Acupuncture and Moxibustion:A brief introduction.

A brief introduction
Acupuncture Icon 01 ✵The Acupuncture and Moxibustion Theories are majorly composed of the theory of acupuncture, the theory of the meridian system, the acupoints, the meridian points, the extra points, the moxibustion and other techniques derived from acupuncture.

Introduction of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

 Acupuncture Icon 02 Acupuncture and Moxibustion is a discipline based on Traditional Chinese medicine theory. It studies meridians, acupoints, and acupuncture-moxibustion methods and discusses the application of acupuncture and moxibustion to the prevention and treatment of diseases. Acupuncture and moxibustion are an important part of Chinese medicine, which includes meridians, acupoints, methods of acupuncture and moxibustion, clinical treatment, medical records of acupuncture and moxibustion, experimental acupuncture and moxibustion, etc. Acupuncture and moxibustion have the advantages of wide indications, obvious curative effect, convenient operation, economic security, and so on. 

 Acupuncture has a long history. It is believed that acupuncture and moxibustion therapy was born around the Neolithic Age. Ancient books keep some legends about the origin of acupuncture, all referring to this era. As recorded in ancient physician Huangfu Mi's book Di Wang Shi Ji(the Century of Kings), "Tai Hao Fu Xi tastes 100 medicines and makes nine needles.", in his works Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing·Xu(A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion·Preface) recorded: "Huang Di consults Qi Bo, Bo Gao, Shao Yu... However, the methods of acupuncture came to birth.".

Formation of the acupuncture theoretical system.

 From the warring states period to the Qin and Han dynasties, the ancient book Huang Di Nei Jing(the Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon) is a sign of the development, the physicians had not only established the theory of collaterals as the core of the theoretical framework, and has effectively, by applying the method of acupuncture and moxibustion prevention techniques for prevention and treatment, and integrated theory with practice, developed and updated theory in practice, initially formed a unique acupuncture theory system composed of theory, method, prescriptions, acupuncture point, etc.

 From the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States period to the Qin and Han Dynasties, the influence of ancient philosophy promoted the deepening of acupuncture and moxibustion from practical experience to theoretical level. Acupuncture tools developed from the stone needle, bone needle, and bamboo needle to metal needle, thus expanding the adaptation range of acupuncture therapy. According to the historical book Zuo Zhuan(the Commentary of Zuo), physicians during the Spring and Autumn and warring States Periods were good at acupuncture and moxibustion. Bian Que, a famous physician in the pre-Qin Dynasty, would like to give the prince treatment with his dead syncope(cadaverous coma), let his disciple Zi Yang take the Wai San Yang Wu Hui and make the prince wake up, and make his disciple Zi bao apply moxibustion on the flanks sides, and the prince could sit up. It proves that acupuncture, moxibustion, and medicine ironing have been widely used in the treatment of various diseases in the pre-Qin period. Among the medical manuscripts unearthed from the Han Dynasty tomb no.3, Mawangdui, Changsha in 1973, there are two ancient works on the meridians, which record the circulation of eleven meridians, diseases, and moxibustion treatment. According to the naming characteristics of the foot arm and Yin Yang, they are named as Zu Bi Shi Yi Mai Jiu Jing(the eleven arteries of foot arm moxibustion classics) and Yin Yang Shi Yi Mai Jiu Jing(the eleven meridians of Yin and Yang moxibustion classics), these two books are the early appearance of the core meridian theory of acupuncture and moxibustion theory.

