History of Oriental Medicine

A (Very) Brief History of Oriental Medicine

The roots of Oriental medicine extend back thousands of years. The earliest recorded history begins more than two thousand years ago. Based upon archeological records, it is believed that the origins of Oriental medicine go back some five thousand years.

The first written record of Oriental medicine is the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine). Compiled roughly two thousand years ago, the Nei Jing is clearly the oldest Oriental medical textbook and remains the theoretical framework of Oriental medicine. This important text describes many of the therapies and techniques used by modern practitioners, including acupuncture, moxibustion, breathing, exercise, and massage.

Since the Huang Di Nei Jing, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) continued to evolve in China. In the thousands of years since the Huang Di Nei Jing, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has not only continued to evolve within China, but it has influenced and been influenced by cultures throughout southeast Asia, India, and--ultimately--Europe. As the theories and techniques of TCM reached these regions, they were adapted and modified. Today, there are many regionally-adapted systems of Oriental medicine in use. Such system include Japanese Kampo, Korean constitutional medicine, Classical Five Elements, and Nosier auriculotherapy, among many others.


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