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Transcript: Van Nghi & Tran - Gynecology 1988 | San Jiao Energetics | The Dao of

The Loss of a Hero and a Man of Heart

In 1998, Dr. Van Nghi brought me issue # 180 (November-December) of the revue
franaise. He pointed out, with some urgency, this article by his daughter, Christine
Recours Nguyen. He let me know in very clear terms it was quite important to him
that this article be translated and published in English. It honors and recognizes the
passing of Doctor Nguyen Van Huong. This was so typical of Dr. Van Nghi, to point
the spotlight away from himself. Van Nghi said much of what he has brought to us in
the west was ultimately made possible by this doctor.


Christine Recours-Nguyen, M.D.
(1998, #180, 313-314, translation by Norbert Goode 11-2-98)
An innocuous article in a major Vietnamese newspaper announced the sad news:
"Doctor Nguyen Van Huong expired at the age of 92 on the 4th of August, 1998 in Ho
Chi Minh City (Vietnam)". In France, his death passed completely unnoticed. You
might say: "who was this man?" For Vietnamese, he was a hero of the resistance
movement, a forceful partisan for independence, loyal companion of Ho Chi Minh,
courageous fighter from the very beginning, steadfast defender of moral values, a true
humanist who able to give back to his country the sense of national pride. But of what
significance is his life to acupuncturists? Unfortunately many are not aware (probably
due to his legendary modesty) of the outstanding role he played in the rediscovery and
advancement of Traditional Chinese medicine in western countries. He began his
study of Medicine in Paris and graduated from medical school in 1932. In 1934, he
gained employment at the prestigious Pasteur Institute in Saigon. It is there that he
became known for his advanced research on a strain of typhus, as well as publishing
articles in French medical journals which drew considerable acclaim. In 1935, he
intended to continue his work and intensify his research at the Pasteur Institute of
Paris. But he was harshly rebuffed as unworthy of this venerable institution, where
research was deemed the domain of native Frenchmen and not lowly immigrants. This
denigrating reaction to his efforts made him realize how poorly he was being treated
for the simple fact that he was a citizen of a colonized nation. He therefore joined
forces with Ho Chi Minh for whom he became one of the best and most active
fighters for national sovereignty. Once his country gained independence, he was
named Vice President of the National Assembly and most importantly he became
Health Minister in Pham Van Dong's government.
As for us acupuncturists it is for his capacity as Health Minister that we owe him a
debt of gratitude. Remaining all the while very francophile, he had the presence of
mind and the immense merit of authorizing the release of important documents on the
subject of acupuncture being performed in war-time. He also made available
historically significant books on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Thanks to him and
with the assistance of Doctor Tran Quang He, Doctor Nguyen Van Nghi was able to
access a considerable amount of information, documentation and basic knowledge.
The outcome, after a lengthy period of research, was the publication, in 1966, by Dr.
Van Nghi, in collaboration with Dr. Chamfrault, of the first western treatise on
acupuncture; "Human Energetics." This really was in fact the very first piece of work
revealing the important notion of energy or Qi, which up to that point in time had
gone totally ignored. The only information available at the time was misleading and
inaccurate information produced by a "student" of Chinese history and civilization, a
sinologist, who, in all respects, should be commended for bringing out the
information and making it available, although, as a layman, he was not qualified to
decipher it. This "referring" sinologist was considered taboo and was reviled; the
information and notion be brought to light caused hostile and vociferous reactions
based on and mixed with ignorance, malevolence, racist undertones as well as
personal and political relations and sanctions.
At the present time, acupuncture, far removed from these debates of another era, must
take a good look at itself without partisanship nor prejudice. Unencumbered forever,


let us hope, of the undue influence of "sinologists" and of metaphysical
considerations, it's only objective is to continue and to put the finishing touches on the
work initiated by Dr. Nguyen Van Huong, with the aim of revealing this science and
making it available in it's entirety.
However at the present time, we can consider that only one third of this knowledge
has been uncovered or divulged. It is therefore our duty to relentlessly continue the
work of discovery and interpretation of the basic knowledge and notions of energetic
acupuncture made available by Dr. Nguyen Van Huong. With that in mind,
acupuncturists should be grateful to this great man for having been the initial
instrument for the dissemination of the fundamental notions of Classical Chinese
Medicine. May you pay him due homage and may you do justice to his legacy. Our
entire staff wishes his family and those close to him our saddened and heartfelt

Dr. Nguyen Van Huong, Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi


Nguyen Van Huong, Nguyen Trong Khanh, Nguyen Van Nghi

Members, AMO
Truong Tan Trung, Phan Van Hieu,
Nguyen Van Huong, Habib Daniel Henry, Nguyen Van Nghi, Tran Viet Dzung

Ling Shu:
The Cosmic Hinge
Sean Christiaan Marshall, D.Ac.



