The Medical Oath of Chinese Medicine Practitioners

Most people are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath, at least in concept. It's an oath physicians take when they embark on their journey as a healer.

When I graduated from Chinese medicine school, we had an oath which I loved from the moment I first read it. In fact, the day I graduated wasn't the last time I took this oath. I've done it many times over the years and I actually still keep a copy of it in my office where it can be read regularly by myself and my patients.

To me, this oath is a major grounding tool. A way for me to come back to who I am as a healer. It is called the Oath of Sun Si Miao.

A photo of me standing next to a statue of Sun Si Miao next to a medical university hospital in Chengdu, China

Inscription under Sun Si Miao's statue

Sun Si Miao lived in the 6th-7th centuries. He is still regarded as one of the greatest healers in the history of Chinese medicine and is often referred to as "The Great Healer" or the "King of Medicine." Even today, hospitals in China have statues of Sun Si Miao as a dedication to his extensive contributions to the medicine (many of which are still used in the present day). 

Sun Si Miao is also well know for his beliefs regarding the ethics of medical practice and about how physicians should conduct themselves. He believed that a physician should guard against certain thought processes and that a physician should treat all patients with dignity and care, regardless of whether that person was poor, wealthy, common or famous, or even the emperor himself. 

The Oath of Sun Si Miao

I pledge to follow the Way of the Great Healer.

When I treat an illness, I will first calm my spirit and fix my resolve.

I will not give way to wishes and desires, but will first develop an attitude of compassion.

Rather than ponder my own fortune or misfortune, I will work to preserve life and resolve the sufferings of all sentient beings.

I will treat all patients alike, whether powerful or humble, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, countrymen or foreigners, wise men or fools, all are the same.

If a disease should cause the patient to be looked upon with contempt by people, I will nevertheless maintain compassion and deliver care. I will look on those who are afflicted as if I myself were struck.

My patients' confidences I will keep like a soldier guarding a fortress. I will not speak ill of other practitioners.

Neither dangerous mountain passes, nor the time of day, neither weather conditions nor hunger, thirst or fatigue shall keep me from helping those who need me.

With this oath, I will fulfill my responsibilities and my destiny as a healer to each and every patient who seeks my care, until I am no longer capable of fulfilling my obligations, or until life no longer courses in my veins.

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Chris Volesky

Chris understands the struggle of dealing with chronic pain. Since childhood, he faced debilitating migraines coupled with injuries from a car accident as a teenager. He tried the standard conventional medical interventions, but nothing seemed to help. It wasn’t until he found the power of Chinese Medicine that his symptoms began to change.
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