Nguyen Van Nghi

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Nguyễn Văn Nghị (11 January 1909, Hanoi — 17 December 1999, Marseille) was a Vietnamese-French physician who was prominent among those credited with bringing Chinese medicine to the West[1][2][3]


Born in Hanoi, French Indochina (present-day Vietnam), Nghi was educated in Vietnam, China and France. Completing his medical degree from the Montpellier University, he began a combined Eastern and Western medical practice in 1940.[4]

In 1954 he devoted his practice entirely to acupuncture based on the classical texts: Huangdi Neijing (Suwen, Lingshu) and the Nan Jing. He was a doctor, author, teacher and scholar of the classic texts of Chinese Medicine (acupuncture-moxibustion). Much of his life's work revolved around translating and adding his own commentary to an unmolested Tang Dynasty copy of the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic) from an ancient script into the French language.[citation needed]

What has been said to distinguish this particular version of the Huangdi Neijing from those available in China was that it included commentary by two Tang Dynasty physicians, without which, he claimed, made the texts indecipherable. He was insistent that Western medicine and Chinese Medicine were not separate scientific pursuits, but that there was One Medicine.[citation needed]

It would appear likely that some of this account is legend rather than history. The commentary referred to as that of 'Ma Yuan Tai (Ma Shi)' would most likely be Ma Xuan Tai (c.1580). The commentary attributed to Zhang Yan Yin (Zhang Shi)' would most likely be Zhang An Yin (Zhang Zhi Cong) (1619–1674). These dates would be consistent with the transmission of Chinese medicine to Vietnam in the 1700s.[5]

Van Nghi began to collaborate with Albert Chamfrault and M. Ung Kan Sam. The beginning of this school can be attributed to George Soulié de Morant who is the founder of the French school of acupuncture. By 1966 Chamfrault had become President of the French Acupuncture Association, and had succeeded in gathering all the physician acupuncturists - followers of De la Fuÿe, Niboyet and others under the same umbrella (The National Confederation of Medical Acupuncturists, founded in 1969. Chamfrault died in 1969 and Dr. Van Nghi inherited his mantle.[6]

Van Nghi's brother was director of the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Hanoi, and through him, Van Nghi had access to the North Vietnamese teaching text Trung Y Hoc (Studies of Chinese Medicine)and teaching materials from Beijing and Nanjing which explain the strong TCM flavor of much of his (especially later) writing. His contributions were incorporated into the syllabus of the British College of Acupuncture by Keith Lamont, Royston Low and colleagues.[7]


He died on 17 December 1999, aged 90, in Marseille, France.


Indefinite publishings
Translations and Exegesis of Ancient Texts

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Epitaph for Dr. Nghi (November 2000)
  2. ^ Thieme Almanac 2008: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine - Page 170 Manuel Rodriguez, "A Historical Overview - The real beginning of acupuncture in Spain was in the late 1960s, when Nguyen Van Nghi teaching a 360-hour program, taught in 30 weekends over 3 years."
  3. ^ Châm cứu cổ điển và hiện đại (Phần 1) - Acupunture Modern and Ancient "Rồi lần lượt có những nhà nghiên cứu có tiếng khác như: Chamfrault, Niboyet, Nguyễn Văn Nghị, Darras, Bossy và nhất là Nogier có sáng kiến lớn về Nhĩ châm, chính Nogier là người sáng lập ra Nhĩ châm hiện đại."
  4. ^ Profile of Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi at
  5. ^
  6. ^ Eckman, Peter; In The Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor; Cypress Books, SF 1996
  7. ^ Eckman, Peter; In The Footsteps of the Yellow Emperor; Cypress Books, SF 1996