Hinges, throughout the cosmos, throughout religion, philosophy and science and
indeed, throughout Classical Chinese medicine are a universal phenomenon. Hinges
create the stabilizing liaison that unifies opposing forces. They result in the interphase
"link" between complementary phenomena. From physics: the combination of three
quarks that weave webs of energy into what we call matter, from Christian teachings:
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, or from Chinese medicine, the grand triad:
Heaven - Life - Earth or its microcosmic replica: Upper, Middle and Lower Jiao. In all
triads there is created, as a direct result of "relationship". a fusion where "two" meet to
make "three".
As the Great Yang of Heaven descends to touch and activate the Great Yin of Earth,
that fusion, that hinge, is the biota. It is us. It is the realized action of the great cosmic
intelligence. The dao manifest. That is the discussion in this "Bible" of acupuncture,
the Lingshu. That, in all its subtleties and fine connections. Its sources and links. The
schematics and formulae of life, consciousness, and intelligence in healthy interplay
with the cosmos. And, how these become diseased and how they are restored.
Through more than 50 years total of dedication and work on the full range of Chinese
medical classics there has been a triadic force in the form of Drs.' Nguyen Van Nghi,
Tran Viet Dzung and Christine-Recours Nguyen. Through the effort of ten years of
labor just on this one book alone, they have restored and completed for the West, this
monumental work: "Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu" . This book in its form and
completeness is like nothing yet seen by western eyes. I say this having examined
over the years a number of renditions of this work, from valiant and sincere efforts, to
some truly careless and useless translations. I also make this statement from the
position of being a team member in a translation effort of the Su Wen, Ling Shu and
the Nan Jing some twenty years ago. I have had a constant exposure to the dialogs of


Qi Bo and Huang Di throughout that time and no one has penetrated the depths of
their meanings with the lucidity of Van Nghi et al.
I find at the bottom of the preface of Tome III, Van Nghi's signature and the date:
"Marseille, October 10, 1998." As I look back it was just one month later, November
9th, 1998 that found Van Nghi, Tran and me sitting in my office at Jung Tao School. It
was Sunday and the conclusion of three days of presentations by these two men. Van
Nghi nudged me with his elbow and smiled, he handed me a stack of transparencies,
his notes and graphics from the lecture and he said, in English, "you must take these,
put your name on them, put 'Jung Tao' on them and publish them for everyone," he
points to the bookcase and his works (in French), "these belong to everyone and you
must see this through". [well, I will surely put his name on them]
Almost a year later, in August 1999, we had brought Van Nghi and Tran to the USA
again. This time in Charlotte, North Carolina. At dinner, laying his hand on my arm he
reminisces (in French) to those of us at the table. We wait as the interpreter says, "17
years" he said, "that Sean has worked with me". He looks at me. "you must be
diligent, you must work hard, you must keep Chinese medicine alive."
I say all this not to shine any light my way, these works are the "star". I am nothing
but a conduit following the instruction of my teacher. I say all this in order to bring
into focus the sacredness and seriousness of perpetuating this work and the honesty,
stringency and accuracy Van Nghi would demand. Van Nghi would repeatedly say:
"this is not me, this is not you, this is Ling Shu, this is Su Wen... we will die, we will
end, but this wisdom belongs to the world and it will go on forever.
On December 18, just four months later, early in the morning my phone wakes me. It
is Tran: "our master has died. We must now take his task from him". No one on the
planet knows this more than Tran. No one on the planet knows this material better
than Tran. He has lived it and breathed it for the last 27 years. In 1987 Tran said to me
"I met Van Nghi 10 years ago... and I haven't slept since". It's seems neither of them
slept. Even at 90 years of age, Van Nghi with Tran would rarely be home when I
called - "they are in Italy, or, they are in Spain, or Brazil, or China or Vietnam."
Tran calls us "frre d'arme" brothers in arms. In the spirit of Van Nghi, in the spirit of
the warrior, of whom it is said, takes dregs from his master and from them, derives
pure liquid. From ancient-language Vietnamese sources of the original Chinese texts Van Nghi has done this. The task now befalls us. We must do the same. Our master
has died, and this work goes on.

