Classical Chinese Medicine
Classical Chinese Medicine invites you to explore the essence of Oriental medicine from a perspective that goes far beyond the institutionalized phenomenon presently known as “TCM” (traditional Chinese medicine). Since the 1970s, the TCM process of packaging the multi-faceted roots of Chinese medicine into the sterile confines of a highly standardized model has been eagerly absorbed by educational institutions in Europe and America, and is rapidly becoming the dominant face of Oriental medicine today.
While TCM represents the recent marriage between local Chinese resources with the methodology of scientific materialism, Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) remains firmly committed to its ancient roots. CCM is a science in its own right, embedded in the mytho-poetic mode of observing and describing nature, which linked the spheres of macro- and microcosm in ancient China and became preserved in a set of works honoured as “the classics.” The primary distinguishing feature of CCM is thus its way of thinking—why and when and how does one chose to apply a therapeutic modality, rather than insisting that the use of acupuncture and herbs alone defines a practitioner of the traditional art of Chinese medicine. CCM does not advocate a blind adherence to things past, but embraces the classical spirit of utilizing time-honoured modes of holistic thought in an ever changing space-time environment.
The materials presented in this section seek to foster awareness about the multi-dimensional depth of Chinese medicine, as well as the political mechanisms that seek to homogenize, standardize, and effectively limit these time-honored resources in the TCM model. The intention of these articles is to inspire a reevaluation of the direction and the fundamental convictions that we set for ourselves, both as providers and recipients of Oriental medicine. Otherwise, the natural beauty and profundity of Chinese medicine and other ancient medical traditions may quietly fade away, and we may become thoroughly entrapped in the spiritless mechanisms of state agencies, insurance companies, and most of all, our modern mind that has been conditioned to fancy a linear and uniform approach to all aspects of knowledge.
Heiner Fruehauf’s lead article describes the development of “TCM,” the medical system that has monopolized the practice of Oriental medicine in mainland China, and that has come to serve as the main mold for the budding profession of Oriental medicine around the globe. It exposes a system that has been conditioned by a distinctly political agenda, and reveals its logo “TCM” (traditional Chinese medicine) as a grave misnomer—designating a medicine that is not at all aiming to preserve the traditional characteristics of Chinese medicine, but, on the contrary, to expurgate, reform, and control the classical and folkloric texture of the traditional record in the name of progress.
As the materials document further, this crisis of Chinese medicine has recently elicited the call for a renaissance of classical values by a group of international scholar physicians. At the heart of this call is the credo that first-rate clinical results and true integration between ancient and modern medical traditions can only be achieved if the philosophical foundations of this medicine are transmitted in their original depth and complexity, and if the diagnostic and therapeutic modalities of Chinese medicine are respected and transmitted as a science in its own right.
For additional material about classical Chinese medicine, please visit the Associates Forum.
Daoist Medicine: A Conversation with Daoist Master Wang Qingyu
In this internet radio program and podcast, we are honored to share conversations with a true master of Daoism and Qigong—Professor Wang Qingyu. This discussion focuses on the unique features of Daoist medical philosophy, diagnosis and treatment.
Professor Wang Qingyu is recognized by the Chinese government as one of the outstanding masters of Daoist medicine, holding a lifetime appointment for research in the field of martial arts and the ancient science of nourishing life at the Sichuan Academy of Cultural Sciences. He is the lineage holder of the Jinjing (Tendon and Channel) School of Qigong.
By Liu Lihong
Translated by Tan Weiwu and Erin Moreland
It is imperative that we ask the following questions: Does the Chinese medicine we see today, that we know of today, reflect what Chinese medicine truly is? Does the level of competence of doctors working in various Chinese medicine institutions today reflect the actual potential of Chinese medicine? And just what is this potential? Where do the apexes of Chinese medicine lie? Were they attained in ancient times or in recent times?
By Heiner Fruehauf
The latter half of the 19th century and through the end of the 20th century has been a time of great political, economic, cultural, and scientific transformation in China. Chinese medicine, the shining gem of traditional science, has had to endure many assaults in this process, sinking the field into a quagmire where it had to fight bitterly for its own survival. This course of events can be called “The Century When Traditional Chinese Medicine Was Tied up in the Straightjacket of Utter Delusion.” Read More→
von Heiner Frühauf
Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Sepp Leeb
Der Zeitraum von der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis zum Ende des 20. war in China bestimmt von gewaltigen Umwälzungen politischer, wirtschaftlicher, kultureller und wissenschaftlicher Natur. Im Zuge dieser Entwicklung musste die chinesische Medizin, das Glanzstück der traditionellen Wissenschaft Chinas, zahlreiche Anfechtungen erdulden und erbittert um ihr Überleben kämpfen, weshalb man in diesem Zusammenhang durchaus von dem Jahrhundert sprechen könnte, „in dem die traditionelle chinesische Medizin in der Zwangsjacke absoluter Fehleinschätzung gefesselt war“.
