Wolfgang Michel

Fruehe westliche Beobachtungen zur Akupunktur und Moxibustion. Sudhoffs Archiv Vol. 77, Bd. 2, pp.194 - 222, 1993.


Early Western Observations of Moxibustion and Acupuncture

According to the researches up to now the earliest passage of written information about acupuncture and moxibustion to Western Europe took place around the middle of the 17th century. But an investigation into the letters, 'historias', dictionaries, grammars, etc. of the Jesuit mission in Japan, which already started in 1549, shows that the missionaries there already enjoyed a considerable knowledge of both methods of treatment. These sources also reveal indications of the use of needles and moxa on horses as well as the use 'hammer-needles', a Japanese invention which was later described in detail by Willem ten Rhijne and Engelbert Kaempfer. Furthermore some central Sinojapanese terms of anatomy, physiology and pulse diagnosis in the light of its European interpretations and a hitherto unknown outline of Japanese medicine found in an early French book on Chinese sphygmology are presented.

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