Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Review Article

Ganzheitsmedizin Swiss Journal of Integrative Medicine Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013;25:110–118 Online publiziert: März 13, 2013
DOI: 10.1159/000349905

Anatomical Roots of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Claus C. Schnorrenberger
Lifu International College of Chinese Medicine, Basel, Switzerland

Keywords Schlüsselwörter
Classical sources of acupuncture anatomy in ancient China · Klassische Akupunkturanatomie im alten China · Organnamen in
Organ names in ancient Chinese texts · Anatomical nomenclature for historischen chinesischen Texten · Anatomische Nomenklatur für
acupuncturists · Safer acupuncture techniques · Reliable foundation Akupunkteure · Bessere Akupunkturtechniken · Zuverlässigere
for acupuncture research and practice of Chinese medicine Grundlagen für Forschung und Praxis in der Chinesischen Medizin

Summary Zusammenfassung
The earliest historic reference to a dissection of a human cadaver is Anatomische Wurzeln der Akupunktur und der Chinesischen Medizin
found in the biography of Emperor Wang Mang 王莾 who in 16 C.E. Die historisch früheste Dokumentation der Sektion einer menschlichen
­ rdered the medical dismembering of the body of a rebel named
o Leiche findet sich in der Biografie des chinesischen Kaisers Wang Mang
Wang Sun-Ching (occidental anatomy began only 1,500 years later). 王莾, der im Jahre 16 n. Chr. die medizinische Zergliederung des
Measurements were made of his internal organs, and bamboo rods ­Kadavers eines hingerichteten Rebellen namens Wang Sun-Ching
were inserted into his blood vessels in order to discover where they ­anordnete (die abendländische Anatomie begann rund 1500 Jahre
begin and where they end for the purpose of a better understanding s­ päter). Messungen an seinen inneren Organen wurden durchgeführt
of how to cure diseases. Similar anatomical dissections are mentioned und Bambusruten wurden in seine Blutgefässe eingeführt, um zu
in chapter 12 of the Huang-Di Nei-Jing Ling-Shu 黃帝內經靈樞, entitled ­ rkunden, wo letztere beginnen und wo sie enden, um ein besseres
e
Jing-Shui 經水. The ancient Chinese characters for body dissections Verständnis für die Entstehung und Behandlung von Krankheiten zu
­ iven here are the same as in modern Chinese anatomy, namely Jie-Pou
g erhalten. Ähnliche anatomische Sektionen werden im Buch Huang-Di
解剖. The courses of the pathways as laid out in chapter 10 of the Nei-Jing Ling-Shu 黃帝內經靈樞 (Ling-Shu Jing 靈樞經), 12. Kapitel
­Ling-Shu Jing could well be the result of such dissections; they are Jing-Shui 經水, erwähnt. Die klassischen chinesischen Schriftzeichen,
­elementary for acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Otherwise it cannot die hier für die anatomische Technik stehen, heissen Jie-Pou 解剖;
be explained why ancient Chinese physicians were able to denominate es sind dieselben Zeichen, die in China noch immer für das medizinische
the respective viscera properly with names still in use today and how Fach der Anatomie verwendet werden. Die Verläufe der Blutgefäss-
they could locate them topographically in their correct position as Bahnen, die im 10. Kapitel desselben Werkes beschrieben werden,
well as linking them to the vessel pathways leading to the periphery sind für die chinesische Akupunktur und Medizin grundlegend. Sie sind
of the human body. The majority of Western acupuncturists adhere vermutlich das Ergebnis solcher anatomischer Sektionen. Auf andere
to far-fetched assumptions about ‘meridians’, ‘channels’, ‘points’, and Weise ist es unerklärlich, warum die frühen chinesischen Mediziner die
­‘energy’ which have never existed in China. Western acupuncture verschiedenen inneren Organe mit den richtigen Namen benannt
thus relies on a basic logical error, a so-called Wrong Beginning (Proton ­haben, die auch gegenwärtig noch verwendet werden, und warum
pseudos πρῶτον ψεῶδος). That is why modern acupuncture finally sie die Organe topografisch korrekt platzieren und sie den an die
needs an anatomical nomenclature for daily practice and scientific ­Peripherie des Organismus führenden Gefässverläufen richtig zu­
­research including all the structures involved, which are still the same ordnen konnten. Westliche Akupunkteure verwenden eine skurrile
as 2,000 years ago. ­Terminologie, die «Meridiane», «Kanäle», «Punkte» und eine «Energie»
postuliert, die in China niemals existiert haben. Die westliche Aku­
punktur stützt sich somit auf einen falschen Anfang (Proton pseudos
πρῶτον ψεῶδος), der seit Aristoteles als Kardinalfehler in der Logik gilt.
