Martial Arts, Chinese Osteopathy and Sports Medicine
Chinese sports medicine is a branch of medical study that the Chinese pursue for the attainment of better health, longevity, and the treatment of illness and injuries. Martial arts, on the other hand, strengthen the body and hone the techniques of self-defence. Although the two seemingly belong to different fields, they are both rooted in the study of the human body and the rhythms of human activity, the natural environment, medicine, physiotherapy, and the impact extending the mind and controlling one’s breathing have on the body. Chinese doctors study these principles for the investigation and treatment of illnesses. Martial artists apply these principles to their training and the use they make of martial arts. There is, therefore, much interconnection and integration between Chinese martial arts and Chinese sports medicine. What is more, in feudal times in China, practitioners of both sports medicine and martial arts were persecuted and the development of their arts seriously obstructed. This created a natural bond between Chinese sports medicine and Chinese martial arts and they only managed with much difficulty to carry on within the world of martial arts. The techniques of Chinese sports medicine became an integral part of the study of many martial artists. Among traditional Chinese martial artists, many of the masters were also experts in the treatment of sports injuries. Martial arts and sports medicine developed alongside each other, and this mutuality is a characteristic of Chinese osteopathy and sports medicine.
Chinese osteopathy is a branch of study in Chinese sports medicine. It owes its growth and development to the long history of combat and the years of struggle the Chinese masses had against injuries and joint illnesses. The vast body of theories and experience accumulated has made it an important part of Chinese cultural heritage. Its development over several thousands of years has made it a specialized field of study with a long history behind it.
In the ancient times, Chinese osteopathy and sports medicine were known collectively as sports medicine. In the Zhou and Qin dynasties, the treatment of injuries inflicted by weapons and injuries resulting from broken bones were regarded as different branches of learning. After the Sung dynasty, each became a special field of study. It was in the Yuan dynasty that it came to be called Chinese osteopathy and Chinese chiropractic. As its development continued, Chinese osteopathy came to deal not only with broken bones, but the treatment of injuries to tendons and other internal injuries as well. In the Qing dynasty, it developed into the study of Chinese sports medicine and physiotherapy. Today, in addition to injuries to the skin, flesh, tendons, bones, soft tissues, sinews and internal organs, Chinese osteopathy also treats joint pains and muscle pains, chronic degeneration, etc.