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Originalia | Original articles

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Wang Yan-ping, Zhang Hong-lin, Miao-Yanhuan, Yun-Jie

Abdominal acupuncture and its management

of musculoskeletal disorders
Abdominelle Akupunktur im Management
muskuloskelettaler Störungen
Abstract Zusammenfassung
Abdominal acupuncture, developed by Dr. Bo Zhi-yun, is a Die von Dr. Bo Zhi-yun entwickelte Abdominelle Akupunktur
method of acupuncture directed at specific points on the abdo- bedient sich spezifischer Punkte auf dem Abdomen. Auf der Ba-
men. Through clinical observation, Dr. Bo Zhi-yun discovered sis klinischer Beobachtung entwickelte Dr. Bo zwei neue Regu-
two new regulatory systems with orderly distributed acupoints lationssysteme mit regelhaft um den Nabel herum verteilten
around the umbilicus in the abdomen. Akupunkturpunkten.
Abdominal acupuncture is commonly used for chronic Zang-fu Die Abdominelle Akupunktur wird meist für Störungen der
organ disorders, such as sequelae of stroke, insomnia, menopau- Zangfu-Organe eingesetzt – wie Schlaganfall, Schlaflosigkeit,
sal syndrome, irregular menstruation and simple obesity, etc. In Menopausensyndrom, unregelmäßige Menstruation und Über-
addition, musculoskeletal disorders such as cervical spondylosis, gewicht. Darüber hinaus wurden auch muskuloskelettale Leiden
prolapse of lumbar intervertebral disc (PLID), knee osteoarthritis wie HWS-Syndrom, LWS-Prolaps, Gonalgie und Arthritis der
and shoulder periarthritis have been successfully treated with Schulter erfolgreich mit Abdomineller Akupunktur behandelt.
Abdominal acupuncture. An overview of Abdominal acupuncture Dieser Artikel bietet eine detaillierte Übersicht über Diagnostik
and its management of musculoskeletal disorders is presented. und Therapie muskuloskelettaler Störungen.

Keywords Schlüsselwörter
Abdominal acupuncture, musculoskeletal disorders, holograph, Abdominelle Akupunktur, muskuloskelettale Störungen, Holo-
somatotope, microsystem gramm, Somatotop, Mikrosystem

Based on the theories of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), of the body could be treated through needling their correspond-
Abdominal acupuncture is a method of acupuncture and moxi- ing holographic points on the abdomen.
bustion directed at specific points on the abdomen [1]. Abdom- At the deep layer of the abdominal wall, there exists a Zang-fu
inal acupuncture was invented by Dr. Bo Zhi-yun in 1972 and organ system. The projection of the five interiorly-exteriorly
was formally established in 1991, known as Bo’s Method of Ab-
dominal Acupuncture (BMAA). Dr. Bo found out that besides
the traditional meridian system in Chinese medicine, there are
another two regulatory systems at different layers of abdomen
wall. They developed from the Shenque fetal circulatory system,
which served as a regulatory system of the human body by de-
livering blood and nutrients to the fetus via the umbilical cord.
Immediately after birth, the infant transits to the postnatal cir-
culatory system. However, elements of the prenatal system and
its ability to distribute qi and blood still exist, and are centered
at navel, where the acupuncture point Shenque (CV8) is located.
Needling an abdominal acupoint at different depth may perform
different functions because different layers of the abdominal
wall are attributed to different regulatory systems.

Materials and Methods

Abdominal acupoints and their locating methods

According to Dr. Bo’s research, at the superficial layer of the
abdominal wall, from skin to the subcutaneous fatty tissue, there
is a holographic reflex zone around the umbilicus that repre-
sents the whole body. The shape of these bands of points (Ta-
ble 1) is similar to a tortoise. Therefore, Dr. Bo named it “The
Miraculous Tortoise” (Figure 1) [2]. Diseases in different parts Fig. 1: The Miraculous Tortoise

Zhang Hong-lin Wang Ying Chao Yang District School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 100029 Beijing, China
Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Tel.: +86 155 10199150
11 Bei San Huan Dong Lu
Deutsche Zeitschrift für

