial Court that various medical books were edited under the assistance of the Imperial Court. The Imperial Court-edited Taiping Sheng Hui Fang contains twelve human anatomical charts demonstrating the unique literary style of the Song Dynasty.

At the time of Emperor Renzong in the Song Dynasty, Court Doctor Wang Weiyi, was a master of herbal medicine and Acupuncture. In 1026, he revised the locations of Points and compiled the book Brass Model Illustration of Points & Acupuncture Anatomy which Contains diagrams of points and three anatomical charts in anterior, posterior and lateral views, a total of 354 points are included. The content of the book had been inscribed on stone tablet and displayed on brass model by the Court of the Song Dynasty in medical educational institutions.

In 1027, two years after the book was published, two brass model were produced to demonstrate meridians and points. They are the earliest three-dimensional Acupuncture models important to the development of Acupuncture science. But it is a pity that the original brass models are missing. Nowadays there are only duplicate models with meridian illustration, points and locations of Zhang-fu.

Emperor Renzong of the Song Dynasty was a strong advocate of Acupuncture. He had bodily experienced the healing effect of Acupuncture treatment, resultingly he built a temple for Bian Que and conferred him Prince of God Response. Later in history, there were many Acupuncture books written in the name Bian Que, such as Bian Que's Medical Experiences and Acupuncture Classic of Bian Que's God Response.

During the period of 1100-1300's, in the Southern Song Dynasty and the Jin, Yuan Dynasties, there had been numerous acupuncturists and their publications were voluminous. For example, in South China, Wang Zhizhong authored the book Canon on the Origin of Acupuncture. Don Hanqing of North China compiled Guide to Acupuncture Theories.

Hua Boren of the Yuan Dynasty wrote the book Exposition of the Fourteen Meridians, explaining the relationship between meridians and points. The book contributed and influenced very profoundly the studies of Acupuncture science.

During the period of 1500-1600, in the Ming Dynasty of China all medical hooks were published by referring to the Exposition of the Fourteen Meridians.

Li Shizhen, a great doctor of that time, wrote An Outline of Herbal Medicine and compiled a book, specialized in the most emphasized eight extra meridians.

The Ming Dynasty saw the most voluminous publication of Acupuncture works in China's medical history. There were comprehensive medical writings such as Xu Feng's A Complete Book of Acupuncture; Gao Wu's An Exemplary Collection of Acupuncture and Yang Jizhou's version of Acupuncture Dacheng. Yang Jizhong's Acupuncture Dacheng deserves particular attention here for its the most complete and comprehensive Acupuncture library summarizing important previous Acupuncture publications. It describes a total of 359 points, five points more than does the brass model. Traditional Chinese Medicine had been spread to neighboring oriental countries at that time. The Korean Doctor Xu Jun compiled a book A Treasury of Oriental Medicine, in which a special chapter is devoted to Acupuncture.

Bronze statues of different sizes have been manufactured in subsequent periods after the first model by Doctor Wang Weiyi. All Acupuncture names and running courses of meridians were marked on the surface of the brass model. As an illustration of the exact locations of Zhang-fu(guts), chest and abdomen, the models also demonstrate in detail where prudent precautions should be taken and where puncturing should be avoided to prevent injuring vital internal organs. There are also meridian structures inscribed on wood blocks & stones. Present acupuncture and meridian diagrams and models are evolved from these original ones.

In 1700s, during the Qing Dynasty in China, the national medical institution the Imperial Court sponsored organization, was formed to edit Golden Mirror of Medicine. In this book, the chapter Principles of Acupuncture consists of meridians & points charts and drawings as well as poems. To award the editorial officials for their efforts, a small brass model, the earliest version of brass models, was given to each of them from His Imperial Majesty of the Qing Dynasty.

In 1882, Doctor Li Xuechuan, a native of Wu County, Jiangshu Province, wrote The Source of Acupuncture which systematically summarized once again the points of the fourteen meridians. In his book, the 361 points of the fourteen meridians are illustrated and have the same to date.

Please browse the following contents for further study:

  1. Introduction

  2. Mechnism of Yin Yang Operation

  3. Pathogenic Factors

  4. Concept of Qi

  5. Concept of Blood, Body Fluid and Qi

  6. Mechnism of Chinese Massage

  7. Visceral Symptom

  8. Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor

  9. Acupuncture Treatment Principle

  10. Five Element Theory

  11. Channels and Meridians

  12. Acupuncture Doctors and Works

  13. Origin of Acupuncture