Ancient Physicians: Bian Que
Updated: Feb 17
This is Chewy. He is the Chinese New Year Rat! He is not named after
Chewbacca, but Bian Que (bee-on chew; also spelled Bian Qiao), a physician from the 5th-4th century BCE. His original name was Qin Yueren and worked at an inn when he was young. While working there, a patron, in thanks for wonderful service, decided to pass along his knowledge of medicine to Qin Yueren. He was later given the name Bian Que, the name of a mythical physician from the time of the Yellow Emperor, because of his exceptional healing abilities.
Bian Que expressed the importance of pulse and physical examination for diagnosis, solidifying the 4 diagnostic principles of looking, listening, asking, and feeling. He was the author of the Bian Que Nei Jing (Internal Classic of Bian Que), which discusses aspects of pulses, internal organs, diagnosis, acupoints, acupuncture, and moxabustion not referenced in the Huang Di Nei Jing (in fact, some sources attribute part of the Huang Di Nei Jing to Bian Que). He believed in the natural world and medicine, saying, “A case is incurable if one believes in sorcerers instead of doctors.”
As with many figures, there is some mixture of reality with mythological attributes. Bian Que was known for many miraculous cures. From diagnosing impending death to bringing people back from the dead to performing the first open heart transplant, the lore surrounding Bian Que is deep and wide. What is true and what is myth may get obscured, but his contributions in the development and canonizing of Chinese Medicine persists through today in how we go about diagnosing and treating people.
As for Chewy, he is lost in the Wellness Doctor office and would love someone to find him and take him home with them. If you do, not only do you get a companion for life (or until he gets stuck in the rain), but you will also get a free Tui Na therapy session with Matthew!