Historical Artifacts and Foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017


Information Resources: Additional Information and Links to Studies

  1. A 2011 paper on Chinese history and theory, and modern scientific evidence, by experts at National Central University, in Chungji, Taiwan, G/F Bioinformatics, in Hong Kong, and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), in Belgium, published in Pflugers Archives, reveals that indeed there is no doubt of the 3000 year history and sound evidence of effects of acupuncture stimulation by doctors at this time in Chinese history, and that a plethora of modern scientific research has confirmed a host of physiological effects. Note too, that actual effects of stimulation, noted as de qi, seen as momentary sensations, local tissue responses, or sensations felt by the physician manipulating the needle, are needed to achieve measurable effects of analgesia and deeper reactions in the central nervous system, therefore correcting the widely reported belief that no sensations should be felt, pleasant or unpleasant, with acupuncture. Mechanistic effects, such as the stimulation of calcium channels by the metal needles, also appear to be the primary effect, an ionic reaction, and numerous secondary reactions in the central nervous system appear to be responsible for the cascade of biochemical and hormonal reactions: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192271/
  2. A common type of historical description of acupuncture, here published in the Oxford Journals of Rheumatology, in 2004, clearly shows the strong Eurocentric bias against the medical specialty, repeating many outright lies and misconceptions about the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here, we note the insistence that the first document that we have to "unequivocally" prove the history dates from about 100 BCE, referring the documents uncovered in 1971 in the Mahwangdui Tombs, and emphasis on the regarding of acupuncture stimulation, which is just one treatment in the TCM specialty, not the whole extent of TCM therapy, waning and considered "superstitious and irrational" in the 17th century, which refers to the official Chinese court of government not liking the use of needle sticks, while the rest of the Chinese civilization still held acupuncture treatment in high regard, and does not imply that the rest of TCM therapy, with herbal, mineral and nutrient medicine, Qi Gong, Tui Na physiotherapy, and patient instruction in Dao Yin practices and therapeutic activities was thought of as "superstitious and irrational". The depiction of acupuncture stimulation in Europe and even the United States, as part of the popular Complementary, or Eclectic, Medicine that combined these Traditional treatments, is downplayed as a "flurry of interest". Present study of the scientifically measured effects of the acupuncture stimulation offers no doubt of proof of the efficacy and this constant and ubiquitous repetition of the history of TCM, even from renowned sources such as Oxford University, where the famed Joseph Needham was affiliated, along with Cambridge University, and extensively documented the actual history of TCM, is in fact "superstitious and irrational" and shows us the strong modern beliefs and bias that are not scientific: http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/5/662.full
  3. In 2009, the United States Academies of Science published a paper researched by Medical Doctors and a Licensed Acupuncturist that presents the modern history of Integrative Medicine and Patient-Centered Care, outlining how Integrative, or Eclectic, Medicine, which integrated Traditional Medicine with modern medical technology, was all but eliminated by lobbying and the federal government in 1910, at a time when historical records show that nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population used integrative medicine and Native American Medicine as a primary health care. Such acknowledgement of this history has been unprecedented in the last half century, but a greater public understanding could increase acceptance of CIM/TCM and reduce the health care crisis we see today, which is creating enormous economic stress and iatrogenic harm: http://www.nationalacademies.o...http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Quality/IntegrativeMed/Integrative%20Medicine%20and%20Patient%20Centered%20Care.pdf
  4. The Historical Timeline of China on key points in its history are available at: http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Han/han.html If you have trouble accessing this website by clicking on this address, the history of the Dynasties can be easily confirmed by a search on Google.
  5. The History of Casting, by the Art Foundry Kunstgiesserei in St. Gallen, Switzerland, documents the relative timeline of metal casting methods http://www.kunstguss.ch/_html/eng/01_casting/01_03_history.html If you have trouble accessing this website by clicking on this address, the history of metal casting can be easily confirmed by a search on Google.
  6. The historical timeline of copper needles dating to the 5000 BC era can be verified by reference to the Gotschenberg copper mining study published in 2000: http://www.comp-archaeology.org/GotschenbergCopperBookSum.htm If you have trouble accessing this website by clicking on this address, the history of metal casting can be easily confirmed by a search on Google.
  7. A 2014 study at the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Guangzhou, China, used functional MRI studies in a randomized controlled human clinical trial to see if there is a measurable difference between stimulation with gold-plated acupuncture needles and TEAS stimulation (transcutaneous electric acupoint stimulation) at a single point, LI4, commonly usd to treat pain. The research showed that TEAS stimulation did reduce brain responses to pain, producing analgesia, but that the stimulation of the actual gold-plated acupuncture needle produced a broader and strong effect, modulating various deep centers of the brain associated with pain sensation, such as the hippocampus, thalamus, and cingulate gyrus. The researchers note that gold and silver acupuncture needles were found as artifacts in the tomb of Liu Sheng, son of Emperor Jing Di, circa 113 BCE, of the Western Han Dynasty:http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1229-gold-acupuncture-needle-mri-pain-discovery
  8. The historical timeline of medicinal wines or alcohol extracts dating to 7000 BC in China can be verified on the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology website at: http://en.www.museum.upenn.edu/new/research/Exp_Rese_Disc/masca/jiahu/jiahu.shtmlThis information in more detail can be accessed at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) website at: http://en.www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=539767 If you have trouble accessing this website by clicking on this address, the history of the China medicinal wine jars from Jiahu can be easily confirmed by a search on Google or Wikipedia.
  9. The historical timeline of steel instrument manufacture dating to at least 300 BC can be found on Wikipedia, History of metallurgy in China, and documentation of the development of fine steel implements in India and China that could have produced early versions of the modern steel alloy acupuncture needle can be found at: http://www.solarnavigator.net/steel.htm If you have trouble accessing this website by clicking on this address, the history of steel manufacture in China can be easily confirmed by a search on Google, or by going to Answers.com and searching History of metallurgy in China.