Regarding the accompanying text from the Ling Shu:

There has been some pressure to get this material out to the profession. Both from
those within the profession who know of this work and from Van Nghi and Tran
themselves. Van Nghi and Tran have both entrusted and charged me with seeing to the
English language publication of this work. Work began in earnest in June 1999.
Thanks to Dr. Edward S. Garbacz, Jung Tao's dean of faculty, the entire Ling Shu is in

English now. However, we must remember the 10 years spent by Van Nghi, Tran and
Christine (who is Van Nghi's daughter, by the way) to bring just this one work into the
French language. French, by the way, is the perfect medium to provide a "hinge"
between Asian languages and English due the the subtle nuances available to it. To
anyone with a solid training in Chinese medicine, the French language rendering by
Van Nghi is exquisite, eloquent and completely without ambiguity. We have taken the
initial translation from the French, by Dr. Garbacz, and it is now undergoing intense
scrutiny for typographical errors, standardization of terms (there are some
conventions of terminology that are specific to French or Vietnamese that are
equivalent but alien to common North American terminology) and we are adding
some clarification and commentary where needed. Some additional expertise must be
consulted and it is nearing final completion, but we must be patient for the sake of
authenticity and accuracy.

Below, excerpted from this great work, is Van Nghi's preface to Tome III of the Ling
Shu and a portion of Chapter IX, "Beginning and Ending" (Zhong - Shui)
NB: I have humbly taken "a very little" artistic license from a literal English
translation to an interpretation of Van Nghi's preface in that it represents exactly what
he has said to me personally. -scm
Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu
Nguyen Van Nghi
Tran Viet Dzung
Christine Recours Nguyen
This work represents the conclusion of Volume III of the Lingshu which finally
completes the study of this monumental yet basic work of Classical Chinese
We experience at the same time a feeling of pride and relief because this was a work
of extremely arduous translation, comprehension and analysis which had demanded of
us more than 10 years of labor.
This reference work presents short but highly accurate "abstracts" about very involved
and complex facts which made it necessary for us to continuously decipher, re-place
and transpose the information in order to make it accessible to every acupuncturist.
Like the two previous volumes, we have also included the commentaries because,
presented without elaboration, this book is nearly incomprehensible.
Thanks to the expert interpretive critique of the most reputable commentators over the
centuries, and much more modestly by ourselves, one achieves a clarification and a
in order to not mistakenly see only a primitive medicine that's without interest

in order to better comprehend CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine), to deeply delve
into all its facts without arbitrarily neglecting some (as in the present time for
example, the Luo and Curious vessels)
and in order to envision WM (Western Medicine) from another perspective, different,
but complementary and enriching.
In effect, concerning this point of view, the Lingshu offers us the possibility of
drawing from it numerous ideas of modernity. We are able to cite the most obvious
1. There is a postulate that has become recently universal: "Energy creates matter".
This is equivalent, though stated differently, to the famous phrase: "The Qi forms the
Xing" found in the Lingshu.
In this manner these two notions have arisen, first from modern science, the second
from CCM. Even though these notions have originated from great geographic and
chronologic distances and intellectual antitheses, in the end they express the same
For the Occidental world, this postulate came from observation of physical
phenomena from the second part of the 20th century, but this notion concerns more
particularly the physico-chemical than medical field and it remains still quite
neglected in the field of WM in accordance with Cartesian medical reasoning.
For CCM, whose reasoning originates from a specific thought process of the Oriental
mind and is applicable to every field and not just medical, this postulate has been
known since the dawn of time.
In this way, we learn in the Lingshu that every change in matter always comes from a
change in the state of the energy.
2. Another very modern trend is the development of immunology in WM.
A large part of the Lingshu is devoted to the Wei Energy.
Wei, defensive energy, plays a similar role to known immunologic processes because,
like innate, non-specific immunity, it permits struggle against pathogenic agents
introduced into the organism. It is then possible to establish a correlation between Wei
energy and immune defense.
Immunodeficiency, otherwise known as Emptiness of Wei, is, in WM and CCM, at
the core of all disease.
It is said in the Lingshu: "Wei energy defends us and kills us."
3. In the Lingshu is also found a mode of reasoning that is relatively only recently
revealed in WM and which paradoxically, considerably modernizes it. For example:


