June 6, 2007
Source: International News Network
Editor’s note: as a gorgeous blossom of the garden of Traditional Chinese medicine, the time-honored acupuncture, whose history is dated back to several thousands years ago when the ancestors of Chinese people started to put it into medical practice, is recorded in the ancient classic ofthe Emperor’s Internal Classic (Huangdi Neijing) ,. As it is easy to apply, effective, and costs little, acupuncture has been introduced to other parts of world and wins international honor for traditional Chinese medicine. It is reported that among all the students who come to china to study science and technology, those learning acupuncture account for the largest number.
Based on the theory of Chinese medicine, inheriting the thought and experience of our forbears, today’s acupuncture combines traditional skills and modern technology to study meridians and channels, acupoints, manipulating method, treatment principle, mechanism, as well as the prevention of disease. It has contributed a lot to the health of mankind because of its wide range of indication, effectiveness, convenient operation and safety.
The World Ferderation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS) was established to promote the development of acupuncture throughout the world and benefit the exuberance of human race.
In the 21st century, when human civilization is forging ahead in stride, the increasing environmental pollution, the accelerating life speed, the change of spectrum of disease caused by both physical and emotional burden， and toxic effect of various drugs are challenging the capability of human being to handle health problem. Facing this situation, acupuncture finds its chance and prospect that never appears in any other past period in the history. On the World Environment Day of 2007, the writer came to the secretariat of WFAS to have an interview with Secretary-General Shen Zhixiang.
With busy schedule each day, the Secretary-General was still very patient and kind to every visitor and answered my question with courtesy. He introduced that, World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies was a necessary offspring of acupuncture’s development of worldwide scope and the inevitable choice of medical history. Secretary-General Shen was graduated from Beiing Medical University and worked as an acupuncture anaesthetist after graduation. During the 1970s, he was devoted to learning Chinese medicine in answer to the Premier Zhou Enlai’ call for integration of Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Later, he started to learn Chinese Medicine, and engaged in teaching, clinical practice and international exchange of Chinese medicine. Under the international acupuncture trend in the 1980s, World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies was founded in Beijing on Nov. 22, 1987, with the help of World Health Organization and the unanimous appeal of international acupuncture field. WFAS was applied by the Ministry of Health, National Science Committee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China Science Association and authorized to establish by the State Council, with its secretariat in China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences．
The tenet of WFAS is to promote understanding and cooperation of acupuncture throughout the world, facilitate international academic exchange, and continuously develop acupuncture, in order to contribute to the health service for mankind. The mission of WFAS is to organize International Acupuncture Congress medium-sized symposiums and symposiums on special subject; to publicize and promote the development of acupuncture; to work on acupuncture legislation and standardization; to advocate acupuncture education and to issue academic acupuncture publication. Through 20 years’ dedicated effort, WFAS now has become an organization of 109 member societies and more than 100 thousand acupuncturists from 50 countries or regions. The General Assembly is appointed by WFAS’ constitution as the highest authority, which functions deliberating the working report and finance report rendered by Executive Committee; approving and terminating membership; electing executive members, retaining honorable presidents and other honorable officials; discussing suggestion to the newly elected committee proposed by the predecessor and preparing for the Member Assembly.
When asked about the promoting of acupuncture, the Secretary-General talked a lot in enthusiasm. He pointed out that, in the attempt to bring the traditional, yet modern subject into prosperity, WFAS has been working in the research, education, clinical practice and standardization of acupuncture, among which the most important jobs are as follows: for one thing, WFAS has paid great attention to domestic work, including clinical and technology research, standardization study to push forward acupuncture and thereby bring traditional Chinese medicine to a larger international stage; next, continuously extend international training, making it more disseminated and more important, bring it to a higher level. Till now, numbers of trainees coming to WFAS from the United States, Japan and Korean has already reached as many as 3000; thirdly, under the active endeavor of WFAS, WHO has established three acupuncture centers ( in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing). Many countries have started acupuncture study in universities. Acupuncture has been legislated in several countries.
