Following is an article written by Peter Chen that is used in his lectures in the Bachelor’s Degree program for the Sydney Institute of traditional Chinese medicine. It introduces the theory, great effect, advantages, research and clinical applications etc related to the highly recommended abdominal acupuncture.
Abdominal Acupuncture was highly recommended by both my respected teachers in Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of traditional Chinese medicine and teacher in Zhejiang University of traditional Chinese medicine. I was really amazed by the results and have used Abdominal Acupuncture as one of the major weapons in my clinic for 12 years afterwards.
More than two decades ago, Prof Zhiyun Bo came across a resistance case of low back pain with sciatica. Both Western and Traditional Chinese acupuncture failed to help. Prof. Bo decided to apply needles at the abdominal acupoints qì hai (Ren 6) and guān yuán, (Ren 4). The pain disappeared within 5 minutes. This was followed by success in numerous resistance cases, all of which achieved instant relief.
This triggered his calling to dedicating his efforts into the research and practice. In 1991, Professor Bo established his amazing Bo’s Method of Abdominal Acupuncture (BMAA). Four main points were raised in Prof. Bo’s paper entitled ZY Bo (The importance of the acupoint shén què in the study of the Abdominal Acupuncture. Beij Trad Chin Med , 4: p.13-14. 1993). He introduced the mother-system of all the meridians in the body known as the Abdominal Meridian System or “AMS”. The AMS is responsible for the Qì communication between meridians, the regulation of blood vessels and hence body circulation. It also acts as the core center of the Meridian System.
Professor Bo has discovered that there are three different levels of depth penetration on the abdominal wall to obtain the therapeutic results. Each level of depth penetration has its own functional mechanism and therapeutic effect.
- Superficial level of depth penetration on the wall is located the congenital AMS which develops together with the embryo and it involves the areas of the head, the torso, of the upper and lower limbs. The congenital AMS location is represented by the map of a miraculous tortoise;
- Deep level of depth penetration on the wall is located the acquired AMS which develops together with the visceral organs.
- Intermediate level of depth penetration on the wall is located the ordinary classical meridian system known as the Jing Luo System. This system involves the connection between the superficial level of the congenital AMS and the acquired AMS on the deep level.
Abdominal Acupuncture Chart
The tortoise’s head is centered at Ren 12, with its ears on the kidney channel just the lateral to Ren 12. The neck is at KI17, KI 18. The edge of the abdomen is at ST 25, and the shoulders are at ST24. The elbow is situated above the shoulder 0.5 cun laterally. The wrist is just inferior to the elbow and lateral 0,5 cun. The upper limb forms an inverted V. The hand is represented as a fist just beyond the wrist with the thumb up.
The lower portion of back is at Ren 6, the coccyx is at Ren 3, and the hip at ST26.
The knee is 0.5 cun lateral and inferior to the hip. Another knee point is halfway between Ren 6 and the primary one. All three points lie on the same horizontal line. The ankle is lateral to the knee and 0.5 cun inferior. The foot is just beyond this, with the toes 45° inferior and medial to the foot.
Post-Heaven Eight Trigrams (Ba Kuo)
Dr. Bo also discovered that by needling deeper into the muscle layers of the abdomen, he was able to quickly harmonize the zang fu viscera. The layout of the organs matched that of the Post-Heaven Eight Trigrams (Ba Kuo). The ancient diagram summarizes Dr. Bo’s clinical experience and establish a second system: The Zang Fu Organs System.
The site Li corresponds to the Heart and Small Intestine (RN12), the site Kun corresponds to the Spleen and Stomach (AB1 left), the site Dui corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine (SP15 left), the site Qian corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine(AB4 left), the site Kan corresponds to the Kidney and Bladder(RN4), the site Gen corresponds to the Upper Energizer (AB4 right), the site Zhen corresponds to the Liver and Gall Bladder(SP15 right) and the site Xun corresponds to the Liver and Middle Energizer (AB1 right).
Great Effect of abdominal acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are applied to the AMS, with the acupoint 神阙 (shén què) at its centre. The effect is almost instantaneous. Varying the degree of penetration depth can dramatically alter the therapeutic outcome.
This high level of efficacy is explained in Prof. Bo’s paper, published in 1993’s Journal of Beijing Traditinal Chinese Medicine entitled: ZY Bo. The importance of the acupoint 神阙 (shén què) in the study of the Abdominal Acupuncture. Beij Trad Chin Med , 4: p.13-14. 1993..