Deshalb benötigen wir dringend eine anatomische Nomenklatur
178.23.216.177 - 9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM

Professor h.c. (China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Rep. China)
© 2013 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg
1015-0684/13/0252-0110$38.00/0 Dr. med. Claus C. Schnorrenberger, M.D.
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www.lifu-chinesischemedizin.ch

But it is easy to obtain surface measurements humain se trouve dans la biographie de l’empereur Wáng Măng 王莾 of a human being who is 8 feet tall. le démembrement médical du corps ­dissected to get a general idea of the appearance. and the blood vessels. the size and d’un rebelle nommé Wang Sun-Ching (l’anatomie occidentale ne the capacity of his viscera. 178. ‘New Yellow Emperor’. The objective of the investiga- raison pour laquelle l’acupuncture moderne a finalement besoin d’une tion was to determine the condition of the human viscera. Le by the imperial army.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM Anatomical Roots of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. and medicine. The earliest historic reference to dissections of human Des dissections anatomiques semblables sont mentionnées au chapitre ­cadavers is found in the Han Annals 漢書.177 . on ne peut pas expliquer pourquoi les The text continues: ‘Measurements were then made of ­ édecins de la Chine ancienne étaient capables de nommer correcte- m the internal organs and bamboo rods were inserted into ment les viscères respectifs avec les dénominations encore en usage the blood vessels in order to discover where they begin and aujourd’hui. J. We may speculate whether a proto- type of the famous medical book Huang-Di Nei-Jing has been among those texts [2. He was a reformer les mêmes qu’il y a environ 2000 ans. An inter- esting accompaniment of his reforms was the emphasis on the study of ancient literature.-C. 4]. cine chinoise. Mots-clés Accordingly. After death his body may be qui ordonna en 16 ap. ­biography of the emperor Wang Mang 王莾. by the court physician Shang Fang in association résulter de ces dissections. it is written Shu 黃帝內經靈樞) intitulé Jing-Shui 經水. One of his court scholars. Liu Hsin. Les caractères chinois anciens that the emperor ordered the dissection of the body of a utilisés pour parler des dissections corporelles dans l’ouvrage sont les rebel named Wang Sun-Qing 王孫慶 who had been caught mêmes qu’en anatomie chinoise moderne. La majorité des acupuncteurs occidentaux As it was conducted by a doctor. die unter Verwendung der genannten falschen Begriffe purer Nonsens bleiben. in the 12 du Classique interne de l’empereur Jaune (Huang-Di Nei-Jing Ling. evaluate the quantity and condition of the blood and the Qi (Xue Qi c­ ommença que 1500 ans plus tard). in der sämtliche Dissections of human bodies were seldom practised in morphologischen Strukturen.für die tägliche Akupunkturpraxis und für wissenschaftliche Unter­ Anatomy in Early China suchungen. edited many ancient texts on literature. C’est la Ling-Shu referred to above. entitled Vessel Rivers (Jing- Résumé Shui 經⽔) [2]: Racines anatomiques de l’acupuncture et de la médecine chinoise La référence historique la plus ancienne d’une dissection de cadavre ‘It is beyond human capacity to measure the height of the sky or the extension of the earth. A similar procedure is mentioned ture occidentale repose donc sur une erreur logique de base.216. Here. a systematic anatomical research could Sources classiques d’anatomie acupuncturale en Chine ancienne · not yet be developed in the early days.23. Autrement. le in chapter 12 of the acupuncture classic Huang-Di Nei-Jing ­«mauvais commencement» (proton-pseudos πρῶτον ψεῦδος). nomenclature anatomique pour la pratique quotidienne et la recherche the blood. les «canaux». We must not mutilate it ⾝體髮膚受之⽗⺟不可毀傷’ [1]. religion. original und richtig beschrieben werden. Confucius had said in his Filial Classic: ‘Our body with skin and hair comes from our parents. The book Huang-Di Nei-Jing Ling-Shu ⿈帝內經靈樞 states in its twelfth chapter. politics. tions in medical history. However. he adopted the title of Xin Huang Di 新⿈帝. périphérie du corps humain. Dies wäre eine Nomenklatur. et comment ils pouvaient les situer correctement sur un where they end for the purpose of a better understanding plan topographique et les associer aux voies vasculaires menant à la of how to cure diseases’ [3]. de ses organes internes et des tiges de bambou insérées dans ses v­ aisseaux sanguins pour découvrir où ils commençaient et se termi- naient afin de mieux comprendre comment soigner les maladies. à savoir Jie-Pou 解剖. Emperor Wang Mang