 Acupuncture Icon 03 The ancient works Nei Jing(the Inner Canon) has a fine discussion on the theory of meridians, not only have a clear record on the courses of twelve meridians, collaterals belong to the zang-fu viscera and the main disease, but also recorded the distribution, function, and direction of the eight extraordinary meridians, internal branches of twelve channels, fifteen connecting collaterals, musculature of twelve meridians, skin areas of the twelve channels, also recorded the related root of the knot, the root cause and symptoms of a disease, pathway of Qi, the four seas. There are also many treatises on the theory of acupoints in Nei Jing, which recorded about 160 names of commonly used acupoints, and more detailed exposition on specific acupoints theory, especially comprehensive exposition on the theory of five-shu acupoints. In Nei Jing, the method of needling is discussed in details, and the methods of replenishing and draining are proposed, such as puncturing along or against the direction of meridians, strengthening and reducing by slow-quick needling, reinforcing or reducing by needling in cooperation with patient respiration, and opening and closing(reinforcing by pressing the punctured hole after withdrawing the needle and attenuating by enlarging the punctured hole while withdrawing the needle). In terms of treatment, the principle of treatment is discussed, such as "sthenia requiring purgation, treating deficiency with tonification". Many specific methods are put forward in the aspect of acupoint selection and matching, such as converging points and front-mu points, selection of distal acupoints, and so on. More than 100 diseases were recorded in Nei Jing, most of which were treated with acupuncture and moxibustion.

 The ancient works Nan Jing(the Difficult Classics) is a classical medical book comparable to Nei Jing(the Inner Canon). It is said that it was written by Bian Que. The content of the book is brief, and the discussion is subtle, which further enriches the theoretical system of acupuncture and moxibustion. Among them, the discussion on the eight extra meridians and the primordial Qi, supplemented the short part of the Neijing. At the same time, it also puts forward the eight influential points(the Eight Strategic Nerve Points), and explains the Five Shu Points in details according to the five elements theory. Zhang Zhongjing, his book Shang Han Za Bing Lun, not only left many brilliant models in terms of prescriptions but also had many unique insights and contributions in acupuncture. In his works, there are 69 treatises directly related to acupuncture and moxibustion, advocating the combination of acupuncture and medicine and the treatment based on syndrome differentiation. The lost works Ming Tang Kong Xue Zhen Jiu Zhi Yao(Ming Tang Acupuncture and Moxibustion treatment of Points, also known as Huang Di Ming Tang Jing, or The Yellow Emperor's Ming Tang Classics), should be a monograph on acupoints in this period. Famous for his surgery, physician Hua Tuo was also good at acupuncture and moxibustion. He founded the famous "Hua Tuo Jiaji Point" and wrote a related book Zhen Zhong Jiu Ci Jing(the Moxibustion and Acupuncture classics in the pillow), the book was lost. A famous physician named Cao Xi who lived during the Three Kingdom period was good at moxibustion too, and his book Cao Shi Jiu Jing(Cao's Moxibustion Classic) was also lost.

Development of the acupuncture theoretical system.

 From the Wei and Jin dynasties, the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the Sui and Tang dynasties to the Five Dynasties, more than 700 years. With the development of politics, economy, and culture in this period, the theory and technology of acupuncture and moxibustion were improved, and numerous famous medical books appeared, which promoted the development of the theoretical system of acupuncture and moxibustion.

 Portrait of Huangfu Mi During the Ganlu Period of the Wei and Jin Dynasties (256~260 A.D.), herbalist Huangfu Mi collected the contents of acupuncture and moxibustion in the three books, Su Wen(the Plain Question), Lingshu(the Spiritual Pivot or Divine Axis) and Ming Tang Kong Xue Zhen Jiu Zhi Yao, and selected contents of acupuncture and moxibustion by selecting the essential treatise and points, and compiled the book Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing(A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion). The book is composed of 12 volumes and 128 articles, recorded total of 349 acupoints, compiled in the order according to the Zang-Fu viscera, Qi and blood, meridians and acupoints, pulse diagnosis, method of needling and moxibustion, and diseases of clinical departments, is one of the earliest acupuncture books with a relatively complete system, is a summary after Nei Jing, played an important role in the dimensions. Ge Hong, a famous physician in the Jin Dynasty, wrote Zhou Hou Bei Ji Fang(Prescriptions for Emergent Reference, or Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergency), which recorded 109 acupuncture prescriptions, 99 of which were moxibustion prescriptions, so that moxibustion was further developed. His wife, Bao Gu, was also good at moxibustion. The Xu Xi family from the late Jin Dynasty to the Northern and Southern Dynasties was skilled in medicine for generations. Xu Qiufu, Xu Wenbo, and Xu Shu-xiang were all famous figures in the history of acupuncture.