Some Related Research
- In the article “Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being (By Adam Hadhazy)” discussed the emerging and surprising view of how the enteric nervous system in our bellies goes far beyond just processing the food we eat. The abdomen is recognised as our second brain it has the largest number of nerve cells next to the brain. As a result it has immense control over our emotional well being as well as our overall health and is particularly important in the regulation of digestion. As a result abdominal acupuncture can be a very effective way of losing weight. Where there is an organic factor to weight. The abdomen produces about 80% of all serotonin, a hormone responsible for mood, sleep, learning and blood pressure. Abdominal acupuncture therefore has far reaching affects and also helps with low moods and improve sleep.
- According to a systematic review using a Chinese academic search engine, Wang et al. Found that from 1999-2007, 214 articles have been published related to Bo’s Method of Abdominal Acupuncture (BMAA) in China, including 96 clinical trials, of which 62 used comparative treatment for control groups. Efficacy was more than 90%.
Some Related Websites
What conditions can abdominal acupuncture treat?
Abdominal acupuncture can be used to treat all of the disorders that traditional acupuncture treats (see WHO list). It is particularly effective with pain relief. It also help lots of other problems.
Advantages or Bonus of Abdominal Acupuncture
It has been rapidly accepted and gained huge recognition because of its astonishing therapeutic results. It is very gentle as there is little needle sensation, for this reason 90% of people prefer it to traditional acupuncture.
- 1) Less needle awareness than traditional acupuncture, so giving painless acupuncture.
- 2) More effective and fast acting i.e. can bring pain level from a score of 10 (100%) to 2 (20%) or even zero (0%) within moments of starting treatment.
- 3) Particularly good for treating the weaker constitution i.e. elderly / children
- 4) Especially powerful at treating acute and chronic painful conditions.
- 5) Can treat a lot more in one session than conventional acupuncture.
- 6) Helps with weight loss and improves mood and sleep when we use it for treating other problems
What does abdominal acupuncture feel like?
It is a safer form since the needles are generally inserted superficially and therefore it is almost pain free acupuncture. You may feel a general warm radiating feeling or feel a Qi sensation in the relevant part of the body being worked on, such as the arm, leg or back rather than the area of the abdomen being treated.
How to Use Abdominal Acupuncture
- Select the proper needles
- How to insert the needles
- Three commonly used abdominal acupuncture techniques (Triangle Needling methods, 3 star Needling methods, Plum-Blossom Needling Methods)
- Important Prescriptions
- Needling The Heaven and the Earth
- Drawing Qi back to the origin
- 4 gates of abdomen
- Regulating the Spleen Qi
- Wind-Rheum points
Rules of Treatment
- 1. The first step in treatment is to use RN12 ,RN 4 (or RN 6), sometimes combined with ST 25 bilaterally. This improves the circulation of the abdomen and enhances all subsequent needle points that will be treated.
- 2. The second step in treatment,( called the four gates), involves bilaterally needling of ST24 and ST26. This promotes a circulation of Qi throughout the body, as a conventional acupuncture involving LI4 and LIV 3.
- 3. If the upper limb is affected, the needling is to the shoulder point. If the lower limb is involved, the points placed is at the hip area. This is then followed by direct acupuncture to the direct pain site to be needled.
How to Use Abdominal Acupuncture for Some Common Problems
- RN 12 and RN4
- KI17(affected side)
- ST24 (affected side)
- Depending on the location of nerve compression, KI18 can be used or additional points like RN 10 can be used.
