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What is Acupuncture? Introduction to science of acupuncture and moxibustion

 Acupuncture and moxibustinnone of tile therapeutic methods in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with a history of several thousand yearsdeveloped in the ancient times and has contributed much to the healthcare and medical treatment for the Chhieso people

   During their long clinical practice-people aceuiiluhted rich clitfical experience and discovered a number of the therapeutic principlesThe summarization of the clinical experience and therapeutic principles has gradually paved the way to the establishment of the theory of acupuncture and moxibustion which hasin turn, promoted the clinical practice and development of acupuncture and moxihastionand eventually directing it to evolye into an independent clhiical specialty science of acupuncture and moxibustion.

Science of acupuncture and moxihastion develops under the guidance of TCM theoryits essentml theory is the doctrine of meridians and collaterals which mainly includes meridianscollaterals and acupethtsdirectly guiding the clinical practice of acupuncture and moxibustm Clinical treatment with acupuncture and moxibustion is done in light of syndrome differentiation.

therapeutic principles and methodsby means of needling and moxibustinn with certain manipulating methods to stimulate the selected acupoints for the prevention and treatment of disease

    Acupuncture and moxibustion is an external therapy By means of needling and moxibustionit can stimulate the body and activate the regulating functions of the body to improve and rectify the disturbance and dvsfunction of certain organs in the bodySuch a therapy not only can treat diseasebut also can prevent disease It is noted for extensive applicationsignificant curative effects and 120 side effects

  It is Just because of the characteristics mentioned aborethe therapy of acupuncture and moxibustinn is not only used in Chinabut also practised in over 100 countries in the world It has gradually become a component in the world medicine and plays a certain role in the healthcare course for all hmnan beings

Brief history

A brief intwduction to the establishment and development of acupuncture and moxibustion is helpful for the study ,practice and research of such a unique therapy

    In the ancient literature since the sixth century B.C.there wasthe record oftreatment of disease with stone needleThe earliest needle was made of stone.In Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)published oVer 2000 years agosilk medical books unearthed in the modern times and ancient Chinese classicsthere was the description about hew to treat disease with stone needleIn the 1960s'a stone needk was found in the ruins of new stone age in the north 0f China With the development of metallurgy, needles were graduatly made of bronzeirongold and silver Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicfne)mentionsNine Needlesthe relics of which  were found in archaeology The materials used for moxibustion were various in the earty practicegradually moxa was selected as the most suitable material for performing moxibustion.

    In using acupuncture and moxibustinn to treat dis'ease people discovered some therapeutic rulesPurposerul stody of these rules led to theoretical cognition like the conception of meridians. In the silk medical books unearthed in the tomb of West Han Dynasty in1970s in MawangduiChangsha City-Hunan Province,there are the descriptions of eleven meridians named as

Eleven 1tieridfans of foot and arm for moxibustion”and "Eleven yin and yang lneridians for moxibustion”

  Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)compiled in the ttan Dynasty contains rich knowledge of acupuncture and moxibustionincluding meridiansacupointsneedling methodsindications and calltions as well as therapeutic principlestenets diagnosis and syndrome differentiationHuangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine Carom on Medicine)lays the foundation for the theory of acupuncture and moxibustion and guides the development of such a unique specialty

    Zhenjiu Jiayijng(A-B Classics on Acupuncture and Moxibustion)compiled by Huangfu Mi in the Jin Dynasty is a collection of the related contents in Huanqdt Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)and Mingtang Kongxue Zhenjiu Zhiyao and described the locations indications and needling methods of 349 acupoints as well as specific treatments for various diseases

    Sun Simiao, a great doctor in the Tang Dynasty,described Ashl Point and lnOxibustion methods for healthcare in Qianjin Fang(Golden Prescriptixms)with colored illustrations of meridians This book also contains many therapeutic methods for various diseases In the book Waitai Miyao written by Wang Tao contains rich methods for performing moxibustionwhich has promoted the deve~pment of moxibustion therapy In the Imperial Medical Bureauacupuncture

and moxibustion became an independent specialty practised by doctors,assistants and acupuncturists who were also responsible for teaching.

