The Development of Acupuncture in Bellingham to Medicine and Science

Acupuncture in Bellingham also has its history. The first ever known text for acupuncture is the Nei Ching Su Wen. ¬†Ever since it came out, there has been a great deal of controversy about the exact origins and authorship of this book. The Nei Ching Su Wen is divided into two main sections, the Su Wen, or simple questions and the Ling Shu which comprises the difficult questions. It is known by a variety of alternative titles such as the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, or the Canon of Medicine, however all these titles refer to the same basic text.

The first section of the Nei Ching Su Wen involves a talk between the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, and his Minister, Ch’i Pai. This discussion lays down the philosophical origin of traditional Chinese medicine, and makes the Nei Ching Su Wen more of a dissertation on health and disease rather than a textbook of medicine. Early Greek texts on medicine are mainly of interest to the medical historian to a certain extent than the practicing physician. In this case for example, Hippocrates does make many outstanding philosophical and sensible comments about disease and the doctor-patient relationship, but for the most part these texts are recipe books for an assortment of ill-defined diseases. The Nei Ching Su Wen is undying and deals almost wholly with philosophical concepts, many of which seem to be as imperative today as they were 2,000 years ago.

One of the greatest living experts on Chinese scientific philosophy, Professor Joseph Needham, describes some aspects of the early Chinese system of science as mediaeval and retrogressive. He feels that many of these concepts have unclear explanations that develop the obvious potential of Chinese medicine. There is unquestionably an element of truth in this but there is still a great deal of practical and priceless information within the conventional Chinese approach to medicine.

The Western doctor observes the truth first and uses the present physiological theories to explain them. Chinese medicine is based on a much wider world view, which is described in the Nei Ching Su Wen, and these ideas are woven into an absolute and unbroken system based on a philosophy dissimilar from that of modern Western medicine. The concepts of Yin and Yang, and the number five, are two of the more significant ideas that pervade much of traditional Chinese scientific thought.

Yin and Yang are contradictory aspects of the material world. Like night and day they are mutually dependent, and the subsistence of one end of the range presupposes the continuation of the other aspect; i.e. Yin is needed for Yang to exist, and vice versa. At first the idea of Yin and Yang seems very basic; it is not, it describes the primary fluctuating balance of nature. A contemporary idea that pre-supposes the existence of Yin and Yang is ecology, one of the main values of which is that the forces of the environment must be in a fluctuating balance.

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