scientifique comprenant toutes les structures impliquées qui restent was obviously interested in anatomy. The dissection was performed in ­réseau des voies décrit au chapitre 10 du Ling-Shu Jing pourrait bien 16 C. die noch dieselben sind wie vor rund ­ancient China because the human body was considered 2000 Jahren. with a ‘skilful butcher’ [3]. this perhaps was the adhèrent à des hypothèses fantaisistes sur les «méridiens». As he probably hoped to walk in the footsteps of his legendary prehistoric forerunner. sacred. Des mesures furent prises à partir ⾎氣)’. first real experiment connected with anatomical dissec- les «points» et l’«énergie» qui n’ont jamais existé en Chine.25:110–118 111 Downloaded by: . to measure the length of his blood vessels. the wish Noms des organes dans les textes de la Chine ancienne · to uncover the secrets of nature could not be completely ­Nomenclature anatomique pour les acupuncteurs · Techniques ­suppressed. il est élémentaire en acupuncture et méde. Medical persons as well as laymen have tried ­d’acupuncture plus sûres · Fondements fiables pour la recherche at different times to find out the exact conditions of the en matière d’acupuncture et sa pratique de la médecine chinoise internal organs.E. L’acupunc. emperor.

written and published by Shozen Here. liver. The coroner Wu Jian 吳簡 inspected the bodies carefully and made drawings of for anatomical dissections. large intestine. Dynasty (960–1127 C. the prefect Li one has died his body can be anatomically dissected (for Yi-Heng (李夷⾏) personally examined the viscera. spleen. pou 其死可解剖’. 2. right kidney (‘Ming- ­figures are not clearly recognizable. liver. Illustration from the book ‘Wan An nal organs’ 歐希范五臟圖 (visible are the spleen (blackened on left side). In the book Pin Tui Lu 賓退錄 from the Northern Song they were thought to be superior to those of Ou Xi-Fan. Front view of Ou Xi-Fan’s ‘Five inter. muscles. ­Accordingly.23. entitled Ton-i-sho. In his book ‘History of Modern Anatomy Medicine’ (1964) the Japanese medical historian Teizo Ogawa mentioned the reprint of Ou Xi-Fan’s Pictures of Anatomical dissections in ancient China are mentioned in the Five Viscera 歐希范五臟圖 in an ancient Japanese chapter 12 of the Ling-Shu Jing. and left and right kidneys (blackened). gallbladder. and the kidneys and intestines cut out. no one in China was This mass dissection is mentioned several times by other willing to donate his body for scientific purposes [7]. The captives ­depicted in figures 1–3 [8]. stomach.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM 112 Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. 1. 6]. ligaments. The physician says: ‘Qi si ke jie Song Dynasty many bandits were executed at Soochow.E. Fig. lung. anal tration from about 938–943 [8] (many of great vessels leading to the viscera. entitled Jing-Shui 經⽔. due to the quality of the original figures). Fig. were killed. the Chinese term for anatomy stems from this 178. namely jie pou 解剖. ‘In Kuang-Su the robber Ou Xi-Fan 歐希范 and his followers were Since only cadavers of robbers and bandits were used killed. which can be translated as: ‘After some- With the help of medical doctors and artists. ­fundamental structures of the human organism to the During the Chong-Ning 崇寧 period (1102–1106) of the ­emperor Huang Di ⿈帝. dia- canal) [8]. spleen. their abdomens opened. (楊介) and called the Atlas of Truth (Cun Zhen Tu 存貞圖). Fang’ 萬安⽅ (Ten ­thousand Helpful Pre- ­trachea. probably Men 命⾨’). and within two days 56 persons were dissected. small intestine. it gave rise to the erroneous them’ [5]. heart.) the following report is given [3]: For centuries this book was considered invaluable for teaching the members of the medical profession in China. Consequently. These pictures were edited by Yang-Jie for ‘anatomy’ are still the same. tendons. work. The blood vessels. ­assumption that dissections were simply a kind of punish- ment for criminals. 1–3). The drawings were known as ‘Ou Xi-Fan’s historic Chinese illustrations of dissected cadavers are Pictures of the Five Viscera’ 歐希范五臟圖. Illus.216. lung. the labelled Chinese characters in the cited phragm. the imperial physician Qi Bo 歧伯 explains the Kajiwara between 1302 und 1304 [5. 3. organs. and viscera of the bodies were gathered Ancient Chinese Body Dissections and together and examined (fig. Dorsal view of a human torso with Fig. and medical investigation)’ [2]. scriptions) published in 1315: The heart with kidney. physicians and painters assisted him by making detailed It should be noticed that the modern Chinese characters drawings of them. and stomach [8].177 . Three historic sources.25:110–118 Schnorrenberger Downloaded by: .

