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The origins history and practice of oriental medicine

They had developed writing and had religion: Ancestor worship was very important and actually is still in China. Rituals with ancestral bronzes were performed. Shang already had high-tech bronze casting: Animals were accorded great respect for their power; this shows in art. The Shang believed illness resulted from: Questions were asked by writing them on "oracle bones", usually scapula bones or tortoise shells, which were then heated and the cracks were "divined", in other words, read by a shaman to find an answer.

  • Su Wen Essential Questions;
  • Today, scientists continue to identify compounds in Chinese herbal remedies that may be useful in the development of new therapeutic agents applicable in Western medicine;
  • These rites were celebrated in the spring and fall for many years;
  • In classical TCM herbal formulas, each herb has a different purpose or role to help the body achieve harmony;
  • His cook explained that he simply relaxed, and non-purposefully allowed the knife to do its work;
  • These subdivisions differ from each other primarily in the relative amounts of air and blood contained in them.

Questions ranged from "Will it rain? Throughout early history, therefore, we have the problem of not knowing the medicine of the simple folk, since those doing the writing were educated and wealthy. As late as 6th century BC physicians were still linked with shamanism. Demonology and shamanism persisted through the next Dynasty Chou: Even today the "Six Evils" or six kinds of "perverse energy" persists in TCM theory, except now they are environmental energies, i.

In some areas of the East, shamanistic medicine survived almost intact, e. Chou Dynasty 1122-403 BC A high point of Chinese civilization, but during the Eastern Chou period 722-481centralized control declined, local aristocracy began fighting, among themselves, and social order degenerated into the Warring States Period, a time of great instability. However, the unstable times produced great thinkers: Confucius was born in 551 BC. Different philosophies dating back into antiquity were investigated for possible solutions to the present problems.

This was the time of the "Hundred Schools", referring to the many philosophical schools of thought that prevailed.

  • What surgery was done was usually carried out by a lower grade of medical worker;
  • Huangdi, illustration from Li-tai ku-jen hsiang-tsan 1498 edition ; in the collection of the University of Hong Kong.

Much was actually recorded during this period of time, incorporating different philosophical ideas. This is the most important of the medical classics. Shortly thereafter, China was unified again under the harsh and repressive Chin Dynasty. There follows a brief examination of two major philosophical influences that influenced thinking and medicine during this crucial period.

We know about him from the "Analects", a series of passages written by his disciples. Brief biography He wanted to be an advisor to a monarch. He traveled around in search of a monarch, but no one wanted his ideas; he was too moral. Everyone wanted pragmatic techniques for use in winning the wars.

He therefore became a teacher. Not until 200 years after his death were his ideas taken seriously. Eventually his ideas became the imperial creed. Confucius ideas Social unrest was all the origins history and practice of oriental medicine to the breakdown of respect.

Respect for the hierarchy familial and imperial. He believed one should behave as one is supposed to according to one's station in life, and not to be ambitious. He envisaged a harmonious society kept together by a tight hierarchical system of precisely defined social roles and mutual obligations. The ruler was supposed to be a sage, who ruled by example: People should be bound by respect for rituals li and customs.

He stressed honor, the importance of being a gentleman-scholar Jun Zilearning, especially from history. He stressed also "ren", in other words, compassion and humane action. He emphasized filial piety and the Five Relationships a system of social mores that would establish social order.

For example, ruler-subject, father-son, husband-wife, older brother-younger brother, friend-friend. Finally, he stressed moderation. They do not put their state in order only when revolt is underway, but before an insurrection occurs. In other words, health would be maintained by moderation in lifestyle.

The Five Relationships also influenced medicine: Husband-Wife imbalance which is where the pulses at one wrist are too strong and at the other wrist too weak: Certain techniques are also called Mother-Son and Father-Son technique.

The Zang Fu Organs are given names of "officials".

Traditional Chinese medicine

For exampleLiver is the "commander" of the armed forces. The Heart is the Supreme Ruler, the Stomach is the official in charge of public granaries. The court body runs well when all the officials organs interact harmoniously.

