上工治未病 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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shànggōng zhì wèibìng 上工治未病

Great Physicians Treat Before the Outbreak of an Illness.

高明的医生施治于病发之前。“上工”指高明、上等的医生;“未病”指疾病稍有症候,但尚未真正发作的状态。作为中华医学的重要原则,它要求医者精通病理、医理,对病症、病势、病程等有超强的预见力、判断力和控制力,做到早发现、早预防、早治疗,其核心在于预防——预防疾病的发作,预防疾病的转移、变化与传播。它也是中华卫生医学的基础理念,体现了中国人“未雨绸缪”“防患于未然”的治事智慧。

The best physicians start treatment before the outbreak of an illness. Shanggong (上工) means skillful, first-rate doctors; weibing (未病) is when the slightest symptoms appear but before the actual onset of an illness. This important principle of Chinese medicine requires a doctor to have a thorough command of pathology and medicine, as well as an exceptional ability to anticipate, judge and manage the signs, nature and course of a disease. This enables early discovery, early prevention and early treatment, the essence of which is prevention – preventing the outbreak, metastasis, development and transmission of a disease. This is a fundamental concept of Chinese health and medicine, an example of Chinese wisdom in “preparing for rain before a storm” and “guarding against disaster before it occurs.”

引例 Citations:

◎是故圣人不治已病,治未病;不治已乱,治未乱。(《黄帝内经·素问·四气调神大论》)

(所以圣明的人不是在发病后才施治,而是在发病前就已经施治;不是在动乱发生后才治乱,而是在动乱发生前就已经做好防范。)

Thus the wise begin treatment before the outbreak of a disease, rather than after; they do not quell disorder after it erupts, but take preventative measures before it emerges. (Yellow Emperor’s Internal Canon of Medicine)

◎上工,刺其未生者也;其次,刺其未盛者也;其次,刺其已衰者也。……故曰上工治未病,不治已病,此之谓也。(《黄帝内经·灵枢·逆顺》)

(高明的医生在发病前就施用针刺,次一等的医生在病情尚未严重时施用针刺,再次一等的医生在病情已经减弱时施用针刺。……所以说,上等的医生在发病前就已经施治,而不是在发病后才施治,说的就是这个意思。)

The greatest physicians apply acupuncture before an illness begins; lesser ones do so before the illness gets serious; still lesser ones do so after the illness begins to subside… That is what we mean when we say that the best physicians start treatment before the disease rather than after. (Yellow Emperor’s Internal Canon of Medicine)

◎善医者,知病势之盛而必传也,预为之防,无使结聚,无使泛滥,无使并合,此上工治未病之说也。(徐大椿《医学源流论·表里上下论》)

(精通医术的人,知道病势严重时必定会转移,所以预先采取防范措施,避免病气聚集,并且不让它扩散,避免多种疾病同时发作,这是上等医生治未病的基本含义。)

A skillful practitioner of medicine knows that a disease will spread once it becomes serious and takes preventative measures ahead of time; this prevents pathogens from growing and spreading, and prevents the simultaneous emergence of several diseases. This is why we say a great physician treats before an illness. (Xu Dachun: The Origin and Development of Illnesses)

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