About Master Tung Acupuncture

Master Tung Acupuncture

Master Tung acupuncture was until recently passed down through an oral  tradition thought to have dated back to the Han dynasty (206 CE – 220  CE). The last descendant in this family lineage was Master Tung Ching  Ch’ang, who was born in 1916 in Pingdu. Master Tung Ching Chang has been  referred to as one of the greatest acupuncturist that have lived. Until  the communist revolution, Chinese medicine and the way that it was  taught was through family lineages. Culturally this is how knowledge was  transmitted, not just in medicine, but also in many other areas of  Chinese culture such as martial arts and Feng Shui, from master to  disciple, father to son. It could be considered that the Cultural  Revolution was both a blessing and a curse for Chinese medicine. The  horrors that ensued in 1950’s China meant that it became unsafe for Taoists, and he had to flee to mainland China in the 1960’s and he settled in Taiwan. As an acupuncturist he treated hundreds of thousands of patients. Not having a descendent that was willing to learn  acupuncture, he was concerned that this knowledge might be lost, and it  was in the 1960’s that he took his first student and subsequently  trained 73 students in his lifetime before passing away in 1975. 

A standardised and universal approach was created out of some of the  lineages so that a more consistent and universal medicine system was  offered. This was then widely disseminated, taught in universities and  practised in hospitals. A cheap and useful healthcare system was created  for the whole of China. Yet many different and ancient styles were lost  in this process. Some lineages did survive, often outside Mainland  China. One lineage was Master Tung Acupuncture. An extraordinary system,  which is known for being very effective and which can on occasion  produce instantaneous clinical results.This style is particularly  renowned for treating pain. Unlike some approaches, which involve  needling the area that is in distress. Tung Acupuncture uses distal  points, which are often located far from the site of pain. An example is  points that work very effectively for neck pain are located on the  Achilles tendon. Often the more distal the points are the more  clinically effective they are. Once the needles are inserted distally  the patient can be asked to move the area in pain to see whether there  has been a change. With this system we don’t have to wait to see whether  the treatment was helpful by asking the patient on the next visit. We are looking for an immediate change in their symptoms upon insertion of  the needles.  

There are at least 500 Tung acupuncture points, unique to this  lineage. An example is that in TCM, there is only a single point, on the  plantar surface of the foot, Kidney 1. Tung has 9 points, 4 of which  are particularly useful for treating eye diseases. A major part  of Tung acupuncture is the use of ‘pricking’ or blood letting. Releasing  a few drops of blood can be the fastest way of clearing heat, such as  with a fever, for blood stagnation and paradoxically for treating blood  deficiency.A major part of diagnosis in this system is based on  palmistry and face reading. As a system heavily based on Dui Ying, or  correspondence, in true Taoist thinking, by observing or treating one  part of the body, it is possible to gain information and treat the whole  system. I believe we have a lot to gain from searching out these  family systems, and the best way of preserving these traditions is by  using them with our own patients to help alleviate suffering.