The Bare Hands Doctor - Master Tim Wong

History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

China is probably the earliest country to have  developed its own medical system.

In traditional Chinese Medicine there are three major clinical treatments: Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture Moxibustion, and  Tui-Na Massage.  It is unclear which treatment was used first. Some say the first Emperor of China, Fu xi  or Ox Tamer, used a stone needle on his own body to achieve a therapeutic effect. Others claim that Shen Loong or Divine Farmer, the second Emperor of China, tasted hundreds of plants and grasses and used them to treat illnesses. All these tales are legends, but nevertheless I believe it is a natural human instinct to massage pain and discomfort in our bodies.

The use of systematic massage treatment in medicine can be traced back to Wang Di  (the Yellow Emperor 2674-2575 BC). In Neijing Suwen, a classic ancient medical text by Wang Di, Chapter 12 states about methods of treatment: “ In the centre of China are flatlands, which are often damp, many varieties of foods abound and living is peaceful. Conditions that manifest most are colds, people often suffer influenza,  Wei/flaccidity syndromes and atrophy. One should utilise Dao-in exercise, manipulation and Tui-Na massage”. It is said therefore that Tui-Na massage and manipulation come from the centre of China. Chapter 24 notes: “People who appear physically sound but who are depressed or bitter often develop conditions in the channels and collaterals. One should use acupuncture and moxibustion to treat. People who seem joyous but appear physically unwell often manifest conditions of the tendons and bones. One should use warming techniques, massage and Dao-in exercise. People who are  repeatedly startled or traumatised have an obstruction of qi and blood in the channels and collaterals, they can manifest numbness or paralysis of the extremities. One should use Tui-Na massage to treat”.

The Yellow Emperor is known as the Father of Traditional Chinese Medicine and was a great devotee of Taoism. He introduced the 14-tract channels and 365 acupoints (reaction points  or energy points) in the human body and the five natural elements to describe our five major organs and personality. The five elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.

During the Sui-Tong period, (Sui-Tong 581-906 AD), Traditional Chinese Medicine was further developed and medical schools and departments were officially established under the Imperial Medical Bureau for Education and Scientific Research. The first illustration of the 12-tract channels and eight extra meridian channels of the human body was painted in colour in three dimensions. Later, the knowledge of Tui-Na along with Traditional Chinese Medicine was introduced to Japan and Arabia - Japanese  acupuncture and Shiatsu are the result.

In recent years Western massage, such as reflexology and holistic massage, has incorporated the system and principles of Tui-Na by using the acupoints and meridian relationships.