During the 20 years since founded, WFAS has accomplished several achievements in boosting understanding, cooperation and academic exchange among international acupuncture arena, pushing ahead acupuncture, protecting the interests of acupuncturists, bringing acupuncture into an important status in international hygiene undertakings, as well as using it to benefit human health. The accomplished work is listed as follows:
Organizing International Acupuncture Congress 7 times (6 times of which were co-sponsored with WHO) and International Acupuncture Symposium 11 times (3 times of which were co-sponsored with WHO); starting research of acupuncture standardization and taking part in drafting out the Acupuncture Nomenclature Standardization and other programs of WHO, as well as the propagation of regional agreement on acupuncture standardization; issuingWFAS Communication that is provided for member societies and related department in WHO from the year 1998; publishingWorld Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion, the proceeding of WFAS, from 1991; launching International Acupuncture Qualification (level) Examination, printing International Acupuncture Textbook as the main teaching material, and cooperating with World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies to publish textbooks of 27 courses for international acupuncture examination, the corresponding teaching materials of which will be released soon; enhancing the relation with WHO and keeping in accordance with WHO’s strategy on acupuncture development.
Strengthen good relationship with WHO: In March of 1988, officials of WHO’s west pacific regional office expressed their will to establish a working relation with WFAS and in March, 1990 the west pacific office applied to the headquarters for the official relation with WFAS. Under the direction of WHO, WFAS submitted the application for an official relation to WHO and it was approved on Jan. 27, 1998, when WHO issued resolution EB101.R2 on its 101st Executive Committee Assembly. Therefore, WFAS kept such a good collaboration with WHO that after two rounds of cooperation, WHO expressed in the 113th Executive Committee Assembly its appreciation and commend on WFAS’ effort to support its work and expected new achievement on the three-year cooperation of next round.
WFAS also attaches importance to build up international communication with governments, academic organizations, and non-government associations. WFAS has paid special attention to try to gain support of several governments. When academic conferences were held overseas, many important officials have given WFAS great attention and help. On WFAS’ second International Acupuncture Congress, Mr. 密特朗, the mayor of Paris, attended the opening ceremony and gave an opening speech. On the third Beijing International Acupuncture Congress, Japanese prince三笠宫宽仁，Minister of Culture赤松良子, as well as mayor of Kyoto, 田边朋之 presented in the meeting and addressed it. On the forth International Acupuncture Congress held in New York in 1996, the president Bill Clinton and his wife sent their congratulatory letter to WFAS . UN’s Vice Secretary-General Kim Young-gun, officials of the U.S.’ Federal Health Department, Chief Executive of New York State, representative of the mayor of New York city and officials in Education Department of New York State also sat in on the conference. On the fifth International Acupuncture Congress held in Seoul in 2000, the State Councilor of Public Health and the representative of Ministry of Healthattended the meeting and made a speech.
Furthermore, as the progressing of acupuncture all over the world, WFAS has increased its contact and communication with overseas medical organizations and academic groups. Just in the year 2004, there were another 20 groups paying a visit to the headquarters of WFAS, among which there were Italian State Councilor in charge of Public Health, Russian Traditional Medicine Center, Azerbaijan State Medical University, delegation of Ministry of Health of Thailand and Traditional Medicine Administration of Indonesia Ministryof Health. There are also organizations that were authorized by their governments to negotiate with WFAS on acupuncture cooperation program.
Talking of the future layout of WFAS, the Secretary-General revealed that a three-year plan had been worked out, and there was also a long-term plan that would cover the next ten years’ developing strategy, the emphasis of which was keeping the specialty and advantages of acupuncture, improving collaborations with international organizations to keep in pace with the development of medical science and medical reformation in different countries. “The delightful news”, said the Secretary-General, “is that WFAS is permitted by the government to build a 2600-squaremeter office building.”
Looking ahead, Prof. Shen was very optimistic of WFAS’ future. He pointed out that, under the great support of Chinese government and the acupuncture field, WFAS would continuously carry forward the great inheritance of acupuncture, pushing it onto a prosperous track to benefit more people in better ways.
Introduction to Professor Shen Zhixiang:
graduated in 1970 from Beijing Medicine University (the current Health Science Center, Beijing University), the professor worked in surgery, Chinese medicine orthopaedics, and acupuncture anaesthesia after graduation. In answer to Premier Zhou’s appeal to integrate traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine, Prof. Shen learned a great amount of knowledge of Chinese medicine. Later, he was appointed as the superintendent of orthopaedics apartment of China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (the current name: China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences), the vice secretary of China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the vice secretary of Beijing Acupuncture and Orthopaedics College. Since 1975, he has been working in international communication of Chinese medicine. In 1981 Prof. Shen was enrolled in the English training class for study in UN Development Program and after that he worked in the research, clinical study and advanced education. In 1994, Prof. Shen was designated the director of International Cooperation Department of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and served his term until March, 2007. The professor has worked as the Secretary-General of WFAS since 2000 and the president of China Association of Chinese Medicine Development.