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Introducing Diē-dá 1. History 1.1 Background 1.2 Diē-dá in Ancient China 1.3 The story of Diē-dá 2. Tools of Diē-dá 2.1 Diē-dá jit and Diē-dá wan 2.2 Diē-dá gou 2.3 Treatment

Introduction to Diē-dá

Welcome! In this page we introduce Diē-dá in detail, including the background and history of Diē-dá and it's methods and treatments! Click on the sidebar on the left or scroll down to discover this amazing local culture!

1. Definition of Diē-dá

Diē-dá or bone-setting is usually practiced by martial artists who know aspects of Chinese medicine that apply to the treatment of trauma and injuries such as bone fractures, sprains, and bruises. Some of these specialists may also use or recommend other disciplines of Chinese medical therapies (or Western medicine in modern times) if serious injury is involved. Such practice of bone-setting is not common in the West.

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1.1 Background

Traditional Chinese medicine has a very long history dealing with orthopedics. Back in the old days of China, there were records about how ancient Chinese medicine practitioners helped people to cure bone problems.

With Western medicine being introduced to the Chinese, people started to seek doctors of Western medicine instead of Diē-dá. Yet, the beliefs among some Chinese people about the impact of Diē-dá and also the improvement made by contemporary Diē-dá practitioners, for example, in using X-ray to check bone problems helped to retain or even attract bone patients to seek Diē-dá as a medical solution.

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1.2 Diē-dá in Ancient China

The practice of bone setting appeared in China as early as around 3000 years ago. In fact, surgery was well accepted in ancient China. And, the use of anaesthetic agents in surgery was seen in in the third century. However, the social status of being practitioners of bone fractures generally appeared not to have very high in the medical history of China.

According to Chou Li’s Records of the Rites of the Chou Dynasty, there were four categories of medical practitioners being classified in the following order of importance as early as the Chou dynasty (ca.1030–722BCE):

  1. Superintendent doctor (supervises preparation of foods and drinks);
  2. Physicians (treats internal ailments);
  3. Wound doctors (attends to external wounds, ulcers, fractures)
  4. Venterinary doctors

Essentially, doctors who cured bone injury and wound were not as prestigious as doctors who treated internal ailments.

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1.3 The story of Diē-dá

Despite the fact that these doctors are not as highly regarded as other doctors, there were indeed some very famous practitioners. According to legend, the ‘God of Surgery’ Hua Tuo (華佗) (ca. 141–208 CE) noticed a hump on a cinnamon tree branch, as if it was grafted together. He recalled that this branch was grafted by his late father many years ago. A fantastic idea came to his mind: ‘Wouldn't it be nice if broken human limbs can be treated in the same manner?’ He was lost in his thought and accidentally tripped over in a mulberry bush. Then, he noticed how a deformed branch seemed as if it had been healed after snapping previously. He wondered if splints of wood (or tree branches) could help to prevent deformities. Hence, he conducted experiments on tree branches and proved himself right.

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2. Tools of Diē-dá

There are many tools or medicines used in Diē-dá, used extensively to cure different types of injuries, the most common ones including Diē-dá jit (鐵打酒), Diē-dá wan (鐵打丸), and Diē-dá gou (鐵打膏).

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2.1Diē-dá jit and Diē-dá wan

Diē-dá jit is a kind of alcohol used in Diē-dá, which has long been used before. About 800 years ago, monks used it to heal themselves after martial art training. Diē-dá jit is an analgesic liniment, which has been traditionally using by many Chinese martial artists. Martial arts masters usually blend their unique mixture of many aromatic herbs which may include myrrh and ginseng. The mixture, when combined, is believed to stimulate circulation, reduce pain and swelling, and improve healing of injuries and wounds.

Sometimes, Diē-dá jit was also used together with Diē-dá wan to give greater impact. Diē-dá wan is a kind of pills taken by patients. Diē-dá pills may include, for example, Ma Huang, Hong Hua, wine-dry Dang Gui, Sheng Di Huang, etc.

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2.2 Diē-dá gou (鐵打膏)

Common ingredients of Diē-dá gou are sugar honey, oil, water, alcohol, vinegar and some herbs then mix them up until it becomes glue. It is soft in texture. But when it becomes dry, it would be hard enough to serve as protection and for fixing the position of the injury. In terms of its functions, Diē-dá gou can disperse blood stasis (for early patients), relax muscles (for mid-term patients) and stimulate blood circulation, promote the reunion of the fractured bones, and also clear away heat and toxic materials.

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2.3 Treatment

There are techniques used in the treatmentprocess of curing injury of the muscle and tendon and the impact of the treatment can be seen in 5 ways:

  1. Promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis subside a swelling and relieve pain. This aims to use massage to reduce the fatigued blood vessel and muscle. Also, it increases the cycle of blood and lymph. It also increases the speed of the tissue recover.

  2. Stimulate the circulation of blood and cause the muscles and joints to relax and also to stop the convulsion. Through massaging, it can make an effect of limber up and thus relax the muscle and joint, helping to the injured part to reduce pain.

  3. Recover the function of joints and reduce the wrong joint. This can cure the damage of muscle, tendon, ligament, anadesma tissue, juncture olisthy and luxation. Also, this is used to emboli, restitution the joints.

  4. Clear and activate the channels and collaterals. This can make some stiff and intense tissue become normal. Also, this can cure the patient who have joint problems and cannot work smoothly. The function of joint can recover gradually.

  5. Expell pathogenic wind and eliminating cold. This can recover limbs function. For example, the technique of digital acupoint pressure of manipulation can vanish the pain of the injured body or limbs.

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