Portrait of the famous Vietnamese acupuncturist, Dr. Nguyễn Tài Thu

“Acupuncture King of Vietnam” and “Living Legend”are the names that many people give him – a researcher, a “miracle needle” of the acupuncture sector – Prof., Dr. Nguyễn Tài Thu, who  has saved many lives.

We met him in a small room of the Central Acupuncture Hospital in Hanoi. He revealed us interesting stories about his life, his exciting and arduous career.

A native of Hanoi, in 1946, the young man Nguyen Tai Thu was eager to join the suicide team to protect the capital. He recalled: “That day, I and my comrades participated in fierce battles against the French troops around the Dong Xuan Market.”

Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Tài Thu

According to Dr. Nguyễn Tài Thu, the time that he was both a soldier and a doctor was the source for innovation in his career later.

Highly decorated

In the war of resistance against the U.S., he volunteered to go to the firing line. At that time, there was no anesthetic to ease the pain, so injured soldiers had to suffer from very painful surgery. He successfully studied and used acupuncture to anesthetize thousands of fatal cases, after making experiments on his own body. Just to make sure that it worked, he applied it on patients.

At that time, the surgical approach of Prof. Thu was a surprise. Until now, the international medical world is still difficult to explain this. But with Prof. Thu, it merely comes from his love, sympathy for human pain.

“The image of wounded soldiers in the battlefield touched my emotion. They were not sad because of severe wounds, amputated arms, legs, but they were sad because they could not go to the battlefield. Their hearts were very valuable,” Prof. Thu said.

The whole essence of his research is in the two books “Modern Acupuncture” and “Using Acupuncture in Surgery” (1971-1973). Prof. Thu was the one who brought the essence of oriental medicine to the world, contributing to the human the therapies that Western medicine cannot cure, such as: psoriasis, Migrant headache and even using acupuncture in drug rehabilitation.

In 1977, a French diplomat went to Vietnam to be treated by Prof. Thu. After several months taking acupuncture, he was cured. Shortly after that, the French President invited Prof. Thu to France to introduce his acupuncture. For several years, Prof. Thu went to many European countries to teach acupuncture. He was hailed by the medical world as a mystery. In thousands of patients treated by Prof. Thu, there are many important people: the President of Tahiti, the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Mexico.

Performed anesthesia with acupuncture on the nephew of a Mexican political leader

Professor Thu was the one who suggested establishing the country’s first acupuncture hospital, and trained over 5,700 acupuncture physicians in the country. With his colleagues, he provided medical care and gifts to more than 500,000 children with disabilities, treated more than 1,200 drug addicts by acupuncture, etc.

Acknowledging the contribution of Prof. Thu, the state has awarded him many honors: the First Class Medal of Resistance against American, Second Class Medal of Labor, the title of Labor Hero, the title “good deeds” for many years and Hanoi’s the Elite Citizen in 2012.

Despite many successes in his career, physician Nguyen Tai Thu remains humble: “If I do something, it is not primarily due to my outstanding, my innovative breakthroughs that are complete new, but inheriting from the ancestor’s knowledge and experience.”

He often advised his students: “As physicians, we must first have a heart to quiver pain of others, but to be good physicians, we need wisdom.”

A few pictures of the professor in actions:

Lao Dong 

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