 From the Sui to the early Tang Dynasty, renowned physicians Zhen Quan and Sun Simiao were both proficient in various branches of traditional Chinese medicine. Zhen Quan wrote works Zhen Fang(Prescriptions of Acupuncture), Zhen Jing Chao(Acupuncture Classics), Ming Tang Ren Xing Tu(the Humanoid Drawings of Mingtang), etc. Sun Simiao ever compiled works Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang(the Invaluable Prescriptions for Emergencies), Qian Jin Yi Fang(the Supplement to the Invaluable Prescriptions), firstly recorded the ashi point(ashi acupuncture point, living acupoint), finger-length measurement, widely collected acupuncture clinical experience from previous generations, and draw the Ming Tang San Ren Tu(The Three Humanoid Drawings of Mingtang)", "the twelve meridians are in five colors, the eight extra meridians are in green, a total of six hundred and fifty acupoints of the three humanoid drawings.", it is the first color meridians in the history. In addition, Yang Shangshan of the Tang Dynasty, based on the book Huang Di Ming Tang Jing(the Ming Tang Classics of The Yellow Emperor), wrote a book named Huang Di Nei Jing Ming Tang Lei Cheng(the Ming Tang Classification and Categories of the Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon), listed the acupoints according to the order of the twelve meridians and the eight extra meridians. Physician Wang Tao compiled Wai Tai Mi Yao(Medical Secrets of an Official), recorded many moxibustion methods of various schools. In this period, there were also works on specific diseases. For example, Gu Zheng Bing Zhi Fang(Moxibustion Prescription for Bone Steaming) by Cui Zhi-ti of Tang Dynasty introduced the acupuncture and moxibustion method of treating consumption. The book Xin Ji Bei Ji Jiu Jing(the Newly Collected Acupuncture Classics for Emergency) published before year 862 A.D., is the earliest medical book with block printing technique, which focuses on the moxibustion treatment for urgent cases. The Imperial Medical Academy of Tang administers medical education, with four medical specialties and one pharmacy specialty, acupuncture is one branch of the medical specialties. There is "one doctor of acupuncture, one assistant of acupuncture, ten acupuncturists, 20 acupuncture-workers, and 20 acupuncture disciples". It established the school education of acupuncture and moxibustion.

 Portrait of Wang Weiyi During the Song, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties, the extensive application of printing technology promoted the accumulation of medical literature and accelerated the spread and development of acupuncture and moxibustion. With the support of the Northern Song government, Wang Weiyi, a famous acupuncturist, re-examined and clarified the positions and its meridians of 354 acupoints, supplemented the main therapeutic indications of acupoints, and wrote the book Tong Ren Shu Xue Zhen Jiu Tu Jing(the Illustrated Manual of Acupoints on the Bronze Figure) in the year 1026 A.D., the engraved edition was promulgated by the government the second year. In the year 1027 A.D., Wang Weiyi designed two bronze models of human beings with internal viscera and meridians inscribed on them for teaching and testing purposes. Wang Zhizhong, an acupuncturist in the Southern Song Dynasty, wrote the book Zhen Jiu Zi Sheng Jing(the Classic of Nourishing life with Acupuncture and Moxibustion), which emphasized practical experience and exerted great influence on later generations.