   In the 1lth century A.D.,Wang Weiyian official in charge of medicine in the government in the Song Dynasty,rectified 354 acupoints and compiled Tongren Shuxue Zhenjiu Tujing(Diagrams of Meridians and Acupoints on Bronze Figure)which was published nationally Two bronze figuresthe normal size of manwere modelled for teaching and examination of acupunctore and moxibustinn Such an improvement promoted the unity in the location of acupoints and education of acupuncture and moxibustion .

    In the Jin and Yuan Dynasties,there was further development in the theory of meridians, methods for selecting acupoints and needling techniques Hua Boren,a cekbrated doctor in the Yuan Dynastybelieved that the governor and conception vessels were as important as the twelve meridians Therefore he called them fourteen meridians and described meridians and acupoInts according to the fourteen meridians in his book Shisijing Fahui(Elucidation of Fourteen Meridians) Such an arrangement was helpful for understanding and using the theory of meridians and acupoints in the later generations Famous doctors like lie Ruoyu and Dou Hanqing thought highly of midnight-noon ebbflow method for selecting acupoints and described such a way to use acupoints in their books-and therefore en riching the content of time medicineDou Hanqing also developed the methods of nc~'dling by putting forward the methods of cold and heat reinforcing and reducing needling

 In the Ming Dynasty,acupuncture and moxibustion developed to its peak marked by publication of many monographs on acupunctttro and moxibustion,active academic discussion and further development of needling mothndsmeridian theory and therapeutic methods Yang Jizheua famous doctor then compiled ZhenjiuDacheng(Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion)by sttmmarizing the experience of his own and many others’Xu Feng described many needling methnds in his bookZhenjiu Daquan(A Comprehensive Collection of Acupuncture and Moxibustinn) which further enriched the content of needling methods WangJi studied many aspects of the theory and methods of acupuncture and moxibustionwhich was beneficial to the

normal development of acupuncture and moxibustion In his book Zhenjiu Juying, Gao Wu collected various theoretical and therapeutic literature related to acupunctore and moxibustion with his personal ideasL1 Shizhen made thorough studies on extraordioary vessels and added new content to the doctrine of meridians in his book Qijing Bamaikao(Textual Research on Extraordinary Meridians)

Books on acupuncture and moxibustion published in the Qing Dynasty lacked innovative development. In the middle of the Qing Dynasty the specialcy of acupuncture and moxibustion was banned in the Imperml Hospital. However,folk practice was still extensive.

 After the founding of the People’s Republic of China and owing to the policy nmde by the government tor de veloping traditiollal Chinese medicine,the academic studies of acupuncture and moxibustion have developed fast The rapid development of acupuncture and moxibustion is marked by extensive application of acupuncture and moxibustion therapyhigher education, establishment of academic institutesrecompilation of ancient Classics,publication of a great number of academic books and journals,thorough studies on the meridians, acupoints, needling and moxibusting methods and tenets of acupuncture and moxibustion therapy as well as development of various needling methods like acupuncture anesthesia and devices for perfornfing acupuncture and moxibustion

