Modified and translated by CFJA
This is the seventh blog on acumoxa therapy. Since the content on acumoxa therapy is heavy due to its long history and it played a central role in the medical field in Japan and China, we will be breaking it down into pieces and writing several blogs. What is Eastern Medicine? 01 is about acupuncture therapy from the ancient times to the Asuka period (592 – 710); 02 is about acupuncture therapy until the beginning of the Edo period (1603 – 1868); 03 is about moxibustion therapy until the beginning of the Edo period; 04 is about acumoxa therapy after the Edo period; 05 is about China from the ancient times to 1960s; 06 is about how TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) was established in China in 1960. This one, What is Eastern Medicine? 07 will be about what is TCM.
In China, herbal and acumoxa therapy has been practiced as a national medicine from the Han dynasty, through Sui, Tang, Yuan, and Song Dynasties, to the Qing dynasty. In 1822, the court physician caused medical malpractice on the son of the Daoguang emperor of the Qing dynasty. The emperor raged with anger and edicted ‘Although acumoxa therapy holds a prolonged history, inserting a needle on one’s body or burning with moxa are unfavourable to practice on the emperor. Therefore, the department of acumoxa in the imperial medical hospital within the Qing dynasty shall be closed forever’ (鍼灸の一法、由來已に久し、然れども鍼を以って刺し火もて灸するは、究む所奉君の宜しき所にあらず、太医院鍼灸の一科は、永遠に停止と著す). Not only was acumoxa therapy prohibited for the emperor, but also it was prohibited for civilians as well. Since then, acumoxa therapy continued to decline; Chinese medicine in general, including herbal therapy, declined. In China, the research on acumoxa stopped, became difficult to transmit as a medicine to the next generation and faced corruption in the early period of the Republic of China (ROC). The government of the ROC, established in 1911, did not acknowledge acumoxa and herbal therapy as national medicine, even after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949.
The Chinese, with the hopes of reviving acumoxa therapy in their country, came to Japan to study Japanese medicine. The key person is Cheng Dan’an 承淡安 who came to Japan for eight months between 1934 and 1935, to investigate advanced acumoxa education in Japan. He studied at Tokyo High School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion東京高等鍼灸学校 (Kuretake academy 呉竹学園 today) founded in 1929, for 6 months and received a certificate of completion for his acumoxa education in Japan. After returning to China, he attempts to integrate the educational content from the acumoxa school in Japan. It is said that there was not much difference between the school in Japan and China – probably, the only difference was learning about Chinese classics such as Huang di nei jing 黄帝内経 (Jp. Kotei daikei, “Inner Classics of Yellow Emperor”). It is believed that it was around this time that there was no discrepancy between education in China and Japan.
Cheng Dan’an published “Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Therapeutics 中国鍼灸治療学” in 1931, “Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Academic Lecture 中国鍼灸学講義” in 1940, and “Study of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion 中国鍼灸学” in 1955. Although he has written many books and magazines, the above three are thought to be the most famous. Acumoxa therapy officially revived as a national medicine in 1956, when Nanjing College of Chinese Medicine南京中医学院 was established. The first principle, Cheng Dan’an’s educational policies became the bases of education in Chinese medical colleges that were established later in other parts of China.
Cheng Dan’an raised many apprentices. There were a few hundred apprentices 門人 taught directly from Cheng Dan’an, and including the correspondence/distance education, there were a total of about three thousand couple hundred apprentices. The apprentices became teachers in the Chinese medical colleges that were established all around China in 1956.
Cheng Dan’an focused on scientifically proving Japanese acumoxa. He was thinking of ways to tie acumoxa medicine and western medicine together. However, he was unable to find the answer and was giving lectures to the students in 1956. After his death, the lecture notes were published as a book “Acupuncture and Moxibustion Lecture Notes鍼灸学術講稿”. Cheng Dan’an’s achievements not only include the fact that he has raised a large number of apprentices but also overcame the arbitrary diagnostic analysis that was theoretically expanding based on the yin-yang five-element theory and raised apprentices who can view from a scientific perspective.
Around the time Nanjing College of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 南京中医学院was established, there were five types of acumoxa textbooks. This was during the period when solid educational policies have not yet been set. Cheng Dan’an was mainly using “Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Therapeutics中国鍼灸治療学” published in 1931. After his death in 1957, his apprentices published, “Study of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 鍼灸学” and based on this, “Acupuncture and Moxibustion Lecture Notes針灸学講義” was published. In 1960, this book was the first unified textbook for Chinese medical colleges. Up to this point, everything was Cheng Dan’an’s thoughts and ideas.