[Acupuncture, animal magnetism, and French medical orthodoxy (1780-1830)].Gesnerus. 2013; 70(2):211-43.G
This article analyses why the French phenomenon of acupuncture was confined to the 1810s-1820s. It argues that the French medical orthodoxy played a decisive role. First, we recount the history of the French reception of Japanese acupuncture from the late 17th century to the 1820s. Second, we go back to the animal magnetism trial to find some explanatory tools for the decline of French acupuncture. Third, we show that the oppositions to both therapies were not mere juxtapositions, but due to the growing strength of medical orthodoxy. Finally, we suggest a model of analysis of the French medical orthodoxy of the early 19th century through a set of multidimensional oppositions: anthropological (imagination/reason), epistemological (to heal/to explain), therapeutic (drug/fluid), nosological (organic disease/functional disease), and lastly, economic, moral and political oppositions (doctor/charlatan).