Modified and translated by CFJA
Moxibustion technique 灸術 was also widely educated in Waichi Sugiyama’s acupuncture school. The therapeutic method of using gaishu 艾炷 , which refers to moxa 艾 (Jp. mogusa) kneaded into small pieces with hands, led to advances in therapeutic techniques. By devising different sizes and numbers of applying gaishu 艾炷, it is thought that the range of diseases that can be treated by moxibustion has expanded.
The implementation of mukonkyu 無痕灸 – a moxibustion method that leaves no marks on the skin – during the times when only yukonkyu 有痕灸 – a moxibustion method that leaves a burnt mark on the skin– was used has led to the invention of many new methods, such as removing the moxa before burning all of the moxa or placing something between the moxa and the skin. There were many ways to do this, such as placing warm paper on the skin and placing ginger, ginseng, miso, Chinese ink, etc. Kusuri-mogusa 薬艾 (medicinal moxa), which mixed moxa with powders such as sulphur and yellow oak, was practiced as well.
Making gaishu 艾炷 requires an extremely pure and fine moxa produced in a special way that can be kneaded into small pieces with hands, and this is how extremely pure and fine moxa are made in Japan. Being able to knead small and soft moxa allows the heat given to the patient to be maintained at a low temperature. Until the early Showa period (1926 – 1986), there were more than 50 moxa factories in Japan. The technique for pure and fine moxa production supports moxibustion therapy, and this has led Japan to invent its very own moxibustion therapy which is mainly practiced only in Japan. Waichi Sugiyama, Nagoya Gen’i, Konzan Goto and others thought that moxibustion therapy is more effective than acupuncture therapy for curing illnesses, thus they preferred to use it. Dr. Seino believes that moxibustion therapy is effective for illnesses that are accompanied by organic diseases – he acknowledges that it is difficult to cure them by acupuncture therapy. Currently, only a small part of moxibustion therapy is practiced in China due to the failure of preparing a proper environment to educate Japanese moxibustion therapy.
From the end of the Edo period (1603 – 1868) to the early Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the treatment methods for patients were comprehensively selected from herbal therapy 薬草治療, acupuncture therapy 鍼治療, moxibustion therapy 灸治療, oketsu therapy 瘀血治療(cupping therapy), seikotsu therapy 整骨治療 (bone-setting therapy) which is a therapeutic method for broken bones, etc., anma therapy あん摩治療 (massage therapy), and exercise therapy including onsen therapy 温泉治療 (hot spring therapy) and yosei 養生 (self-care). This was an ideal state for the medical system. At the same time, the standard of treatment, known as hondo 本道 (internal medicine) was considered to be at an extremely high level.
At the beginning of the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Meiji government decided to focus on German medicine in medical education, which in turn eliminated hondo 本道. The traditional Japanese medicine ceased to be the mainstream of medical treatment and was subsequently reworded as kampo 漢方. In 1874 (the 7th year of Meiji period), Japan’s first medical system 医制 (Jp. isei) was established. This was the second revolution in Japan since the establishment of the medical officer system in 701. This system was centred around the doctor who learned western medicine, which focused on German medicine.
The acupuncture and moxibustion system and anma system which are part of kanpo 漢方, were established in 1911 (the 44th year of the Meiji period). About 50 years earlier in China, acupuncture and herbal therapy ceased to be the national medical therapy in 1822 and western medicine became the dominant medicine.
In the next article, we will be discussing the history of this period.
To be continued…