Nawei's Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

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Acupuncture Texts and Teaching Methods

Another major text, the Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, also made its appearance during the Warring States period. This was written by Huang Fu Mi in the third century BC Together with the Nei Ching Su Wen these two texts form the basis for the anatomical descriptions of the main channels, and some 349 acupuncture points on these channels. The Warring States period saw the coalescence of acupuncture, and indeed most of Chinese thought, in the mold in which it existed until the recent Communist revolution.

During the Sui dynasty (AD 561-618) the first medical college in China was founded. The Imperial Medical College was established to administer medical research and to train doctors. Acupuncture and moxibustion, as well as herbal medicine, formed the basis of the curriculum. According to the Old History of the Tang Dynasty the Imperial College had one professor of acupuncture, ten instructors, twenty needle craftsmen and twenty students. The main teaching texts were the Nei Ching Su Wen and the Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. The bulk of the teaching and practice of traditional Chinese medicine, however, has never been based in formalized medical colleges, although these colleges have been in existence since the Sui dynasty. The medical arts have more often been handed down from father to son, or from master to apprentice. This type of medical apprenticeship has only recently died out, and in fact some of the older acupuncturists in China today have been trained in this way.

The Tang dynasty saw a great flowering of the art of acupuncture, and the Thousand Golden Remedies by Sun Szu-Miao was one of the products of this period. This text was the first to contain clear color charts of the channels with front, side and back views of the body; obviously a great boon to students and teachers of acupuncture. We are aware of the existence of these charts from the references made to them in a number of other texts, but unfortunately they have been lost.