germ layers of embryology) unfold. gall­bladder. lung. 腎 Shen (kidney). – width of the oesophagus ⼼ Xin (heart). and – circumference of the colon descendens the length of the blood vessels. Here. small and large intestine. the brain Nao 腦 and the spinal cord Sui 髓 (which the Huang-Di Nei. anatomical structures (internal organs. – weight of the larynx ⼩. liver. as laid out in chapter ­anatomical understanding [2]. ing to the periphery of the body. ⼤腸 Chang (small and large intestine). in addition to the San Jiao In chapter 31 of the Ling-Shu Jing. the figures of the following the trunk.E. the names for 10 of the Ling-Shu Jing. Early Chinese Embryology The basic text of Chinese acupuncture. spleen. – width of the human mouth Here.216. – diameter of the small intestine muscles. the bones Gu ⾻ 178. used by modern Chinese anatomy are still the same names cians could name the respective viscera properly and how as used in the Ling-Shu Jing (see below). The Chinese charac- – weight of the tongue ters for the eleven organs involved are: 膀胱 Pang Guang – length of the tongue (urinary bladder). 膽囊 Dan Nang (gallbladder). are the result of such dissections. pericardium.177 . 胃Wei – width of the tongue (stomach).). passage in the book Ling-Shu Jing. 脾 Pi (spleen). entitled Jing Shui 經⽔ (The Vessel Rivers) – distance from the lips to the tongue (fig.23. their capacity. When the two have (Jing-Shui 經⽔). ⼼包 Xin Bao (pericardium).E. until 200 C. Vessel Rivers 卵⼦) with a male sperm (Jing 精). entitled ‘The Pulsating Blood Vessels (Jing Mai 經脈)’. Moreover. the Huang-Di Nei-Jing Ling-Shu ⿈帝內經靈樞.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM Anatomical Roots of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. bones etc. In my Most of these data come quite close to the modern view. For example. 4). compiled during the Han dynasties (about 200 B. 4. it cannot be understood how the ancient physi. the development of the human embryo is described.) of a person. the title of – circumference of the stomach a modern Chinese book on human anatomy which I have – diameter of the stomach used in the following is Tu-Jie Ren-Ti Jie-Pou-Xue Shou-Ce – maximum capacity of the stomach 圖解⼈體解剖學⼿冊 [9]. the Chinese emperor Huang Di explains the generation of the human being with the ­combination of a female ovum (egg cell) Jing 精 (the­ Fig. are expressly mentioned in chapter 12 of the anatomical measurements of the human body are listed: Ling-Shu Jing. Then. evaluated by anatomical post mortem dissections. In its tenth chapter. 肝 Gan (liver). 肺 Fei (lung). It contains a multitude of useful information for the practising physician as well as an amaz- ing amount of contributions to general medical under- standing. of united. in my view both correspond to the ectoderm of the three Jing Ling-Shu [2]. ­position as well as linking them to the vessel pathways lead. the respective eleven viscera are the body – distance from the teeth to the vocal cords (larynx) ­structures where the blood vessels (or ‘channels’) either – internal volume of the mouth lead to or from where they originate. entitled Intestines ­(Tripler Burner). the quality of the arterial – diameter of the colon descendens and venous blood including the amount of Qi 氣 can be – length of gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. muscles. and that the internal – topography of the course of the large intestine ­organs Zhang Fu 臟腑. ­k idney. urinary bladder. stomach. which represents the three main levels of and Stomach (Chang Wei 腸胃). tendons) Otherwise.25:110–118 113 Downloaded by: . they could locate them in their topographically correct The eleven internal organs heart.C. Two original modern Chinese term for the female egg cell is Luan Zi pages from chapter 12. – length of the oesophagus These ancient characters are the same organ names as – length of the stomach used in modern anatomy and medicine which means that the ancient and modern organs are at least anatomically identical [2]. their contents. – length of duodenum and jejunum Qi Bo points out that the interior of the body can be – circumference of the small intestine judged by measuring the structures on the outside (skin. has ­remained vital to this day. the courses of the blood vessels.

