History of sickness and medical art 31: China 6


病と医術の歴史 31: 中国 6        




< 1. Bronze ware of Yin dynasty, the 14-11th century B.C. >

< 1. 殷の青銅器、紀元前14~11世紀 >


This time, I introduce a summary of Chinese medical art, and end it.




< 2. “Dishes of Chinese food therapy”was stewed medicines in soup >

< 2. 薬材を煮込んだ薬膳料理、 >


The megatrend (mainly till the 1st century)

In ancient China, the medical art of empirical science gradually developed from medical art being mainly magic.

As for the recognition to physiology, there was an emphasis on heart and a body fluid theory same as other ancient civilization.

There were several phases of outstanding changes in medical art till the 1st century.

Doctors divided their treatments among medicine men in Imperial Court.

There was the activity of doctors who went around each country intended for common people also.

Some important medical books were published.

The etiology had a concept being close to human body at around the 1st century B.C., but after that, it united with a theory of mind by religion (Taoism) and it didn’t develop.

However, because they attached importance to the practice, Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Chinese herb were developed











< 3. pulse diagnosis >

< 3.脈診 >


The characteristic of Chinese medical art, and the background

A: they did not identify a cause of the disease and decided the treatment policy by combination of plural symptoms.

B: they attached importance to disease prevention by raising natural healing capacity than treating the disease from outside.

C: in the disease diagnosis, the pulse diagnosis was developed especially.


In China, why didn’t the surgery develop? And why did the etiology greatly depend on the theory of mind?


Many religions of the world disliked the profanity of the body, and Confucianism prohibited the dissection like Christianity and Islam.

Therefore it is weak as a persuasive power that Chinese surgery didn’t develop by the prohibition of the religion.

Looking around the world, because pastoral tribe did not have resistance to the dissection than agricultural people, this may be a cause of it.


Another characteristic will originate in a reason that is pointed out in certain culture psychology.

People of the East Asia have a strong tendency that ” can see forest but don’t look at tree ” as compared with Westerner.

This seems to have led Chinese etiology that didn’t identify one cause and saw the whole symptom.

This will become to the characteristic A.



A: 一つの病因を特定するのではなく、複数の症状の組合せ「証」によって治療方針を決めた。

B: 病気を外部から治療するよりも、自然治癒力を高めることと病気予防を重視した。

C: 病気診断では、四診(観察、聴・嗅診、質問、脈診)の脈診が発達した。















< 4. a symbol showing “Yin and Yang” and a temple of Taoism >

< 4. 陰陽を表す図と道教の寺院 >


In China, Yin and Yang philosophy (space or body unify and change by two opposed elements) began to be unified at about the 3rd century B.C.

And Confucianism and Taoism of two major religion of China theorized it.

Taoism greatly was developed during Tang Dynasties, and the prescription of perpetual youth and longevity was expected, but failed in Chinese alchemy (mercury poisoning).

The Buddhism being ascendant in those days had a systematized theory of mind (people’s understanding brings solace), and Taoism enhanced Yin and Yang philosophy to counter it, and it seems to be involved in medical art.

This will become to the characteristic B.


Still probably, the biggest factor was that China was on the Eurasian edge, and was shut from other advanced civilization with the large desert, the mountain range, and the sea for a long time, therefore it seems to cause.


From the next time, I see the medical art of the ancient Greece.















Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “History of sickness and medical art 31: China 6

  1. Very interesting!…. I am looking forward for your next delivery and the Greek approach! 🙂
    Happy day to you… Regards, Aquileana 😀

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