    Acupuncture and moxibustion spread to the other countries even in the ancient times In about 6th century A .D.,Zhenjiu Jiayijing(A-B Classics on Acupuncture and Moxibustion)was spread to Korea and Japan In 552 A.D.the Chinese Government then presonted a set of Zhenjiw (Acupuncture Canon)to Japanese Emperor In the Fang Dynasty, Qianjin Fang (Golden Prescriptions)and Waitai Migao were brought to Korea Following the example of the Tang DynastyJapan also established acupuncture and moxlbustion specialty and K0rea appoimed doctorate posmon for acuouncture The textbooks used were Zhenjing(Acupuncture Canon)and Zhenjiu Jiayijing(A-B Classics on Acupunctu re and Moxibustion)In the 17th centuryacupuncture and moxibustion was spread to Europe.Since 1950smany countrms have sent doctors to Chma}0 study acupuncture and moxibestion Chinese goverrmaent has sent acupuncture and moxbustion experts group abroad to offer clinical trealment Since 1975 to meet the requirement of WHOChina has set up international training centers for acupuncture and moxibustion in BeijingShanghai and Nanjing to train acupuncture and moxibustion doctors for a number of countries Currently acupuncture and moxibustion therapy has been used in about 100 countries and regions A number of international academic organizations have beell set up In 1987, Federation of World Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society was established in China and many international conferences have been held since then The scienceof acupuncture and moxibustion has developed smoothly in the whole world

A brief intwduction to the establishment and development of acupuncture and moxibustion is helpful for the study ,practice and research of such a unique therapy

    In the ancient literature since the sixth century B.C.there wasthe record oftreatment of disease with stone needleThe earliest needle was made of stone.In Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)published oVer 2000 years agosilk medical books unearthed in the modern times and ancient Chinese classicsthere was the description about hew to treat disease with stone needleIn the 1960s'a stone needk was found in the ruins of new stone age in the north 0f China With the development of metallurgy, needles were graduatly made of bronzeirongold and silver Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicfne)mentionsNine Needlesthe relics of which  were found in archaeology The materials used for moxibustion were various in the earty practicegradually moxa was selected as the most suitable material for performing moxibustion.

    In using acupuncture and moxibustinn to treat dis'ease people discovered some therapeutic rulesPurposerul stody of these rules led to theoretical cognition like the conception of meridians. In the silk medical books unearthed in the tomb of West Han Dynasty in1970s in MawangduiChangsha City-Hunan Province,there are the descriptions of eleven meridians named as

Eleven 1tieridfans of foot and arm for moxibustion”and "Eleven yin and yang lneridians for moxibustion”

  Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)compiled in the ttan Dynasty contains rich knowledge of acupuncture and moxibustionincluding meridiansacupointsneedling methodsindications and calltions as well as therapeutic principlestenets diagnosis and syndrome differentiationHuangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine Carom on Medicine)lays the foundation for the theory of acupuncture and moxibustion and guides the development of such a unique specialty

    Zhenjiu Jiayijng(A-B Classics on Acupuncture and Moxibustion)compiled by Huangfu Mi in the Jin Dynasty is a collection of the related contents in Huanqdt Neijing(Huangdi's Canon on Medicine)and Mingtang Kongxue Zhenjiu Zhiyao and described the locations indications and needling methods of 349 acupoints as well as specific treatments for various diseases

    Sun Simiao, a great doctor in the Tang Dynasty,described Ashl Point and lnOxibustion methods for healthcare in Qianjin Fang(Golden Prescriptixms)with colored illustrations of meridians This book also contains many therapeutic methods for various diseases In the book Waitai Miyao written by Wang Tao contains rich methods for performing moxibustionwhich has promoted the deve~pment of moxibustion therapy In the Imperial Medical Bureauacupuncture

and moxibustion became an independent specialty practised by doctors,assistants and acupuncturists who were also responsible for teaching.

   In the 1lth century A.D.,Wang Weiyian official in charge of medicine in the government in the Song Dynasty,rectified 354 acupoints and compiled Tongren Shuxue Zhenjiu Tujing(Diagrams of Meridians and Acupoints on Bronze Figure)which was published nationally Two bronze figuresthe normal size of manwere modelled for teaching and examination of acupunctore and moxibustinn Such an improvement promoted the unity in the location of acupoints and education of acupuncture and moxibustion .

