Patient Education

A Brief History of Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine in considered one of the oldest, complete medical systems still practiced today. It is, in fact, the most practiced form of medicine around the world. The history of this medical practice’s origin, dates back over 7000 years ago. The first physical evidence of Chinese Medicine, dates to the Neolithic period of ancient China, more than 3000 years ago. Stone needles, which were called Bian Shi, have been recovered from this era, and were an early form of acupuncture. It is also widely believed that moxibustion also developed around this time as well.

During the Shang Dynasty, 1600-1100 BCE, the metal age was in process, and bronze acupuncture tools and instruments were developed. By the Han Dynasty, 2nd century BCE, metal acupuncture needles, similar to today’s modern needle design, were manufactured.

Possibly the oldest medical text ever written is known as the Huang Di Nei Jing, which dates back about 5000 years. The Huang Di Nei JIng means, The Inner Canon of Internal Medicine, and was compiled by various authors between 475 and 221 BCE. This classic is still used today! Before this book there wasn’t a formal written language, and Chinese Medicine was an oral tradition. As the culture grew and the ability to convey knowledge through text, the medicine was captured on silk scrolls. They were later discovered, buried at ancient, royal grave sites.

Chinese Medicine has evolved over the years. In 1929 Chinese Medicine was outlawed and was legally abolished by the Communist Party. 70 years later it is streamlined and modernized into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and became fully institutionalized and fully government supported as part of the Chinese healthcare system. It holds the same legal status as western medicine, and is practiced in hospitals, alongside western biomedicine. Chinese Medicine has spread and flourished all over the globe, and has been adapted by many cultures.

Chinese Medicine has survived thousands of years, different governments and cultures, and has been seen as the beacon of wellness and preventative health care. Its ability to affect a wide variety of illnesses, bodily system functions, and restore one’s health naturally, makes it an invaluable form of medicine.