January 2021

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I recently found two drawings of the human body that truly saw different stories.  One from Japan circa 1341 that was all acupuncture meridians and one from France around 1543 that was all muscles. Western medicine’s view of anatomy did not perceive the tracts and points of Chinese medical teachings. Chinese medicine could not comprehend Western preoccupation with ligaments and muscles for which they didn’t even treat.  Now, this is not the only viewpoint of these two systems of healing.  They do illustrate how, over the course of time, perceptions can evolve and that there is an extraordinary influence of one viewpoint over another at any point of time.  It turns out that this particular divergence didn’t always exist and only emerged at the turn of the first and second centuries.  Prior to that, it was use of the senses of touch and sight that guided the healer.  Perhaps you guessed that the touch evolved into muscle awareness (via dissection) and the sight into the pulses and meridians – the “inscrutable gaze of the Chinese doctor.”

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