by Soulie de Morant
George Soulié de Morant went to China at the turn of the century, where he served as French Consul for Shanghai and as a judge in the French Concession in Shanghai. He remained in China for almost two decades, becoming well accepted by the Chinese people, and gaining entrance to the highest circles of Chinese society. Although his life's work was to be acupuncture, his literary output was voluminous and covered every aspect of Chinese life. He was a man of great talent, and became the only European to be recognized as a Chinese doctor by the Chinese themselves.
Soulié de Morant returned to France in 1917, where he began actively promoting acupuncture among the medical professionals. His published articles attracted the attention of two French physicians, who invited him to work with them in their hospital departments. The first two volumes of the present text were published circa 1940, and became the basis for his nomination for a Nobel Prize in 1950. Just before his death in 1955, he completed Acupuncture Chinoise, the work which lead to the first successful European acculturation of acupuncture and laid the foundation for the modern practice of acupuncture in Europe.
The text is massive, containing nearly 1,000 densely but readably organized oversize pages. Volume One of the text's five parts describes the energetics of acupuncture; Volume Two, the application of those energetics; Volume Three, their relation to physiology. Volume Four summarizes the meridians and points, organizing information around the classical concepts of energy circulation, so that the reader perceives a clinical range much greater than that found in more recent English-language texts.
Volume Five, a detailed treatment repertoire, is still the largest of its kind in a Western language. Meticulously compiled from works including the Zhen Jiu Da Cheng, the Zhen Jiu Yi Xue, the Yi Xue Ru Men, and the Zhen Jiu Yi Zi, which are the epitome of Chinese clinical experience, illnesses are presented as energetic categories, and as organ, function, and area groups. Then, within each of these categories, conditions are precisely defined and finely differentiated. This level of practical detail has been achieved since only in specialized sections of technical works, but never again at this scale.
The book is universally recognized not only as a unique and historic achievement but also as one of the best, most detailed, and most practical of clinical texts. Soulié de Morant was the first and finest advocate of seeking and treating the root of illness in the disruption of an individuals harmony with nature. He was the first to argue that there was no need to emphasize the incompatibilities between Chinese and Western medicines, and the first to propose hundreds of practical correlations with science. In many ways, he anticipated modern Western and Eastern needs by showing biomedicine how to expand its clinical gaze to include the qualities and relationships discovered by Chinese physicians.
Thus, Chinese Acupuncture has conveyed the ideals of the Chinese medical arts to Western doctors and acupuncturists, capturing the imagination of an entire generation of physicians and continuing to inspire those who write or practice today.