The Taoist Ways of Healing
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A comprehensive introduction to the ancient Chinese health arts, the 'Eight Strands of the Brocade', as well as the traditional techniques of diagnosis and 'The Way of Occlusion' - the overall method of achieving and maintaining perfect health, inner harmony and optimum internal and external energy at all levels.
In the words of Chee Soo:
Outside of China very little is known of the vast range of therapeutic methods that have been studied and used for thousands of years on the Chinese mainland and are still being practised daily by Chinese everywhere in the world. But out of all the many sciences known to the Chinese, only one so far seems to have attracted the attention of the Western world, and that is acupuncture, and even the results that this art obtains are doubted by many medical professionals outside of China.
However, the vast wealth of experience has not gone entirely unnoticed, for Japan now uses traditional Chinese medical methods on an extensive scale, and the Academy of Sciences in the Soviet Union also has a department which has been making a special study of the Chinese methods and skills, and even in France and in Germany greater interest is being aroused through the medium of regular publications. In Britain, in addition to the Acupuncture Association, there are regular classes being held in London and elsewhere. Throughout Europe, too, there are various centres teaching the many arts of Chinese healing which together comprise Pa Chin Hsien (The Eight Strands of the Brocade). They all come under the auspices of the Taoist Cultural Arts Association.
Why have the Chinese accomplished such advances in the understanding of the human body, while Western medical science, with all its vast resources, has still not been able to find the cures for such simple illnesses as sinusitis, migraine, arthritis, heart disease, varicose veins, bad nerves, sclerosis and many others? Millions of pounds and dollars are being squandered every year in the endeavour to find cures to the symptoms of illnesses, and yet in China, we have known the answers to all these illnesses, and have been able to understand the multitude of questions that are asked every day, for many thousands of years. In fact, even the common cold can be cured within forty-eight hours by the simple pressure of one finger, and migraine can be stopped just as suddenly in the same period through a simple dietary alteration.
The health arts that the 'Sons of Reflected Light' (Fankuang Tzu) brought to China eventually came to be known as the 'Eight Strands of the Brocade' (Pa Chin Hsien), and even to this day, after thousands of years have passed, they are still known to the Chinese by that name. In the West these same arts are being used for the benefit of all those who wish to avail themselves of them, and in London there is a health clinic where these arts are used to help sufferers of all types of disease and infirmity, and it is completely free of charge.
Today, many young Chinese think that the 'Eight Strands of the Brocade' are merely a number of specialized breathing exercises, whereas the name properly refers to the complete Chinese Taoist health arts. The vast majority of people are completely unaware of the wide range that these arts cover, and even just how many of them there are. One of the more specialized sections, and one of the most well-known is acupuncture (Hsia Chen Pien), which along with all the other arts is still being carried on by many dedicated Chinese, both inside and outside of China. Since the Revolution, China has come to enjoy the best of two worlds, the very old and the new, and the ancient inheritance has been studied with greater enthusiasm than ever before. Together with modern Western medical science, which has since been introduced, the Chinese now have the best of three worlds.
The 'Eight Strands of the Brocade' (Pa Chin Hsien) actually comprise eight distinct health arts, and these are:
- Ch'ang Ming (natural health dietary therapy).
- Ts'ao Yao (herbal therapy).
- Wen Chiech'u (thermology, or thermogenesis).
- T'ui-Na or Anmo (Taoist massage).
- Hsia Chen Pien (acupuncture).
- Tien Chen (acupressure/spot pressing).
- T'i Yu (physical calisthenics).
- Ch'ili Nung (the Way of Occlusion).
In addition to the above there is also the utilization of the five senses, which are used for accurate diagnosis, but because it is not a specific healing art, it was never included in the list. However, everyone who studies our arts automatically learns to diagnose, both internally and externally, right from the very start, for it is the one sure way of finding out the true cause of an illness — rather than letting the symptom affect the judgement.
Many people wonder what kind of impact the Chinese health arts will have upon the medical profession in the West, and this we will have to see, but if they are willing to keep an entirely open mind in all they see and hear, and are willing to adapt their trends of thought to the Chinese ways of thinking, then they will encounter no problems at all.
In China, the patient and his welfare will always come first, for we are all of the same race (simply, the human race), and are therefore brothers and sisters, and if you should happen to lose one or the other, then it is completely natural for the whole family to be affected. Therefore in the Chinese medical profession, if it is considered that natural health therapy (Ch'ang Ming) or acupuncture (Hsia Chen Pien) can give quick and lasting results, then these will naturally be given first preference. Modern surgery will only be used as a very last resort, and not just as another means to an end, for practitioners of the Chinese health arts know that once you cut through nerves, blood vessels, skin tissue and bone, whilst these may recover in time, they are never completely the same as nature made them. Any form of surgery is therefore always considered to be the very last resort.
If the West were to adopt these same priorities then the patient would obtain the best from all fields of medical research, both old and new, but if Western medical professionals retain a closed mind and a closed shop to other forms of healing, then they will severely handicap themselves, since they will be linuted to the only two methods of treatment on which they currently depend — namely, drugs and surgery. Drugs are made by big commercial companies, on whose research the doctors have to rely entirely. As for surgery, this is practised by a small minority group of medical specialists. Take these two away, and what has the modern doctor got left to offer his patients? Precisely nothing.
All healing arts should complement one another, for all things in the universe are in harmony with one another. The healing arts should also work in harmony, helping one another, seeking advice from each other, so that the whole of humanity can reap the benefits of the experience and knowledge of all fields. Good health is not the prerogative of one section of humanity; it should be available to all.
The great wealth of knowledge and practical experience that was built up over thousands of years has not gone to waste, but is alive, and available to all mankind. The Western world, whose medicine has a history of less than two hundred years, would do well to take a little more interest in these arts that have been proved over and over again through thousands of years.