- RN 12, R4, KI19 (Plum-Blossom Needling Methods can be used). Left side headache (KI19 left), Right side headache(KI19 right), top headache(0.5 Cun above RN12), back headache(0.5 Cun below RN12)
- Ｈeadache due to exogenous pathogenic factors: add Qu Chi（LI11）
- Headache due to Blood deficiency: add RN6 and ST25(both sides)
- Headache due to Blood stasis: Add RN6, ST24(both sides)
- RN12, R4, KI17(healthy side), ST24(affected side, triangle needling method can be used )
- If the affected area is big. The triangle can be bigger
- Elbow, Wrist Problems
- R12, R4, ST24(affected side), Upper Wind-Rheum point(affected side), KI17(healthy side)
- Sore Elbow plus triangle needling method with Superior Wind-Rheum point (Ab1, affected side)，
- Wrist pain plus Superior-Lateral Wind-Rheum point (Ab2, affected side) and LU7
- The middle of the wrist pain plus SJ5
- RN12, RN4, RN6, SP15(affected side)
- Pain is severe in the upper back: plus ST24(affected side), KI18(affected side) and Superior Wind-Rheum point (Ab1, affected side)
- Pain is severe in lower back : Plus ST26(affected side), Inferior Wind-Rheum point Ab4 (affected side)
- Pain is severe in Middle back: ST24(affected side), ST25(affected side)
- RN12, RN4
- ST24(affected side), ST26(affected side), Inferior Wind-Rheum point Ab4 (affected side)
- Inside of the knee: plus Ab5(affected side)
- Outside of the knee: Ab4 (affected side, triangle needling method)
- RN12, RN4, KI17, KI13
- Excessive: strong stimulation
- Deficiency: gentle stimulation
- Nausea or vomiting: 梁门ST21
- vertebrobasilar arterial insufficiency： ST24
- Phlegm and turbidity related: SP15
- RN12, RN 10, RN4, RN6, ST24(affected side), Ab1(affected side), ST26(affected side), Ab4(affected side)
- Headache, dizziness: KI17, KI19
- Speaking difficulties: 0.5 Cun above RN12
- Facial palsies: KI19(affected side), KI17(affected side)
- Sore Shoulder: KI17(healthy side), ST24(affected side)
- Hand function problems: Ab2(affected side), Ab3(affected side)
- Leg weakness: KI13(affected side)， ST27(healthy side)
- Ankle problem: Ab6(affected side), ST27(affected side)
- Upper body function problems: ST24(both sides)
- Lower part of the body function problems: ST26(both sides)
- Zhongwan（RN12), Xiawan（RN10), Qihai（RN6), Guanyuan（RN4）
- Shanqu(KI17), Huaroumen(St24)
- Qipan（Ab7), Qixue（KI13）
- http:// www.alljournals.cn/view_abstract.aspx?pcid=A9DB1C13C87CE289EA38239A9433C9DC&cid=B5F35A1FC27C1FF7&jid=CFB654158682304C335E8A980B872E13&aid=19253151C1AD6400AB0A875044A843F9&yid=140ECF96957D60B2&from_type=1
- Objective To observe the therapeutic effect of Bo’s abdominal acupuncture on chronic insomnia.Methods Ninety-four patients with chronic insomnia were randomly allocated to two groups.In the treatment group,62 cases of chronic insomnia were treated with Bo’s abdominal acupuncture,zhongwan（RN12）,xiawan（RN10, qihai（RN6, guanyuan（RN4, huaroumen（ST24）and wailing（ST26）were selected as major points,other Bo’s abdominal points were selected according to syndrome differentiation, acupunctured every other day, continuously for 15 times as one therapeutic course. In the control group,32 cases were ordered to take Estazolam, 2mg dosage,continuously for 30 days as one therapeutic course. The therapeutic effect and PSQI scores were analyzed in the two groups. Results The total effective rate in the treatment group（85.41 %）was higher than that in the control group（68.91 %,P〈0.05. PSQI score after treatment was lower than that before treatment in treatment group and after treatment in control group（P〈0.05). Conclusion Bo’s abdominal acupuncture has definite therapeutic effect on the treatment of chronic insomnia. Acupunctured every other day, continuously for 15 times as one therapeutic course. In the control group, 32 cases were ordered to take Estazolam, 2mg dosage,continuously for 30 days as one therapeutic course. The therapeutic effect and PSQI scores were analyzed in the two groups. Results: The total effective rate in the treatment group（85.41 %）was higher than that in the control group（68.91 %,P〈0.05). PSQI score after treatment was lower than that before treatment in treatment group and after treatment in control group（P〈0.05）.Conclusion Bo’s abdominal acupuncture has definite therapeutic effect on the treatment of chronic insomia.
- RN12, RN10, RN6, RN4
- KI17, KI19, ST24
- Ab7, KI13
- ST25, SP15
- Show how to select and locate the abdominal acupuncture points properly.
- Show how to use abdominal acupuncture needle techniques properly.
- Demonstrate how to treat the problems with abdominal acupuncture (volunteers needed).