Li Zhichong, Direktor des Chinesischen TCM-Verbandes, 2002
von Heiner Frühauf
Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Sepp Leeb
4) Stimmen des Widerspruchs: Der Ruf nach einer Renaissance der klassischen chinesischen Medizin
By Mao Jialing (Editor, Chinese Agency for Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology News)
Translated by Heiner Fruehauf
How dramatically time has passed for the profession of Chinese medicine! On one hand, we have the glories of the past and the prospects of the future, while on the other we have the sobering reality of the present. The field of Chinese medicine is currently undergoing a relentless assault by the technological culture of Western science, casting it into alternating states of pain and exhilaration. In the process of modernization we may have managed to dress up our field in contemporary attire, but what a heavy price we had to pay: the constant pain and discomfort as we see ourselves violate the foundational tenets of Chinese medicine every day, and most importantly, as we witness the vanishing of its soul, its spirit.
By Li Zhichong (Academy of Chinese Medicine, China)1
Translated by Nathan Garrettson
The latter half of the 19th century up and through the 20th century has been a time of great political, economic, cultural, and scientific transformation in China. Chinese Medicine, as a shining gem of traditional science and culture has undergone many assaults, which has led to the field sinking into a sort of quagmire, and it has had to fight bitterly for its own survival. This course of events has come to be called the “Hundred Years of Perplexity.” In the last twenty years, through serious contemplation and reflection on its causes we have become more and more clear how the course of history has chained the study of Chinese Medicine to these complex shackles.
By Zhang Xichun
Translated and introduced by Heiner Fruehauf
Zhang Xichun (1860-1933) is one of China’s great scholar-physicians. He is primarily remembered for his prominent role in spearheading the early movement of Chinese-Western medicine integration during the first three decades of this century. The depth of his knowledge and the broad range of his activities, moreover, distinguish him as one of the last of the classical cast of renaissance physicians.
von Zhang Xichun
Übersetzt von Heiner Frühauf und Markus Goeke
Edition Lingdao, February 2006
Zhang Xichun (1860–1933) gehört zu den größten Gelehrtenärzten Chinas. Im Gedächtnis geblieben ist er hauptsächlich wegen seiner führenden Rolle in der frühen Bewegung der Integration von Chinesischer und Westlicher Medizin während der ersten drei Dekaden des 20. Jahrhunderts. Die Tiefe seines Wissens und die Bandbreite seiner Aktivitäten kennzeichnen ihn darüber hinaus als einen der letzten Vertreter der klassischen Renaissance-Ärzte. Als Kliniker war er spezialisiert auf die Behandlung komplizierter Erkrankungen, als Lehrer gründete er mehrere Lehrinstitute für Traditionelle Chinesische Medizin und als Autor verfasste er leidenschaftliche Essays über eine Vielzahl von Themen, eingeschlossen neue, gleichwohl alte Interpretationen fundamentaler medizinischer Konzepte und idiosynkratische Einsichten in die Materia Medica (etwa eine systematische Bewertung der energetischen Eigenschaften westlicher Drogen). 1933, dem letzten Jahr seiner produktiven Karriere, wurden Zhangs Publikationen zusammengefasst, und zwar unter dem programmatischen Titel „Chinesisch im Innersten, Westlich, wo angemessen: Essays zur Untersuchung einer integrativen Form der Medizin“.
Translated by Heiner Fruehauf
Since I have come to this College, I have always felt as if I did not have enough time for everything. When I look back, however, it seems to me that I did not really do all that much. I read through our standard textbooks several times, and that was basically it. When I was still over at the academic department of the College, I still felt pretty good about my studies, but since I have come to the Affiliated Hospital as an intern I see a definite shift in my attitude toward my education occur.
11 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Re: Response to letter by Chung-Hwei Chernly
November 29, 1998
I am responding to Ms. Chung-Hwei Chernly’s letter on the topic of whether Feng Shui should be considered a part of Oriental medicine. Her letter, published in the fall/winter 1998 issue of Diplomate Perspectives, spoke emphatically against this supposition, stating that Feng Shui is “fortune telling” akin to “witch craft and voodoo,” that “traditional Chinese medicine does not reference Feng Shui,” and that acupuncturists who practice Feng Shui are “outside professional ethical boundaries.” I would like to argue differently.
By Heiner Fruehauf
Approaching the end of the 20th century, we are confronted with a number of fundamental issues regarding the quality, if not the general purpose, of human existence. One of them is the gradual demise of the Western-scientific health care system, which has fostered a revival of the age-old discussion about the nature of health, illness, and well-being. In the process of developing alternative approaches to healing, holistic medical discourse has consistently emphasized the “diseased” quality of illness and its therapeutic implications, i.e. the consequent restoration and maintenance of “ease.” However, definitions of the ease state often fail to go much beyond the biochemical aspects of well-being, and thus end up being classified according to the same parameters they were trying to overcome.