Modified and translated by CFJA
This is the tenth 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 was about acupuncture therapy from the ancient times to the Asuka period (592 – 710).
What is Eastern Medicine? 02 was about acupuncture therapy until the beginning of the Edo period (1603 – 1868).
What is Eastern Medicine? 03 was about moxibustion therapy until the beginning of the Edo period.
What is Eastern Medicine? 04 was about acumoxa therapy after the Edo period.
What is Eastern Medicine? 05 was about China from the ancient times to 1960s.
What is Eastern Medicine? 06 was about how TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) was established in China in 1960.
What is Eastern Medicine? 07 was about “What is TCM?”
What is Eastern Medicine? 08 was about how Japanese acumoxa techniques have been transmitted and adapted in China.
What is Eastern Medicine? 09 was about acupuncture techniques practiced in China.
This time, What is Eastern Medicine? 10 will be about Japanese acupuncture techniques that have been brought and adapted in China.
The last blog was very specialized. Thank you to those who read it until the end. This one will also be very specialized.
The reason why we are writing a blog with very specialized content is to convey that Japanese acumoxa therapy is the most advanced, not only compared to China but compared to the world.
Dr. Seino has visited China more than ten times to study and went to institutions such as Beijing University of Chinese Medicine 北京中医学院 (now Beijing University of Chinese Medicine 北京中医薬大学), Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 上海中医学院 (now Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 上海中医薬大学), Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 遼寧中医学院 (now Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 現遼寧中医薬大学). He also visited neighbouring countries such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia, European countries such as France, England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, North America such as the United States and Canada, Central American countries such as Mexico and Nicaragua, and much more. He has visited places all over the world more than 100 times to investigate the actual situation of acumoxa therapy worldwide. Now that he has surpassed the age of 60, he has been diligently writing a column every month to share what he has learned and experienced for future generations. If you are interested in acumoxa and its situation all around the world, we invite you to visit the homepage of Seino Acupuncture and Chiropractic Clinic at seino-1987.jp and check out the ‘Dictionary of Eastern Medicine’ → ‘From Japan to the World’.
(The content from here is the same as the last blog. Please read it from here if you are reading our blog for the first time.)
In China, herbal and acumoxa therapy has been practiced as a national medicine from the Han dynasty, through the Sui, Tang, Yuan, and Song dynasties, to the Qing dynasty. In 1822, the court physician committed 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). Prohibition of acumoxa therapy on the emperor, consequently, led to prohibition amongst the 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, and it became difficult to transmit as a medicine to the next generations 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 was Cheng Dan’an 承淡安. He studied in Japan for eight months, from 1934 to 1935, to investigate the advanced education of the Japanese acumoxa. 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. After returning to China, he attempts to integrate the educational content from the acumoxa school in Japan. In 1956, Jiangsu College of Chinese Medicine 江蘇省中医進修学校 (Currently, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine 南京中医薬大学) was built in Nanjing, which indicated the official revival of acumoxa therapy as the national medicine in China. The first president was Cheng Dan’an and his educational policies became the basis for the education of Chinese medicine in China.
(The new content is from here.)
Cheng Dan’an introduced the directly-below needle insertion method 直下進針法 (Jp. chokkashin shinpo) in 1955, supporting hand needle insertion method 押手進針法 (Jp. oshideshin shinpo ) in 1957. Both methods involve seppi 切皮 (piercing the skin) after placing the needle on the skin. Cheng Dan’an categorized the manipulation methods, which are performed after the needle is inserted into the skin, into four types:
1. Activation needle method 興奮針法 (Jp. kofun shinpo)
2. Suppression needle method 抑制針法 (Jp. yokusei shinpo)
3. Reflection needle method 反射針法 (Jp. hansha shinpo)
4. Induction needle method 誘導針法 (Jp. yudo shinpo)
This was introduced in the last blog, What is Eastern Medicine? 09. The four manipulation methods are all meant to induce vibration after needle insertion. When Cheng Dan’an was studying in Japan, he learned that there are many acupuncture insertion methods. In Japan, there is a method that uses a tube, called “shinkan 針管 (guide tube)”, for needle insertion. This method does not exist in China. Although Waichi Sugiyama 杉山和一, who invented kanshinho 管鍼法 (tube acupuncture technique), created 96 techniques, Cheng Dan’an did not implement any technique that utilizes shinkan 針管 – it is not certain as to why he did not but probably he thought that people in China would not accept it.
Dr. Seino thinks that shinkan 針管 (guide tube)…
- Was invented for blind practitioners to stabilize acupuncture techniques.
- Reduces pain upon needle insertion (seppi 切皮 piercing the skin).
- It is difficult to manipulate the needles when using the guide tube.
Explanation for point 1.
Cheng Dan’an is sighted. He might have not felt the necessity.
Explanation for point 2.
The Chinese do not bother feeling the pain upon needle insertion that much. Back then, there were many farmers with much thicker skin than the Japanese, thus using a thin needle was unfavoured because it bends easily. For this reason, Dr. Seino presumes that Cheng Dan’an chose not to implement an acupuncture method that utilizes a guide tube and thin needles (kanshinho 管鍼法 tube acupuncture technique).
Explanation for point 3.
The twisting needle method 撚針法 (Jp. nenshinho/nenshinpo), an insertion method that uses a thick needle and is practiced in China, is easy to manipulate. In addition, oshide 押手 (supporting needle hand) is not used. Cheng Dan’an might have thought that the kanshinho/kanshinpo 管鍼法 (tube acupuncture technique), which requires hand dexterity, would hinder the education of Chinese doctors practicing acupuncture therapy.
As a side story, here’s an interpretation: since the guide tube was invented by the Japanese, Cheng Dan’an was hesitant to implement it in China because China was controlled by the Communist Party of China which was against Japan (in a war with Japan).