the notion of cycles, a fundamental concept in CCM which now enjoys a deeper
understanding in WM (Krebs cycle, cardiac cycle, menstrual cycle...),
the notion of chains with stimulation, synthesis and inhibition (hormonal secretion,
muscular movement, glycemia, blood volume...),
the notion of environmental or behavioral factors (ethnologic, psycho-social),
the notion of "gate" or "door" ["men" , in Chinese] (gate control in pain physiology,
gate in the regulation of cellular membrane permeability to ions).

These ultra-modern ideas of cycles, chains, chronobiology... and still others, are
already contained in the Lingshu, three thousand years old, as well as clinical
examples (like the formation of tumors). The continued study of these ideas can
improve the practice of both CCM and WM.
To anyone going to the trouble of delving deeply into the information contained in
this bible of Chinese medicine are furnished knowledge applicable to modern
We achieve then a novel enlightenment regarding pathological processes observed in
a manner fundamentally different from present scientists.
On the one hand, one notices the distortions in matter without however managing to
explain it, and, on the other hand, and enhancing scientific examinations, one better
recognizes and identifies the pathologic state as soon as it appears and treats it at the
level of the energy.
If one can, therefore, apply certain knowledge from CCM to WM, inversely it is just
as easily understood that it's possible to apply certain knowledge from WM to CCM.
But to do it systematically, without mutual exchange, in an environment of a
preponderance of WM, risks over-Occidentalizing acupuncture. If there is too much
desire to conform to scientism, CCM will lose its identity and its natural essence.
In this way, we observe that the present tendency, both in China and Vietnam, is
especially to develop herbal medicine or points of acupuncture as some sort of
"recipe". This course is dedicated to failure because the extreme energetic variability
of the individual is barely taken into account. One consequently only attaches
importance to the primary, simplistic bases of CCM, a phenomenon dictated not only
by medical misjudgment but especially by the profit motives of commerce and
economic demands.
As a result, fundamental investigations are neglected for profit gains and immediate


But true Acupuncture comes from the Lingshu and other magistral works, sources of
pathophysiology and therapy in CCM.
It is only by reading and analysis of the Lingshu that one will achieve the further
development of CCM and increase one's mastery of the disease process.
We hope that the accomplishment of bringing the Lingshu into this present form will
provide the practicing physician and scientist every benefit expected for themselves
and the patient.
We envision the time which will see the fusion of these modes of thought, of these
two medicines, succeeding to bring forth one universal medicine.
Then we will not have labored in vain.

Marseille, October 10, 1998

Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi

Excerpted from the English language translation:

Lingshu - Tome I - book I

Beginning and Ending
(Zhong Shui)

Chapter 9 of the Lingshu is devoted to the presentation of:

* the 3 Yin channels and 3 Yang channels
* the pulsology and classification of Renying and Cun Kou
* emptiness and fullness, able to be regulated by tonification and dispersion
* the utilization of a small or significant number of points
* and the duration of the interval between acupuncture sessions.
The techniques of needling are also noted:
* local needling or needling at a distance, based on the existence of the circulatory
pathways of the energy
* the depth of needling as a function of Yin and Yang nature, the "seasonal" nature of
the illness, the constitution of the subject and, above all, the area of implantation of
the needle.

- 10 -

At the end of this chapter, the 12 contraindications of acupuncture and the different
phases of starting and ending of the illness of the energy of the 12 channels are greatly
In summary, the key aspect of Chapter 9 is to present the different physiologic,
pathologic, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of the formation and disappearance of
the disease. Each form possesses an etiology, specific natures and specific reactions.
Knowledge of the mechanism of the evolution of the disease, from its appearance to
its end, is, therefore, necessary in order to practice acupuncture methods. For this
reason, this chapter is entitled: "Beginning and Ending".
According to Zhang Shi:
"Ending and Beginning" is the name of a book of antiquity retrieved by Qi Bo.
In Chapter 5 ("Origin and Gathering") of this classic, we note this phrase: "The
mystery of the"9 Needles" and their "knot" and "ankle" are found in the chapter
"Beginning and Ending".
Chapter 9 begins with the same phrase. Therefore, this chapter is clearly taken from
a classic book of our masters of long ago."
This chapter comprises 27 paragraphs.