Thereafter. Because the brain and the spinal cord are mentioned. light because they turn out to be the neurovascular bundles The emperor points out that blood and Qi (Xue-Qi ⾎氣) of conventional medicine. at last.216. the significance of Drawing from about the human blood 938–943 C. non-medical translators of Chinese acupuncture texts out a beginning and an end. tion. 178. 5. 11]. blood-letting. including their quence. namely as a measurement of the intensity of blood flow within the body vessels. and then the new human being is ­Chinese anatomical studies allows for a relatively simple ­completed [2] (fig. It offers. ­explaining the the ­embryo. and that they are not visible on of needle therapy and of moxibustion (Zhen-Jiu 鍼灸). a sen­ is familiar with the blood vessels and blood circulation in sible scientific explanation of the effects of needle inser- the organism can determine life or death of a person. They both protect the internal contemporary Western acupuncture circles. European sinologists and other ­circulate continuously within the embryonic vessels with. 6. Showing the of chapter 10 from pubic hair. moxa burning. Fig. Therefore. Huang-Di emphasizes that a physician who ­erroneously so-called ‘meridians’. circulation [2]. the the Ling-Shu Jing ­vaginal opening. they are blood circulation. Chinese. Finally. Mai 經脈 run deep inside the human organism. the organs. morphological and physiological identification of the In this text. as a conse. 6). [8]. ­China. 5. ­contrary: Immaterial ‘meridians’ or ‘channels’ as pretend- ism. and the blood vessels Mai 脈 containing blood Xue ⾎ and ­ ccordingly.177 . Jing Fig. the vessels of the book Ling-Shu Jing are the vascu. the pathways and bundles of the organ. Fertilisation and embryology ­according to ­Chapter 10. namely ism are completely involved. muscles. the pathways. this Chinese source have obscured such elementary Chinese medical knowl- is the first one in medical history referring to the human edge due to their medical ignorance. On the lar. of the Ling-Shu page with the onset Jing.E. and cupping via the ­diagnose all different sorts of diseases and. The correct ­organs Zang Fu 臟腑. The vessels transport nutrients (Ying 營) called ‘meridians’ or ‘channels’. can treat and heal them well. ‘Meridians’ By means of a proper translation of this text the ordered The Western term ‘meridian’ originates from geography.25:110–118 Schnorrenberger Downloaded by: . They are not an aspect of medicine. They transmit the effects inside the muscles Rou ⾁. and the functions of the human Geographic meridians are related to the station of the embryonic development of the organism become evident. nervous and conductive pathways of the human organ. Notably. Thus. structures. described here as pulsating blood vessels Jing Mai 經 ed by westernised acupuncture are in fact the well-known 脈. which in the West have been A Qi 氣 come up. pulse diagnosis was developed and applied in [10. appear in a completely new as well as defence agents of the immune system (Wei 衛). the body surface. For this diagnostic regulatory centres in the brain and the spinal cord (CNS) reason.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM 114 Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. Original Mai. the tendons Jin 筋 and the the ones who must be blamed for the lasting confusion in muscles Rou ⾁ appear. the peripheral nerves were incorporated in the designation Chapter 10 of the Ling-Shu Jing explicates that the 12 Jing ‘vessel 經脈’. and all along scientifically identified structures of we may assume that the central nervous system (CNS) plus modern anatomy and of conventional orthodox medicine. and ­development of the the right kidney human embryo and (‘Ming-Men 命⾨’). vascular and nervous structures. the skin Pi ⽪ and the hair interpretation of the original texts according to early Mao ⽑ come up.23. sun at noon and are named Zi Wu Xian ⼦午綫 in modern In fact.

