Robert Gorter did his acupuncture training in Holland and in Belgium during the years 1965 through 1973. His teachers themselves were trained in Japan and the UK by Chinese and Japanese acupuncturists.
Robert Gorter applied acupuncture anesthesia in numerous surgeries including caesarian sections, gall bladder removals, inguinal hernias, and dental procedures.
Robert Gorter assisted in several major dental procedures where a general anesthesia was proposed. He would apply acupuncture needles between the fingers to bring about anesthesia in the upper jaw (maxilla) and between the toes to bring about anesthesia of the jaw (mandibula).
Robert Gorter expressed to friends that through his studies of the scientific works by Johann Wolfgang Goethe we has able to understand where he had to insert the needles. Without exception, all dentist and oral surgeons testified that they were amazed how elegant this method was and more importantly, there was practically no bleeding! This is very important for a dentist as minor surgical interventions in the mouth cause massive bleeding: these bleedings hamper a good view and optimal interventions like implantations etc..
Then, after the death of Mao tse Tung US President Richard Nixon opened China for the West. Rapidly, cultural exchange programs where established with a few European nations and the USA. Between China and the Netherlands, there had also been established such an exchange program where 18 Chinese academics and 8 Dutch academics could participate and be invited by China or the Netherlands.
Robert Gorter (to his great surprise) was nevertheless proposed by the Chinese Government for his excellent work with acupuncture in the Netherlands for a three-week visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Quanchu. Of course, he accepted gratefully.
Then, a few months into 1981, the Dutch government sold a few submarines to Taiwan and this was perceived by the Chinese government as an act of aggression towards the People’s Republic of China. All invitations of Dutch academics were cancelled except the invitation to Robert Gorter. (See copy of the invitation letter by the Chinese government to Robert Gorter).
Robert Gorter was asked to appear at the Ministry of Education (Onderwijs en Wetenschappen) in The Hague to discuss the sensitivity of his visit under the given circumstances in view of the sales of submarines to Taiwan and the subsequent political “fall-out”. It is only known that at the Ministry of Education Robert Gorter was welcomed and instructed by representatives of the Minister of Education and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Buitenlandse Zaken).
Robert Gorter thus embarked on a KLM plane to Honkong in July of 1981 where he stayed three days before taking a hoover craft boat to Quanchu (Cantoon). Here he stayed one day and one night and then took a plane to Beijing (Peking). He remembers that the air conditioning in the plane was not functioning and everybody received a hand-foled fan which one could use by hand. It seemed that this was normal as the passengers did not seem to be disturbed by this. The temperature on board was unbearable for Robert Gorter but what could he do? Nobody spoke English.
Robert Gorter was received with full honors by representatives of the Ministry of Education at the airport of Beijing. Here, he met his translator for the following three weeks.
Robert Gorter had a busy schedule and he told us a lot about his experiences of which we remember a few and we will report here.
“The tradition of acupuncture was different from city to city. Doctors in one hospital would say: “We always puncture Heart 3 in cases of a myocard Infarction (heart attack)”; in another hospital in Beijing or in Shanghai they would tell me: “In case of a myocard infarction it is wrong to puncture Heart 3.”
“Some professors were very famous as they had certain mixtures of plant extracts which would be very effective in cases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or high blood pressure. The composition though was kept secret by the professor and when he died, he would take the secret with him into his grave.”
“On several days, I was taken to another general hospital. All of them seemed to be teaching hospitals as I was introduced to professors right and left and there was a large body of medical students present. I was shown several operations under acupuncture anesthesia and for different indications. Almost any kind of operation one could think of was done there. It seemed that both acupuncture anesthesia and Western anesthesia were performed. Also, I witnessed cesareans that were performed under acupuncture anesthesia.”