All methods of acupuncture are demonstrated in the chapter
"Beginning and Ending". To delve deeply into this chapter is to
consider the 5 organs as basic principles, and Yin and Yang will be, in
this manner, determined.
Yin answers to the organs, and Yang, to the bowels.
Yang receives the energy at the level of the limbs, and Yin, the energy at the level
of the 5 organs. This is why, during dispersion, one must go in opposition, and
during tonification, go in pursuit.
In this way, to the know the method "to go in opposition" and the method "to go
in pursuit" is to know how to balance the energy.
The principle of balancing the energy resides in the ventilation and
harmonization of Yin and Yang.
The 5 organs are Yin, and the 6 bowels are Yang. This notion must be
transmitted to posterity by an oath made in blood. In revering it, one becomes
skillful; in distaining it, one becomes clumsy and tactless; in opposition to the
Dao and by only one's personal reasoning, one surely ends up in calamity.


I - Zhang Shi explains:

- 11 -

"The organs and bowels (Zang and Fu), Yin and Yang, Jing and Mai (channels and
vessels), Qi and Xue (energy and blood) created by Heaven (respiration) and Earth
(diet) have their "beginning" (Shui) and their "ending" (Zhong).
1. Wind, cold, heat, humidity, dryness and fire are the "6 energies" of Heaven.
Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water are the "5 movements" of Earth.
Heaven maintains living beings with its "6 energies", and Earth with its "5 sapors".
2. The "6 energies" of Heaven transmute and create the "5 sapors", and the "5
movements" of Earth are intended to create the "5 organs".
3. In the interior, the 5 organs are linked to the 6 bowels in order to respond to the
5 movements of Earth. At the exterior, they are linked to the 6 channels in order to
respond to the 6 energies of Heaven. This is why it is said: "To go very deeply into the
chapter "Beginning and Ending" is to grasp the 5 organs as foundational principles."
Therefore, it is stated that the 5 organs originate from the transmutation of the energy
of the 5 movements.
4. The meaning of the words "ending" and "beginning" is clearly explained. One must
take the Jingmai (principal channels) as fundamental rules; their conformity or nonconformity to the celestial Dao permits solution of all physiological and pathological
Because, at the ending,
* the Taiyang manifests by wide open eyes and curved back
* the Taiyin is characterized by abdominal swelling and difficult respiration.
In this manner, in man, the Yin and the Yang, the blood and the energy begin via the
action of the "5 movements" of Earth and of the "6 energies" of Heaven and end at
the level of the
6 bowels, sites of reunion of Yin and Yang.
5. "Yang receives the energy at the level of the 4 limbs" means: Yang absorbs the
celestial energy coming from the exterior.
"Yin receives the energy at the level of the 5 organs" means: Yin absorbs the
terrestrial energy coming from the interior.
This is why, in order to utilize the method of dispersion, "One must go against it (go in
opposition to it)". This means to say that one must go in front of the energy which
goes from the interior to the exterior. To utilize the method of tonification, "One must
go in pursuit of it (chase after it)"; meaning that one must go in front of the Yang
energy which goes from the exterior toward the interior.
In total, to balance the energy, one must clearly know the meaning of Yin and Yang."

II - Ma Shi comments:
"All acupuncture methods are based on the idea of the ending and beginning cited in
this chapter.
- 12 -

* the organs are Yin and the bowels are Yang
* Yang located at the exterior receives the energy of the 4 limbs and Yin located in the
interior receives the energy of the 5 organs.
This is why:
* when the energy comes to arrive, one must immediately go against it. This process
has the name dispersion,
* and when the energy comes to depart, one must immediately go in its pursuit.
This process is called tonification.
These two methods permit regulating and harmonizing the energy of the 3 Yin and 3
Yang channels."