at best. 178. – other nervous pathways 神經道 Shen Jing Dao.177 . turists plus some paramedical Chinese physicians in the – the central nervous system with the brain 腦 Nao. A watery stream in the veins 派 [10. – the central nervous system with the brain Nao 腦. network of blood vessels (veins) running underneath the tionable lines drawn on the surface of the human skin surface of the body. and West. The surface of the body ⼀ well-known structures of conventional modern anatomy – 3. Xue Mai ⾎脈. 脉 Mai or 脈 (衇. a Korean Copper man constructed about 1600. ­medical history. in the context of this paper. which can be examined by pulse which. the meaning of Jing Mai 經脈 is: ‘The silk-like pinnings for medically retarded brains simulating ques. – The blood vessels ⾎脈 Xue Mai.25:110–118 115 Downloaded by: . such original Jing Mai 經脈 have nothing – 1. has nothing to do with authentic roots of Chinese medical The blood vessels (Jing Mai 經脈) transport blood (Xue ⾎) history. in fact.23. Listing the names and books of such irresponsible and oxygen (Qi 氣). deep in the – 1. and body liquids (Jin-Ye 津液). Underground water courses ⼮ and physiology.216. 脉. is – the spinal cord Sui 髓 (in conjunction with the spinal ­constructed with the components of: nerves). by initiators and interpreters tion to of a westernised ‘Foundation of Chinese Medicine’ which – tendons and muscles 筋 (肌⾁) Jin (Ji Rou). some of them sinologists. b Copper man from the Ming- Dynasty (1443). nutrients (Ying 營). Flesh ⾁ (⽉) to do with the (more or less) superficial denominations – 2. c Original Chinese Copper man (1027) [11]. Blood ⾎ of Western acupuncturists for such body lines and for – 3. immune ­defence pretenders would result in paying too much tribute to them agents (Wei 衛). ill-advised Western publishers) of widely spread acupunc. 7. mnemonic under. do not exist and have never existed in ­diagnosis’ [12]. 12]. radical is not ⼯ Gong. To examine the underground veins (the respective – The blood vessels in a narrower sense. ⾎永). ­Chinese acupuncture: The radicals and components used in the pictograph Jing The Chinese term Jing Mai 經脈 refers to the ‘pulsating 經 are: blood vessels underneath the body surface’. but Ting 壬) [12]. namely: – 4. by authors (encouraged by greediness and folly of – the peripheral nerves 神經系統 Shen Jing Xi Tong. consequently.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM Anatomical Roots of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. ­acupuncture ‘points’ which are. Silk 糹 ­interior of the organism. Accordingly. Such mystical structures are endlessly These Jing Mai 經脈 vessels include: dwelled upon by thousands of illiterate Western acupunc. A short summary of the vascular design of original The Chinese term Jing Mai 經脈 means ‘blood vessel’. and The second pictograph. ­laymen. in addi- ture texts and. most of them medical – the spinal cord 髓 Sui including the spinal nerves. a b c Fig. Accordingly. These Jing Mai 經脈 comprise – 2.

In today’s Western terminology the Ba Liao are named ‘Points Bladder 31–34’ which is a widely meaningless rendering of their original and scientific significance. e. 178. topography. some- Ji Rou 肌⾁ (explained in detail in chapter 13. Fig. and the struc- (Qi 氣) by breathing. 7c) is modelled accu- classical Chinese description corresponds. of the book Ling-Shu Jing). 16]. in Gray’s ‘Anatomy’ [11]. by 經筋.25:110–118 Schnorrenberger Downloaded by: . Fig. Jing-Jin times also called Bronze Statue of Acupuncture (fig. 9. – the peripheral nerves Zhou Bian Shen Jing Dao 周邊神 Anatomy in Ancient China and in the West 經道. The meaning of the pictograph Liao is ‘a hole in the bone’. Taiwan. 7). and body body for medical education in the history of medicine. in addition to tendons Jin 筋 and muscles constructed the famous Copper Man (Tong-Ren 銅⼈). though ­roughly rately according to modern anatomical standards as stated and in a preliminary way. The structures depicted are identical with those of the sacral bone given in modern ­anatomical books. Taichung. Illustration of the 8 sacral foramina from the acupuncture book Jing-Xue Hui-Jie 經⽳會解 published in Japan in the early 19th century in the Chinese language [17]. order of the then reigning Song emperor.. agents of the immune defence (Wei 衛). Medical University. It was the oldest model of the ­human (Ying 營). The statue was The blood vessels (Jing Mai 經脈) transport arterialised meant to be used for teaching acupuncturists and for exam- blood (Xue Qi ⾎氣) which is supplied with air and oxygen ining them on needle techniques. Republic of China. China ­physiology.g. Hongchien Ha. This The original Copper Man (fig. – other pathways of the nervous system Shen Jing Xi Tong In the year 1027. M.D. 8. the Imperial physician Wang Wei-Yi 王惟⼀ 神經系統. in addition to filling with nutriments tures of the human body.216.177 .9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM 116 Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013.23. A page from the Tong-Ren textbook with a description of the topography of the 8 sacral foramina (Ba Liao ⼋髎) [15. liquids (Jin-Ye 津液) also referred to as water Shui ⽔. with basic facts of modern by the neuro-anatomist Prof.

