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Huangfu Mi

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Updated: 2014-07-29

Huangfu Mi was born in the year 215 in a poor farmhouse in Anding Chaona (now Lingtai of Gansu Province) of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). He was first named as Jing, later changed into Mi, with a style name of Shi'an. When he was young, he took the famous scholar, Xi Tan, in his village as his teacher, and several years later, he became a well-known scholar. In his opinion,only when you had given up the pursuit for fame and wealth could you do no damage to your life and when you given up the pursuit for riches and honor could you cultivate great virtues. Hence,although the district magistrate invited him to work as an official and offered him an honorary title, and the prime minister summoned him to serve the court, he refused all the invitations. He was willing to spend all his life studying classical books and writing books in order to spread knowledge to others and later generations. At the age of 40, he was so unlucky as to contract a wind-syndrome and got hemianesthesia and myophagism in his right leg. After taking the hanshi san (powder medicine for wind-syndrome), he got drug poisoning. All his body was hot, so he had to eat ice and snow to cool down and exposed his body even in cold winter. In summer he suffered even more -- cough, asthma, and edema, accompanied with the feeling of ache and heaviness in the limbs. He was in a critical condition at any time. The torture tested his willpower, and the desire for life urged him to read medical classics. The effect of acupuncture therapy on his wind syndrome (rheumatism) fueled his strong interest in acupuncture and moxibustion. Thus, he read a lot of literature on acupuncture and moxibustion, and finally became a master in this field.

At his time, there were many classical medical books, but the definitions of acupuncture points along the channels and collaterals were not unified. So, he made a comparative study on the three popular books then, namely, Huangdi Zhenjing (Yellow Emperor's Canon on Acupuncture), Su Wen (Inner Book of the Yellow Emperor: Simple Questions) and Mingtang Kongxue Zhenjiu Zhiyao (Mingtang's Essentials of Acupuncture Points), by reclassifying their contents, deleting redundant words, simplifying the contents and detailing the essence.

With all the efforts, he wrote the 10-volume Huangdi Bu Zhenjiu Jiayi Jing (Yellow Emperor's Jiayi Canon on Acupuncture and Moxibustion). It is also called Zhenjiu Jiayi Jing (Jiayi Canon on Acupuncture and Moxibustion), or simply called Jiayi Jing. The book was finished around the year 259. In the Northern and Southern dynasties (420-581), it was changed into a 12-volume book. The original book was compiled in the order of the Heavenly Stems (in it, the first was called "jia", the second was called "yi", the third was called "bing" and so on), discussing the medical theory and acupuncture and moxibustion, hence, it was named Zhenjiu Jiayi Jing. Zhenjiu

Jiayi Jing is the earliest extant comprehensive book on the science of acupuncture and moxibustion. Its first part deals with the viscera, channels and collaterals acupuncture points and diagnosis, and the second part is about all kinds of diseases and the therapy of acupuncture and moxibustion. It is a sum-up of China's achievements on the science of acupuncture and moxibustion before the Jin Dynasty (265-420).

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