III - N.V.N.:
Perfect practice of acupuncture demands knowledge of the ideas of the Beginning and
Ending of the 3 Yang and 3 Yin channels.
* the 3 Yin channels of the foot and hand are linked together to the 5 organs, and the 3
Yang channels of the hand and foot, to the 6 bowels.
* the Yang channels receive the energy located at the end of the 4 limbs, and the Yin
channels, the energy at the level of the 5 organs.
For this reason, the method of dispersion consists of going against/in opposition to it
in order to rob/eliminate. This means to say: To orient and manipulate the needle in
the direction opposite to the circulation of the energy. In contrast, in the method of
tonification, one must orient and manipulate the needle in the direction of the
circulation of the energy. (Figure 24)
This method called "to go against" and that called "to go in pursuit" permit the
modulation, regulation and, therefore, the harmonizing of the energy and blood.
But these 2 methods of regulation of the blood and energy are necessarily linked to
the comprehension of the rules of Yin and Yang: "The organs are Yin and the bowels
are Yang...".
Clinicians must carefully examine and study this argument in also a strong and
solemn/formal way that the text declares: "an oath made in blood" because therapeutic
successes depend on it.
Not respecting the rules of "Yin-Yang" and an entirely personal, whimsical and
unpredictable attitude, in fact, leads to specious reasoning and a dangerous practice of

- 13 -


Concerning the technique of needling, the arrival of the energy is the
indicator of effectiveness.
After dispersion, the pulse must be empty, and in the state of emptiness, the pulse
must not be strong. In contrast, if the patient declares that he is relieved in spite
of the persistence of a strong pulse, the illness is not yet cured.
After tonification, the pulse must be full; and being full, the pulse must be strong.
In contrast, if the patient declares that he is relieved despite the absence of a
strong pulse, the illness is not yet cured.
This is why, after tonification, the pulse must be full, and after dispersion, the
pulse must be empty; after removal of the needle, the patient is not immediately
cured, but is ameliorated.
Therefore, it is necessary to understand the process of activation of the illness at
the level of the 12 channels in order to grasp the meaning of the chapter "Ending
and Beginning". In this way, there is no error in the distinction of Yin and Yang;
there is no confusion in the appreciation of emptiness and fullness; it is necessary
that the needle be right on the channel."


I - Ma Shi explains:
"This paragraph completes the preceding one.
During tonification and dispersion, one must await "the arrival of the energy".
This arrival of the energy is the indicator of effectiveness because, after dispersion,

- 14 -

the appearance of the phenomenon of emptiness is imperative, and, after tonification,
the appearance of the phenomenon of fullness is mandatory.
In this manner,
* after dispersion, the pulse must be found in a state of emptiness; that is to say, upon
the application of the fingers, one feels the weakness of the pulse beats. Therefore,
after dispersion, the persistence of a strong and full pulse is indication of the nonamelioration of the illness.
* after tonification, the pulse must be found in a full (plethoric) state, that is to say
upon applying the fingers, one perceives the reinforcement of the pulse beats.
Therefore, after
tonification, persistence of a weak and empty pulse is the sign of non-amelioration of
the illness.
In total, the "strong" or "weak" nature of the pulse represents the aspect of fullness or
emptiness of the energy. This is why:
* after tonification, following the appearance of a phenomenon of fullness, the pulse
must be strong.
* after dispersion, following the appearance of a phenomenon of emptiness, the pulse
must be weak.
* and after removal of the needle, the illness is not immediately cured, but strongly
In order to disseminate the great meaning of the "Ending" and "Beginning" of this
chapter, acupuncturists must delve deeply into the syndromes of the 12 Jingmai
(principal channels) in order to scrutinize the signs of emptiness and fullness in the
application of the processes of tonification or dispersion. These syndromes, without
evolutive nature but fixed at the Yin or Yang channels, can be treated not only
according to their emptiness or fullness, but also according to the weak or strong
nature of the pulse."

II - N.V.N.:
This paragraph places accent on
* the reactive phenomena of needling, the signs of effectiveness, able to be perceived
at the level of the pulses,
* the effect of tonification and dispersion. The first potentiates the essential energy,
and the second eliminates the perverse energy
* and the existence of the 12 Jingmai and their pathophysiologic processes in order to
define the notion of "ending" and "beginning" cited in this chapter.
In the preface of the Mai Jing (Classic of Pulses), Wang Shu He (210-285 A.D.) stated
" Pulsology is very subtle. The natures and aspects of the pulses are
difficult to discern. In this manner, the tense, hurried, superficial,
dicrotic characters... define the undulating aspects of the pulse which
are mentally accessible but delicate to define when they are under the
fingers. If the deep pulse is taken for a hidden pulse, the therapy is
definitely wrong; if the late pulse is taken for a slow pulse, danger is

- 15 -

not a long time in coming; accordingly, there exist clinical signs
appearing simultaneously and different illnesses having the same pulsology."