Why? No conflict of interest. the median and the ulnar nerves. This text was chiselled into stone plates that were rediscovered in Beijing in the early nineteen-seventies when a new subway Conclusion tube next to the old Imperial Palace was under construc- tion (fig. ­depicted here – the tendon of the long abductor muscle of the thumb. How does acupuncture work then? The answer is: Via these well-known anatomical structures including the ­central and the peripheral nervous systems. or Spleen 6 may help – the first dorsal interosseous muscle. Practical Consequences for Clinical Acupuncture Besides. – the common palmar digital nerve I. The majority of Western acupuncturists still adhere to far-fetched theories about ‘meridians’. Chapter 10 of the ­acupuncture classic – the short flexor muscle of the thumb.23. 8–10) [13. – the tendons of the short and long extensor muscles of The topography the thumb. Together with the statue Wang Wei-Yi pub. safer and more successful application of acupuncture in Neither ‘meridians’ nor ‘points’ are to be seen on this the West. Fig. 178. structures mentioned above. Stomach 36. it will come closer to the intention illustration. lished a textbook on topographic and anatomic features – the proper palmar digital nerve I.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM Anatomical Roots of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. 10. – the lesser multangular or trapezoid bone. osseous muscle. and the adductor muscle of the thumb. above and beneath. the original Chinese name for the body struc- tures mentioned above is He-Gu 合⾕. ­scientific reason why we finally need an anatomical Transmitting pathways of needle stimulation are the ­nomenclature for all acupuncture sites and structures we radial. ‘De Humani ­Corporis Fabrica’. to that described in – the adductor muscle of the thumb. – the first lumbrical muscle. and ‘points’. 1543 [18]. Liver 3. The points visible on its surface are in fact open holes – the radial nerve. Because such people know nothing about the basic ­anatomical structures they are actually dealing with. The They assume that ‘energy’ circulates within an ­imaginary ­ iaphragm with d and invisible tube system inside the human ­organism ­internal organs which modern medical research has still failed to detect. namely: the first dorsal interosseous muscle. in addition to are applying in daily practice. to be translated as When we pierce the point named in the West ‘Large ‘Meeting place in the Valley’ which refers to the connection ­intestine 4’ with a needle as shown on figure 11 we are between the first and second metacarpal bones. abbreviations for acupuncture structures like Large Intes- – the dorsal metacarpal artery. ­corresponds roughly – the first dorsal interosseous muscle.25:110–118 117 Downloaded by: . This is a practical and metacarpal veins. Furthermore. Ling-Shu Jing [2]. We know that some acupuncturists have injured the ­sources as laid out in the book Ling-Shu Jing. Why? Because such structures simply do not of the original historic acupuncture (Zhen-Jiu 鍼灸) exist. but they do not convey the – the adductor muscle of the thumb. On the second illustration of the He-Gu [11] (fig. the student initially to memorize the order and sequence – the first palmar interosseous muscle. (foramina). ‘channels’. Lung 5. 12) the From Andreas following structures can be distinguished: ­Vesalius’ – the second metacarpal bone. Basel. a negligence resulting in ­vascular injury with haematoma or in neural injury lead- ing to an impairment of nerves such as neuritis with Disclosure Statement ­persistent pain on the site of the needle insertion. – the opposing muscle of the thumb.177 . Western – the dorsal digital nerve (a branch of the radial nerve). 14]. of the vessel courses and acupuncture foramina. tine 4. It will certainly ensue in a ­autonomous nerve fibres surrounding the blood vessels. – the radial artery and veins. of acupuncture structures. in – the venous network on the dorsum of the hand. the first palmar inter- – The skin and the subcutaneous tissues. addition to all other anatomical tissues involved. namely dealing with well-defined body structures.216. slightest factual and morphological let alone scientific – the main artery of the thumb surrounded by palmar ­information to the practitioner.

