Chapter

The Birth of Chinese Medicine

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0014
The Birth of Chinese Medicine

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This chapter sheds light on a completely innovative etiology (theory of the causation of illness) that is described in the writings of the Yellow Thearch. Demons and spirits are not considered at all and the focus is on environmental factors as the trigger of disease. Some of these triggers include warmth, dryness, fire, heat, wind, cold, and dampness, which are not the cause of disease. Emotions are the source of illness. Passionate expressions of emotion weaken the organism, opening it to intruders from the environment. Cold, heat, wind, and dampness cannot harm the organism when basically normal behavior is practiced. This new medicine looked at dietary strategies for prevention and therapy. The focus was on two procedures. One of these was bloodletting and another was the pinprick. Bloodletting was an ancient therapeutic technique for removing quite a few of the invaders splashing about in the blood in the organism's vessels. A milder form of therapy increasingly emerged was needle treatment.

Keywords: needle treatment; bloodletting; Yellow Thearch; emotions; trigger of disease; new medicine; therapeutic technique

Chapter.  1279 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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