In order to await the arrival of the "cereal" energy (Gu Qi), needling is
distinguished into 3 phases.
Because the morbid state originates from
* the fusion of perverse energy and essential energy
* the modification of Yin and Yang
* the consequence of concordance and discordance
* the reversal of the immersing state and emerging state
* and from the failure to adapt to the 4 seasons,
creating, in this way, blockage and overflowing of blood and energy. This is why
acupuncture is used to eliminate these morbid states, with the following steps:
* the 1st phase eliminates perverse Yang
* the 2nd phase secretes perverse Yin
* and the 3rd phase is called the cereal energy.
Upon the arrival of the cereal energy, one must cease needling.
One speaks of the arrival of the cereal energy (De Qi) when one is in the presence
of fullness after tonification or of emptiness after dispersion. In the case where
the perverse energy is only eliminated with persistence of the disharmony of Yin
and Yang, the illness can be cured. Also, it has already been stated above that
"tonification brings about fullness (of the bodily energy), and dispersion,
emptiness (of perverse energy); if the illness cannot be cured upon removal of the
needle, it is certain that it is ameliorated."


I - Ma Shi explains:
"This paragraph completes the previous one.
The amelioration of the illness results from three methods of needling whose goal is to
make the "cereal" energy return.
At the start of the illness, the perverse energy concentrated in the epidermo-dermal
infiltrates into the principal channels. The Yin and Yang channels seem to change role
regarding "internal-external"; the direction of the energetic circulation seems
reversed; the pulses sometimes seems deep... . This appears anarchical. This state
must be pacified by acupuncture.
The 1st phase of needling eliminates the perverse energy localized in the Yang
(superficial) and the 2nd phase evacuates the energy fixed in the Yin (deep). In the 3rd
phase, the arrival of the cereal energy is perceived at the level of the pulse which
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becomes full after tonification and empty after dispersion.
The perverse energy eliminated in this manner, even if the Yin and Yang channels are
still not in perfect balance, cure is near."

II - N.V.N.:
The 3 techniques of needling according to depth permit the provoking of reactive
phenomena at the level of the "cereal" energy in the goal of tonification and
The presence of perverse energy in the organism causes circulatory disturbances of
the blood and energy. The Yang energy, instead of remaining at the exterior, reaches
the depth, and the Yin energy, instead of remaining in the interior, reaches the
superficial. The energy of the pulse no longer responds to the movements of ascent
and descent. The perverse energy reaches the organs and bowels and provokes
illnesses. Acupuncture is then utilized to resolve this morbid problem whose results
depend on the 3 phases of the needling:
* the superficial, cutaneous phase can evacuate the perverse energy of the Yang part
of the body,
* the deep, dermal phase can evacuate the perverse energy from the Yin part of the
* the still deeper phase of the Yin part can provoke reactive phenomena of the part of
the cereal energy (see Figure 25).
During the course of the last phase, one must wait for the arrival of the energy and
leave the needle in place until obtaining the reactive phenomena before removing it.
The term "arrival of the energy" (De Qi) designates either the use of the method of
tonification (the essential energy originally in a state of emptiness returns to the state
of fullness, reinforcing its potential) or the use of the method of dispersion (the
perverse energy originally in a state of fullness is found in a state of emptiness,
attesting to its elimination).
During the implantation of the needle, reactive phenomena appear in spontaneous
fashion, and the perverse energy immediately regresses, but the energy and blood in
the Yin-Yang space are not yet completely reestablished; this is why it is said: "Cure
is near".

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Above: the original French language volumes. Three volumes, Nine books, 81
chapters. An approximate total of 1500 pages with classical and contemporary
commentaries and illustrations.

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Here, the entire work in the first English language draft with additional commentary
and full color illustrations.
Publication is projected for fall, 2002.
History of Nguyen Van Nghi | History of Institute Van Nghi | Photo Gallery |
Collected Works
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