Acupuncturists, Barbers, and Masseurs

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:
Acupuncturists, Barbers, and Masseurs

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China witnessed significant decline in the use of acupuncture in 1500 but pharmaceutics had been steadily developing since antiquity. Li Shizhen's encyclopedia remains the definitive work. It has been reprinted many times and there are at least fifty-six editions from imperial times up to the present. The small, manageable pharmaceutics books for the practitioner became available in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. There were no more experts in acupuncture in spite of the publication of the Great Encyclopedia of Needling and Burning in the year 1601, which was reprinted at least fifty-three times before 1911. Most Westerners today consider acupuncture to be a core aspect of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture was, in antiquity and for a thousand years up to the twelfth or thirteenth century, the only therapeutic procedure in Chinese medicine. Pharmaceutics remained a nonmedical therapeutics, free of theory. Pharmacy was included in medical therapeutics in the twelfth or thirteenth century. Several experiments have been conducted in many places to replace the ancient Chinese theories of systematic correspondences with modern scientific interpretations since the 1970s.

Keywords: acupuncture; pharmaceutics; Chinese medicine; nonmedical therapeutics; pharmacy; medical therapeutics

Chapter.  1410 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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