    In the Jin and Yuan Dynasties,there was further development in the theory of meridians, methods for selecting acupoints and needling techniques Hua Boren,a cekbrated doctor in the Yuan Dynastybelieved that the governor and conception vessels were as important as the twelve meridians Therefore he called them fourteen meridians and described meridians and acupoInts according to the fourteen meridians in his book Shisijing Fahui(Elucidation of Fourteen Meridians) Such an arrangement was helpful for understanding and using the theory of meridians and acupoints in the later generations Famous doctors like lie Ruoyu and Dou Hanqing thought highly of midnight-noon ebbflow method for selecting acupoints and described such a way to use acupoints in their books-and therefore en riching the content of time medicineDou Hanqing also developed the methods of nc~'dling by putting forward the methods of cold and heat reinforcing and reducing needling

 In the Ming Dynasty,acupuncture and moxibustion developed to its peak marked by publication of many monographs on acupunctttro and moxibustion,active academic discussion and further development of needling mothndsmeridian theory and therapeutic methods Yang Jizheua famous doctor then compiled ZhenjiuDacheng(Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion)by sttmmarizing the experience of his own and many others’Xu Feng described many needling methnds in his bookZhenjiu Daquan(A Comprehensive Collection of Acupuncture and Moxibustinn) which further enriched the content of needling methods WangJi studied many aspects of the theory and methods of acupuncture and moxibustionwhich was beneficial to the

normal development of acupuncture and moxibustion In his book Zhenjiu Juying, Gao Wu collected various theoretical and therapeutic literature related to acupunctore and moxibustion with his personal ideasL1 Shizhen made thorough studies on extraordioary vessels and added new content to the doctrine of meridians in his book Qijing Bamaikao(Textual Research on Extraordinary Meridians)

Books on acupuncture and moxibustion published in the Qing Dynasty lacked innovative development. In the middle of the Qing Dynasty the specialcy of acupuncture and moxibustion was banned in the Imperml Hospital. However,folk practice was still extensive.

 After the founding of the People’s Republic of China and owing to the policy nmde by the government tor de veloping traditiollal Chinese medicine,the academic studies of acupuncture and moxibustion have developed fast The rapid development of acupuncture and moxibustion is marked by extensive application of acupuncture and moxibustion therapyhigher education, establishment of academic institutesrecompilation of ancient Classics,publication of a great number of academic books and journals,thorough studies on the meridians, acupoints, needling and moxibusting methods and tenets of acupuncture and moxibustion therapy as well as development of various needling methods like acupuncture anesthesia and devices for perfornfing acupuncture and moxibustion

    Acupuncture and moxibustion spread to the other countries even in the ancient times In about 6th century A .D.,Zhenjiu Jiayijing(A-B Classics on Acupuncture and Moxibustion)was spread to Korea and Japan In 552 A.D.the Chinese Government then presonted a set of Zhenjiw (Acupuncture Canon)to Japanese Emperor In the Fang Dynasty, Qianjin Fang (Golden Prescriptions)and Waitai Migao were brought to Korea Following the example of the Tang DynastyJapan also established acupuncture and moxlbustion specialty and K0rea appoimed doctorate posmon for acuouncture The textbooks used were Zhenjing(Acupuncture Canon)and Zhenjiu Jiayijing(A-B Classics on Acupunctu re and Moxibustion)In the 17th centuryacupuncture and moxibustion was spread to Europe.Since 1950smany countrms have sent doctors to Chma}0 study acupuncture and moxibestion Chinese goverrmaent has sent acupuncture and moxbustion experts group abroad to offer clinical trealment Since 1975 to meet the requirement of WHOChina has set up international training centers for acupuncture and moxibustion in BeijingShanghai and Nanjing to train acupuncture and moxibustion doctors for a number of countries Currently acupuncture and moxibustion therapy has been used in about 100 countries and regions A number of international academic organizations have beell set up In 1987, Federation of World Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society was established in China and many international conferences have been held since then The scienceof acupuncture and moxibustion has developed smoothly in the whole world

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