 Portrait of Hua Shou In the Yuan Dynasty, the famous medical scientist, Hua Shou, studied the circulation of meridians and collaterals, and their relationship with the acupoints, based on his study of the book Jin Lan Xun Jing Qu Xue Tu Jie(the Golden Orchid Illustrations of Selecting Acupoint along Channel), compiled the book Shi Si Jing Fa Hui(the Elaboration of the Fourteen Meridian), for the first time named the Ren channel, the Du channel, and the twelve meridians together as the fourteen meridians, which further developed the theory of meridians and acupoints. During this period, there were many famous herbalists and physicians who were good at acupuncture, and many books were written. Books such as Bei Ji Jiu Fa(Moxibustion for Urgent Treatment), Yong Ju Shen Mi Jiu Jing(Moxibustion Classics for Mysterious ulcer), Gao Huang Shu Xue Jiu Fa(Moxibustion and Acupoint of the inter cardiodia-phragmatic part), marked the further development of acupuncture in various branches. In the early period of the Southern Song Dynasty, physician Xi Hong and his family devoted to acupuncture for generations. The book Xi Hong Fu(the Poems of Xi Hong) handed down from generation to generation, paid special attention to acupuncture. At the same time, physician Dou Cai wrote the book Bian Que Xin Shu(the Heart Book of Bian Que), and highly recommended the method of burning moxibustion, dozens of strong even hundreds of strong moxibustion each time. At that time, Yang Jie and Zhang Ji personally observed the autopsy and advocated using anatomical knowledge to guide acupuncture point selection. In the Jin Dynasty, physician He Ruoyu and Yan Mingguang, who wrote the book Zi Wu Liu Zhu Zhen Jing(the midnight-noon ebb-flow acupuncture classics), advocated the principle of acupoint selection on time. Dou Hanqing, a famous physician in the Jin and Yuan dynasties, advocated not only the midnight-noon ebb-flow, but also eight-methods ebb-flow, and the principle of acupoint selection on time, the works compiled by him named Biao You Fu(the poems of marking the hidden) was one of the most famous acupuncture songs.

Introduction of the Moxibustion.

 Moxibustion is a kind of thermotherapy, which is closely related to fire. Moxibustion sprouts with the application of fire and develop continuously in its application practice. When the ancient people were heating by burning fire, they occasionally got rid of some diseases due to being accidentally burned by fire, and thus got the revelation that burning can cure diseases, which is the origin of moxibustion. The word "灸(moxibustion)" is interpreted as "灼(burning)" in ancient works Shuo Wen Jie Zi, which means burning body for treatment. At the earliest, branches and firewood could be used for burning, ironing, burning, and scalding to eliminate the disease. Later, Artemisia leaf(moxa) was gradually selected as the main moxibustion material. Ai, or Artemisia vulgaris grows everywhere since ancient times in China, because of its scent, nature warm and flammable, moderate fire when burning, then replace the branches, and became the best material for moxibustion. According to ancient works Zuo Zhuan(Tso Chuan: a commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals), in the tenth year of Duke Cheng of Lu (581 B.C.), Duke Jing of the Jin Kingdom fell ill. The Tai Yi(Imperial Physician) Yi Yan of Qin came to treat him. He said, "The disease could not be treated. It locates above the Huang(the region between heart and diaphragm) and below the Gao(the intracardial space), could not use moxibustion, could not use acupuncture." In the Han Dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing's works Shang Han Za Bing Lun also had treatises with records of "can use fire" and "can not use fire", and the fire he said also refers to moxibustion.

 The word "灸(moxibustion)" was first mentioned in the extant works in Zhuangzi·Dao Zhi(Chuang Tzu·Robber Zhi). For example, Confucius persuaded Liu Xiazhi that "Qiu has no disease and moxibustion himself". The ancient works Meng Zi·Li Lou(Meng Tzu·Li Lou) also recorded: "now people want to be the king, similar to seven years of disease, seek for three years of moxa", apparently also refers to moxibustion. It can be inferred that moxibustion was quite popular in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. Among the silk manuscripts unearthed in 1973, 3 articles record meridian and moxibustion, which are the earliest precious documents before the works Nei Jing(the Inner Canon). In medical works, moxibustion was first recorded in Nei Jing(the Inner Canon),"In the north, people live in a high land where the heaven and the earth are closed, the wind is cold, the folk lives in the wild and milk is taken, the viscera is cold and full of diseases, they should be treated with moxibustion. Therefore, moxibustion is also prescribed from the north." It shows that the emergence of moxibustion is closely related to the living habits, conditions, and disease characteristics of people in northern China.

