(5 pages total)
Page 2 - Acupuncture FAQ
But Not Everyone Was Convinced
The rulers of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) issued a decree banning Acupuncture practice because they felt as though it was inferior to medicines being introduced by invading Western cultures. But by that time, it was too late... the people were convinced that acupuncture worked and it was in widespread use among the common people as well as the wealthy and educated. In fact, China's contact with other foreign countries at that time enabled acupuncture and herbal medicine to be exported to other countries. A jesuit priest brought acupuncture to Europe via France when he wrote "Les Secrets de la Medicine des Chinois," in 1671 and a German, Dr. E. Kampfer, introduced acupuncture to his country in 1683 with a book entitled "The Medicine of China", which was published in France.
Another attempt at banning acupuncture occurred in 1920s by the Kuomintang (Nationalist) government, which banned all Chinese medicine. But again, in spite of setbacks, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and other forms of traditional medicine (taijiquan, qigong, etc.) remained popular among the people who relied on it. By the 1900s, Chinese medicine had already spread to Japan and other nearby countries as well as Arabian and European countries who traded with China.
When the Communist government took over in the 1940s, Mao Tsetung advocated the use of both Chinese and Western treatments. Acupuncture played a major role in the healthcare of the Chinese people and soldiers during their war with Japan and their internal struggles. It was cheap, effective and could be used almost anywhere.
In the 1950s, clinics, research organizations and colleges specializing in Chinese medicine were established in Beijing and other major cities throughout China. It was this East-West approach that developed "Acupuncture Anesthesia" which is widely recognized in the West. Although the Communist government helped revive traditional Chinese medicine and standardize it, much of the Daoist-based theory was eliminated and regarded as superstitious. As in previous attempts to ban or control the art, the common people and those who practiced Taijiquan and Qigong in the quiet corners of the parks keep the theories alive for future generations.
In the United States, Franlin Bache, M.D. a great grandson of Benjamin Franklin, wrote an article, "Case illustrative of Remial Effects of Acupuncture" showing the benefits of the art, and in 1916, Sir William Osler, M.D. wrote an article recommending acupuncture for treatment for lumbago in the "Principles and Practice of Medicine". Despite an occasional article, Acupuncture remained rare until 1971 when James Reston, a reporter for the New York Times accompanied President Nixon on a trip to China where they witnessed an appendoctomy using Acupuncture Anesthesia.
There are mountains of anecdotal evidence that Acupuncture and Acupressure is effective on various different types of illness. But despite many efforts, Western science has never been able to reconcile how Acupuncture works. They can prove "that" it works, but not "how" it works...so many doctors an researchers remain skeptic. Since Acupuncture is based on Daoist (Taoist) oriental theories like "yin" and "yang" and "the five elements", a Chinese diagnosis may seem strange and unprofessional to Western physicians.
The Chinese have less problem understanding how Acupuncture works because their culture, philosophy, and even their language makes explanations of "vital energy" or "Qi" within the body plausible, and for the most part, unquestioned. For the Chinese, "Qi" is no more mysterious than electricity. Anything that helps "move" this vital energy when it is stagnant will help bring the body back into balance or homeostatis, thus allowing it to heal.
• --Next Page
Return to Article Index