Of paramount importance is the Supreme Ruler or Emperor Heart. If the Emperor is disturbed, the whole court all the other organs will suffer. This reflects the Confucian way of thinking, the Supreme Ruler has to remain in perfect balance, and to rule by example.

Even today, it is considered by many that the Heart is to be treated first if it is affected e. Taoism Taoism is not a religion, more a philosophy based on the concept of Tao. Sometimes said to mean "the way", or something like unknowable, unimaginable, source of all phenomena. Before Tao there was chaos, then suddenly Tao manifested as the universe comparable to the modern "big bang" theory.

Tao expresses through the duality of Yin-Yang. Tao is like the eternal primeval law of nature. He wrote the Tao Te Ching: The Tao Te Ching is a composite text, probably dating from 3rd century BC the same time that the major medical classic, the Nei Ching, was officially the origins history and practice of oriental medicine down but Lao Tzu has had his traditional dates fixed to make him slightly senior to Confucius i.

It is impossible to know the exact birth date. The best introduction to Taoism is to read some Taoist literature. The way the ancient Taoists' would teach would be via observation of the nature, in the hopes of obtaining a direct grasp of the truth.

Most mystical or inner-directed spiritual paths concur with this. The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Origins & History of Chinese Medicine

Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. This source is called darkness. The gateway to all understanding. Taoism espouses "wu-wei" which means not doing, or non-purposive action.

Being without plans, going with the flow. Not surprisingly, Taoism was a popular philosophy mainly with the aristocracy!

To seek learning one pains day by day To seek the Tao one loses day by day Losing and yet losing some more Till one has reached Wu-Wei Do nothing and yet there is nothing that is not done.

To win the world one must attend to nothing. When one attends to this and that He will not win the world.

Modern developments

Prince Wen-Hui was visiting his kitchen one day when he happened to pause and observe his cook slicing through joints of meat. He remarked upon the deft and smooth way his cook worked, the blade hardly seeming to touch the bone as it cut.

His cook explained that he simply relaxed, and non-purposefully allowed the knife to do its work. In this way, he became one with his knife, which slid through the spaces between the joints, never touching the bone. He explained that he had used the same knife for many years and it had never needed sharpening. The prince was astounded at his cook's story, and exclaimed that although he was an avowed Taoist, he had truly learned something fundamental about the philosophy from his cook.

Taoists advocated simplicity, living according to the Tao, according to the laws of nature. The Chinese medical classics speak with reverence of sages of ancient times, who knew how to live according to the Tao, hence they lived very long lives. Whereas nowadays 3rd century BC people had lost the ability to live in harmony with nature, did not adhere to the principles of moderation, and hence were unhealthy.

One wonders what they would say about the 20th century! Taoism eventually split into two camps: Earlier Taoist classics, however, continued to be read.

Taoism had a strong influence on medicine: In the winter time, one should go to bed early and get up late, and not waste one's energy, for winter is the time of conservation and storage a time where Yin is strongest. In the summertime one should rise early and go to bed late and "act as if one loved everything outdoors", for Summer is the time of maximum Yang, and people's naturally have more energy to expend.

Let's return to the Warring States period, the time of great social unrest where uncertainty about personal the origins history and practice of oriental medicine collective existence, increasing chaos and amorality led to the search for a lasting philosophy that might change things. The time of the "hundred schools". The medicine that developed during this period of intense philosophical activity is the central part of what traditional Chinese medicine is today. It has been referred to as the medicine of systematic correspondences.

Medicine of Systematic Correspondences The fundamental principles of this medicine arose from divergent influences, including Taoist and Confucian ideas. The Naturalist School was responsible for systematically elaborating the concepts and theories of Yin-Yang, which had been an ancient idea that was now fully developed and recorded.

  • Zhang described typhoid clearly and recommended the use of only a few potent drugs in treating it;
  • The elements of anatomy in the Huangdi neijing underlie the discussion of diseases.