About the book

The Heian period, renowned for its art, poetry and literature is considered the peak of Japanese culture. It also saw the completion of the Ishinpō, the oldest surviving Japanese medical text (984 CE), which today is considered a national treasure.

It brings together material from Chinese medical classics on acupuncture, moxa, herbalism – including herbal formulas – dietary therapy, talisman drawings, sex regimens, Buddhist sutras and other writings. Some of the source material has since been lost in China itself and has only survived through its inclusion in the Japanese Ishinpō.

The Ishinpō contains descriptions of the causes of various illnesses and of their treatment with manual therapy.

It states that ‘most diseases are due to an energy form hiding in the body. Through manual therapy, one hopes to make an exit for it’. Manual treatment was thought to be especially helpful in coughing, dyspepsia and diseases of the respiratory organs.

The Ishinpō also describes specific physical manipulations for ‘body pains’, particularly of the neck, hip and back.

Online Version

Tokyo National Museum



Book Info

  • Title :
    Ishinpō 醫心方
  • Author :
    Tamba Yasuyori
  • Published :
    984 CE
  • Country :