The mother of Kublai Khan (1216-94), founder of the Mongol dynasty, was a Nestorian and asked the Pope to send European doctors to China. C.), who was said to have originated the pa kua, a symbol composed of yang lines and yin lines combined in eight (pa) separate trigrams (kua) which could represent all yin-yang conditions.Early Medical Writings Classical Chinese medicine was based primarily on works ascribed to three legendary emperors. This system is followed even today in the I Ching (Book of Changes), though as a game or superstition in the West.
Ideas in the Nei Ching concerning movement of the blood (“All the blood is under control of the heart.” “The blood current flows continuously in a circle and never stops.”) have been thought to approach an understanding of its circulation antedating Harvey by thousands of years; however, some body vessels were believed to convey air, and there is little evidence that commentators perceived the blood-carrying vessels as a contained system.
However, illness also could be caused by forces beyond one’s control: “Wind is the cause of a hundred diseases,” and atmospheric conditions could upset the harmonious inner balance of the yang and yin.
One had to be alert to this possibility and combat its effects as well as modify internal imbalances of the vital forces. Chinese medicine, in league with Taoism, was focused on the prevention of illness; for, as the legendary Huang Ti, father of Chinese medicine, observed, “the superior physician helps before the early budding of disease.” Although Taoist hygiene called for temperance and simplicity in most things, sexual mores were governed by the yin-yang aspect of Chinese philosophy.
As Confucius said: “Gather in the same places where our fathers before us have gathered; perform the same ceremonies which they before us have performed; play the same music which they before us have played; pay respect to those whom they honored; love those who were dear to them.” Although ancient China’s development was relatively isolated, there was early contact with India and Tibet.
Buddhism came to China from India, and medical concepts and practices were an important part of its teachings.