  10. A modern description of the 10 most essential contributions to our modern scientific world is presented here, with documentation of the earliest known making of steel, sometime in the era of 1600 BC to 256 BCE. The invention of papermaking, mechanical printing, gunpowder from alchemical experiments, the compass, the clock, silk, the drinking of Camelia, or tea, and the making of porcelain were also notable discoveries in ancient Chinese science: http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/en/10Kaleidoscope10695.html
  11. An alternative view of the early history of TCM, written by Imre Galambos in 1996, is presented at: http://www.logoi.com/notes/chinese_medicine.html This theory of the origins of TCM is contrary to the extensive historical findings of the famed historian Joseph Needham.
  12. Another short historical view of the early history of TCM, written by Kath Barlett in Asheville, North Caroline is presented at:
  13. A listing and description of the main famous historical physicians in TCM history is presented here by chinamed.weebly.com: http://chinamed.weebly.com/famous-chinese-doctors.html
  14. Another interesting synopsis of the rich history of TCM is presented here by the Assocation for Traditional Studies: http://www.traditionalstudies.org/historical-timeline-of-chinese-medicine/
  15. A history of early medical texts from a Western, or Eurocentric perspective, which is detailed and fascinating, is available at this history website: http://www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/index.php?category=Medicine
  16. A review of the texts from the Mawanghui tombs unearthed in central China in 1973, by experts at Indiana University, U.S.A. reveals the lack of historical understanding in the West of the development and importance of Daoism, and the schools of thought, particularly Huanglao philosophy, which is integral to the central philosophical concepts that united the systems of medical care, government, the military, and engineering. Here, some of the Huanglao and Daoist texts found in the tomb are translated, but the historians rightly note that there is much debate on the interpretations and translations of these texts, with many Chinese characters in the texts still poorly understood as the written language changed: http://www.indiana.edu/~g380/4.8-Huang-Lao-2010.pdf
  17. A 2015 article form the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, of Stanford University and the Plato Institute, in Stanford, California, offers some historical explanation of the history of TCM in the twentieth century, and elucidates the concepts and philosophy of the specialty: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-phil-medicine/
  18. A direct translation of the biography of the famed Sun Si Miao, perhaps the most famous physician in TCM history, is presented here on the website of the amazing Sabine Wilms, perhaps the only American scholar that provides direct translation of TCM texts, and not the usual flowery and absurd translations seen for centuries now: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/537fb379e4b0fe1778d0f178/t/54937d92e4b0c0a048cf3486/1418952082426/Su%CC%84n+Si%CC%84mia%CC%8Co%E2%80%99s+Biography+in+the+Jiu%CC%80+Ta%CC%81ng+Shu%CC%84+%E8%88%8A%E5%94%90%E6%9B%B8.pdf
  19. The historical TCM translations of the esteemed Sabine Wilms are presented on her website with a request for donations to support her work, a devotion to knowledge, in the tradition of Huang Fu Mi: http://www.happygoatproductions.com/translation-files/
  20. Chapter 13 of China Through the Ages, a 2011 New World Press offering, is presented here, outlining the importance of the 4 great inventions of China that transformed the world, papermaking, printing, gunpowder and the compass, from China. These latter 2 inventions came directly from the early Chinese alchemists, and the history of papermaking and printing clearly shows the problems with our view of the history of Chinese medical science prior to the printing press and paper, with no standardized historical texts available: http://en.nwp.cn/book/551_27013.shtml
  21. Natural Remanent Magnetism (NMR) was being researched and applied to manufacture of specialized acupuncture needles in China in the 1800s, according to historical records cited in The Science and Civilization of China by the famed historian Joseph Needham. This article from the University of Minnesota explains the basic theories of Remanence and Magnetization, and incredibly interesting field of study of Natural Science, also important to such renowned scientists as Sir Isaac Newton: http://www.irm.umn.edu/hg2m/hg2m_f/hg2m_f.html
  22. A 1979 study at the University of Tokyo Geophysical Institute noted that Natural Remanent Magnetization (NMR), studied in relation to the manufacture of acupuncture needles in the 18th and 19th centuries in China, still reveals remarkable information about our world, and is still poorly understood. Here, scientists determined that minerals in deep sea sediment revealed that NMR and saturation isothermal remanent magnetization show that these minerals reveal changes over time in their NMR that reveal periodic changes in cycles of 25,000 years and 18,000 years, and that the periodic changes in this natural magnetic field matches the periodic precessional shift in the Earth's rotation, or the periodic shift in the Earth's axial precession, or precession of the equinoxes, related to very slow rotational changes on the Earth's axis induced by gravitational force. These scientists concluded that a quantum field of effects from natural mineral formation and natural remanent magnetization was apparently responsible for this phenomenon: http://gji.oxfordjournals.org/content/56/2/309.short
  23. A 2003 report on the study of variable magnetic fields in medical treatment, by experts at the Polish Specialist Hospital No. 2 in Bytom outlines the results of 15 years of such study by the institution, revealing that variable magnetic fields affect the endogenous opioid system and nitric oxide activity to achieve pain relief and tissue regeneration, enzyme and hormonal activity, antioxidant activity, and metabolism. The proven application for variable magnetic fields in medicine apply to osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, nasosinusitis, MS, Parkinsonism, spastic paresis after stroke, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy, peptic ulcers, and IBS. Such study has long been derided in standard medicine, but the application of magnetotherapy in conjunction with acupuncture, long explored in the history of TCM, may soon be recognized as evidence-based and integrated into care: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15049208