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Acupoint Numbers or Names?

Posted by kelinsheng December 9, 2008 in the Group General Discussion .

Tags: , traditional chinese medicine, tcm, chinese medicine, numbers, names, jing luo, jingluo, acupuncture

    Here in the west (well, in Canada anyway) we tend to use organs and numbers for the location of acupuncture points.  When I began learning acupuncture points this was imensly helpful.  Bladder (BL) 11 is 1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the first thoracic vertebra.  All I had to do was remember the pattern BL 11 -T1, BL 12-T2, etc. until T-8 then skip one until BL 30.  All the points from BL11-30 are 1.5 cun lateral to the midline.  Simple enough.

    But the name of the "Bladder meridian is 足太阳膀胱经 (zu2 tai4 yang2 pang2 guang1 jing1) Foot TaiYang Urinary Bladder Channel.  The other Taiyang Channel is 手太阳小肠经 (shou3 tai4 yang2 xiao3 chang2 jing1) Hand Taiyang Small Intestine Channel.  By learning the names of the channels it was revealed to me that these two are the same channel (太阳) and that the Small intestine and the Urinary Bladder have to "communicate" with each other.  One is associated with 火 (huo3, fire) and therefore 阳 (yang2) and the other with 水 (shui3, water) and therefore 阴 (yin1).  So a problem in one may result in a problem with the other.  And if I hadn't learned the names, I would still be thinking that the main relationship with the Bladder is the Kidney.

    And as for the acupuncture point names, BL 11 大杼 (da4zhu4) usually translated as "great shuttle", but I'm not sure yet what the name signifies or hints at.

    Also, if I learn the names of the acupuncture points, then I can communicate with TCM doctors that speak mandarin and I'll also be able to read medical texts from China.

    So, do you think that by learning the number system we a destroying part of the medicine?


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