 After that, many works on acupuncture appeared in successive dynasties, such as Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing(A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, year 259) by Huangfu Mi in the Jin Dynasty, and the Classic Of acupuncture and moxibustion recorded and recommended in Qian Jin Yao Fang(the Invaluable Prescriptions for Emergencies) by Sun Simiao in the Tang Dynasty, Wang Tao's works Wai Tai Mi Yao(the Medical Secret of an Official) recommended moxibustion without acupuncture, indicating the importance of moxibustion. Since then, attention has been paid to moxibustion from Wang Zhizhong's works Zhen Jiu Zi Sheng Jing(the Classic of Nourishing life with Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the year 1220) in the Song Dynasty, Gao Wu's works Zhen Jiu Ju Ying(A Collection of Gems of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the year 1529) in the Ming Dynasty, Yang Jizhou's works Zhen Jiu Da Cheng(the Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the year 1601), and Liao Runhong's Zhen Jiu Ji Cheng(Integration of acupuncture and moxibustion) in the Qing Dynasty. There are many monographs of moxibustion in the past dynasties, for example, in the 3rd century AD there are Cao Shi Jiu Fang(the Cao's Moxibustion Methods), In the Tang Dynasty there are Gu Zheng Bing Jiu Fang(the Moxibustion Prescription for bone steaming), in the Song Dynasty there are Huang Di Ming Tang Jiu Jing(the Moxibustion classics of the Yellow Emperor), Jiu Gao Huang Shu Xue Fa(the Moxibustion method for infracardio-supradiaphragmatic space acupoints), Bei Ji Jiu Fa(Method of Preparation for Emergency moxibustion), in later dynasties works Yong Ju Shen Mi Jiu Jing(the Secret Moxibustion Classics for carbuncle-abscess), Tai Yi Shen Zhen(the Miraculous Acupuncture of Tai Yi), Shen Jiu Jing Lun(the Miraculous Classics of Moxibustion), etc.

 Moxibustion treatment, initially the ancient people used direct moxibustion, and moxa cone is larger, more strong numbers (the time for burning a moxa cone), such as Taiping Shenghui Fang(the Peaceful Holy Benevolent Prescriptions) pointed out: "Although the numbers are enough, sore rotten with pus, the disease is relieved; If the sores do not break, the disease will not recover." At the same time, the ancient people highly valued the application of festering moxibustion for health care and disease prevention. The Modern moxibustion method has made great progress, to reduce the pain of patients receiving moxibustion, the use of small moxibustion cone with fewer numbers, and evolved a variety of moxibustion methods, such as moxa stick moxibustion, medicinal stick moxibustion, warm moxibustion, warm needle moxibustion, etc. According to the different conditions, indirect moxibustion is often used, separated by ginger slices, garlic slices, salt, lobster sauce cakes, aconite cakes, and so on. Moxibustion has made a great contribution to human health care.

 For thousands of years, acupuncture and moxibustion medicine has not only played an important role in the health care of the Chinese people but also spread abroad for a long time and made certain contributions to the health care of other countries. In about the sixth century, acupuncture was introduced to Korea, and the book Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing(A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion) was used as a schoolbook for teaching. At year 562 A.D., the book Ming Tang Tu(The Illustrations of Ming Tang) and Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing(A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion) were introduced to Japan, year 701 A.D., acupuncture was introduced as part of medical education in Japan. Since the late 17th century, acupuncture spread to Europe. At present, more than 120 countries and regions have carried out acupuncture and moxibustion medical treatment, scientific study, and education. The WHO(World Health Organization) recommends acupuncture to countries around the world for the treatment of 43 diseases. Today, the unique acupuncture and moxibustion of China has become an important part of the world medical science and has produced a positive and wide impact.
  • 1.Acupuncture and Moxibustion:A brief introduction.

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