original edition.25:110–118 Schnorrenberger Downloaded by: . Berlin. Chinese tions of acupuncture. Walter de Gruyter. quoted after Chimin Wong K. in Zhong-Cuo ­Being a Chronicle of Medical Happenings Oxford University Press. China Medical College Annual ­Being a Chronicle of Medical Happenings Times to the Present Period. Anatomical Structures of Acupuncture (in co. Acupunct Med   2 Huang-Di Nei-Jing Ling-Shu. ­Chinese Medicine).D. Soochow/China. ed 2. Etymology. Shanghai. History. on the Tong Ren. New York. nification. Journal of Medical History.14. Shanghai. pp 102–104. operation with Professor Hongchien Ha M. 中華醫史雜誌. 1936. 12. Wuhan/China. 1965. Stuttgart. The red circle shows the so-called target structure for the needle insertion. The Classical Text Attached to the Illustra-   3 Han Annals Han Shu 漢書. Hong Kong.) 17 Yuan Chang-Ke: Jing-Xue Hui-Jie 經⽳會解. ture of acupuncture structures. New York. ⿈帝內經靈樞.   9 Feneis H. 178. Beijing. ⿈帝內經素問. ­Chinese Medicine. 1996. Yi-Xue Da-Cheng (The Great Collection of in China from Ancient Times to the Present 11 Schnorrenberger CC: Compendium Anatomi.52:59–72. Fig. Okajimas Folia Anat Jpn 1975. Shanghai. Dover Publications Inc. quoted after Chimin Wong K. 2001. Classification and Sig. 1852 (and Xue Shou-Ce 圖解⼈體解剖學⼿冊. References   1 Han Annals Han Shu 漢書. Gu-Ji Chu-Ban-She. 2002. an anatomical nomencla- Service. ed 2. ­Medical Happenings in China from Ancient Acupuncture. Hand. book of Human Anatomical Science (in Jing. Shanghai Da- ­Period. 1994. Summary and Explanation of Acupuncture modern editions). National Quarantine cum Acupuncturae. Dauber W: Tu-Jie Ren-Ti Jie-Pou. pp 196–197. Textbook and Atlas of Dong Shu-Ju (Shanghai Bookstore of the Great Service. Illustration of the He-Gu foramen with a needle in situ [11]. ern Song-Dynasty (960–1126). Corp. 16 Wang Wei-Yi: Tong-Ren Zhen-Jiu Shu-Xue Tu- modern editions).   6 Ogawa T: History of Medicine (in Japanese). standing an Ancient Healing Art. Paragon Book Reprint 18 Vesalius A: De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Under.   5 Ogawa T: The beginnings of anatomy in Japan. Their Origin. East). 1964. 1996. 1982. 10 Kendall D: DAO of Chinese Medicine. Biography of ­Chinese). Japan 1854 (in Chinese). 1936. National Quarantine   8 Zhonghua Yishi Zazhi. Biography of   7 Chimin Wong K. 1892 (and (in German). ­Basel.24:68–74.14:89–103. 1936. pp 194–196. Wang Mang. Vessel Points... Shanghai. Being a Chronicle of 14 Hongchien Ha: A Survey on Bronze Statue of Lien-Teh W: History of Chinese Medicine.23. ed 2. 12 Wieger W: Chinese Characters. Lien-Teh W: History of 13 Hongchien Ha: Personal communication. 1936–1937. Bulletin 1988. Thieme/Ho-Chi. around 1027 in the North- Lien-Teh W: History of Chinese Medicine. 1543. original edition. tions of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Points Wang Mang.177 .216. Fig. in China from Ancient Times to the Present National Quarantine Service. 11.9/16/2016 9:39:46 AM 118 Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2013. 15 Schnorrenberger CC: Morphological founda- Period.   4 Huang-Di Nei-Jing Su-Wen. Illustration of the He-Gu [11].