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Spreading of acupuncture around the world

Acupuncture has long been considered an important part of traditional medicine since it was first disseminated to Korea and Japan from China. Acupuncture was spread to Korea in the sixth century. Emperor Wudi, the emperor of the first Kingdom of the Liang Dynasty, sent physicians and staff to Korea. Chinese acupuncture was first spread to Japan also in the sixth century. In 552 A.D., the Chinese government then presented a copy of Acupuncture Classics (Zhen Jing) to Japanese Mikado. In 562, a Buddist monk Zhicong from the Wu State of China went to Japan with the book Therapeutic Importance of Acupuncture Points (Ming Tang Kong Xue Zhen Jiu Shi Yao) and other TCM classics. Dating back to the seventh century, the Japanese government sent a number of missionary groups to study acupuncture in China. In 702 A.D., Japanese government issued a law to follow the medical education system of China's Tang Dynasty to cover acupuncture in the medical education. In 752 A.D., monk Jianzhen went to Japan to teach traditional Chinese medicine.

In 984 A.D., Japanese medical doctor Danpi Kangnai wrote a book known as Formulae of the Heart (Yi Xin Fang) in which he quoted from lots of medical literature of the Chinese Sui and Tang dynasties. In 1092, Korea contributed one original copy of The Pivot (the acupuncture classics from Yellow Emperor's Internal Medicine) to China which had been lost in the country. More exchanges in acupuncture between China and the neighbouring Korea and Japan took place in the years to follow. Along with the international exchange of Chinese acupuncture, the science of acupuncture was also disseminated to Southeastern Asian countries and India. Early in the sixth century, Miyun from Dunhuang in Northwest China introduced the formulae and methods applied by Hua Tuo to Daochang State then in northern India. In the 14th century, Zou Gen, the acupuncture doctor from China went to Viet Nam to treat the members of the imperial family. There, he was known as the miracle-making doctor. It was in 16th century that Chinese acupuncture was spread to Europe. Thereafter, more and more people started to practise Chinese acupuncture. France is one of the countries that helped the dissemination of acupuncture in Europe.

In the contemporary era, the man who personally learnt Chinese acupuncture in China and brought it back to Europe was Soulie de Morant from France. He lived in China for 20 years and once served as French consul. He studied acupuncture in Guangdong, Kunming and Shanghai and returned to France to practise acupuncture in 1928. Later on, De la Fuye, who previously engaged in the practice of homoeopathy, studied acupuncture under the guidance of Soulie de Morant. In 1943, he set up the French Acupuncture Association and started to run international conference on acupuncture in 1947.

The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 helped bring a greater international influence for Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. The pace for dissemination of acupuncture in the world was quickened. Early in the 1950's, the Chinese government helped the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries train doctors in acupuncture.

In 1965, the first world conference on acupuncture and moxibustion was held in Japan. More than one hundred participants from Japan, France, Germany, Britain and the United States attended the conference. The second was held in Paris in May of 1969, the third in Soul in September of 1973, the fourth in Las Vegas of Nevada, the fifth in Tokyo in October of 1977. The sixth one was held in Paris. Delegates from China attended the conference. The seventh one was held in October of 1981 in Kuola Lumpo. Representatives from China delivered two papers, i.e. On International Standardization of Nomenclature of Acupuncture Points, and Three-decade Acupuncture Achievements in China. The eighth was held in Sofiya in May of 1983. Nine delegates from China attended the conference. In October of the same year, a worldconference on scientific acupuncture was held in Vienna. The Medical Association on International Acupuncture and Related Technology was founded during the period with its headquarters located in Brussel.

In 1987, the inauguration of World Federation of Acupuncture Societies (WFAS) and the First International Conference on Acupuncture Science was held in Beijing. 86 participants from 28 countries and regions attended the event. WFAS was composed of acupuncture societies from many countries. It is the largest international organization on acupuncture and moxibustion.

Requested by WHO, Chinese government started to run international acupuncture training courses in Beijing , Nanjing and Shanghai since 1975 to provide training opportunities for doctors from more and more countries. At present, doctors from over one hundred countries in the world are able to practise Chinese acupuncture. The teaching of acupuncture and scientific research have also been carried out in some countries. The establishment of All-China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion in May of 1979 helped strengthen international exchanges among acupuncture bodies in many countries. It has made sustainable contribution to the development of acupuncture and moxibustion in the world.

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