Originalia | Original articles
German Journal of Acupuncture & Related Techniques

paired zang-fu organs and the upper, middle and lower Energiz- and then further inserted to the middle or deep level if meridian
ers are distributed in eight zones around the navel, called eight and Zang-fu organs need to be adjusted. Then, the practitioner
Kuo, which are represented by eight acupoints in each zone. The needs to confirm whether there is change of the presenting
eight acupoints are summarized with the post-heaven Eight Tri- symptoms. If there is no change, then mildly twists the needle,
gram in eight orientations (Table 2, Fig. 2). but does not lift and thrust it. If there is still no change after 3
Between the superficial and deep layers is the traditional merid- to 5 mins, try to adjust the depth and the needle tip direction a
ian system. There are 48 meridian points on six meridians: 14 little bit to promote the effect. Since needles used in Abdominal
on Conception vessel, 11 on Kidney meridian, 12 on Stomach acupuncture are thin and manipulations are mild, it is almost
meridian, 5 on Spleen meridian, 2 on Liver meridian and 4 on painless. In Abdominal acupuncture, no conventional needle
Gallbladder meridian. sensations, such heaviness, soreness, numbness, or distention
In order to locate acupuncture points accurately, the abdominal (deqi) are required. Needle retention is approximately 20–30
points are located with a combination of traditional bone pro- minutes.
portional measurement method and ruler measurement method.
The distance from Zhongting (CV16) to Shenque (CV8) is 8 cun. Abdominal acupuncture formulae
The distance from Shenque (CV8) to Qugu (CV2) is 5 cun. The Dr. Bo has established standard formulae for commonly seen
horizontal line between the right and the left lateral borders of conditions. The formula specifies the acupoints, sequence and
the abdomen at the level of the center of the umbilicus is 12 depth of needle insertion. The practitioner may add or elimi-
cun. The practitioner measures these horizontal and vertical lines nate certain acupoints based on the individual patient’s situ-
with a ruler and converts the corresponding cun into centimeter. ation. At present, fourteen standard formulae have been issued
Then acupoints are located with the help of ruler and marked formally and thirty formulae are under research. Nine of the
with a pen. formal issued formulae are for disorders and five for regula-
tion of the zang-fu and meridian functions [1]. Six out of the
Needles and manipulation procedure nine formal issued standard formulae are for musculoskeletal
Abdominal acupuncture is administered with tube guided dis- conditions.
posable stainless acupuncture needles. The needle diameters are
0.16, 0.18, 0.20 and 0.22 mm, and needle bodies are 30, 40 and Example of a standard formula for cervical spondylosis
50 mm in length. Needle gauge selection is based on the pa- Basic points: Zhongwan (CV12), Guanyuan (CV4), Shangqu
tient’s physique and condition. The needle insertion depth is (KI17) (both sides), Huaroumen (ST24) (both sides)
limited to the anterior abdominal wall, the needle should not Sequence: CV12 ൺ CV4 ൺ KI17 ൺ ST24
invade the abdominal cavity. The needling depths are divided Depth: CV12 (medium), CV4 (deep), KI17 (shallow), ST24
into 3 levels: superficial (heaven) level for regulation of the dis- (medium)
eased part of the body, middle (Human being) level for regula- Supplementary points: Add Shiguan (KI18) for nerve root type
tion of meridians and deep (earth) level for regulation of Zang- of cervical spondylosis; the location of KI18 varies with the
fu organs. Needles are firstly all inserted to the superficial level, painful area on the nape. If the painful area near the spine,
Table 1 Holographic reflex acupoints at the superficial layer of abdomen wall

Representing area Acupoints Location

Mouth Zhongwan (CV12) 4 cun above Shenque (CV8)
Head Yindu (KI19) 0.5 cun lateral to Zhongwan (CV12)
C7 Xiawan (CV10) 2 cun above Shenque (CV8)
Neck and shoulder region Shangqu (KI17) 0.5 cun lateral to Xiawan (CV10)
T7 to neck and shoulder region Shuifen (CV9) 1 cun above Shenque (CV8)
Shoulder Huaroumen (ST24) 2 cun lateral to Shuifen (CV9)
Elbow Superior Wind-Rheum point (AB1) 0.5 cun lateral and superior to Huaroumen (ST24)
Wrist Superior-Lateral Wind-Rheum point (AB2) 1 cun lateral to Huaroumen (ST24)
Loin Tianshu (ST25) 2 cun lateral to Shenque (CV8)
L2/L3 Qihai (CV6) 1.5 cun inferior to Shenque (CV8)
Lateral to L2/L3 Qipang (AB-7) 0.5 cun lateral to Qihai (CV6)
L4/L5 Guanyuan (CV4) 3 cun inferior to Shenque (CV8)
Lateral to L4/L5 Qixue (KI13) 0.5 cun lateral to Guanyuan (CV4)
Hip Wailing (ST-26) 2 cun lateral to Yinjiao (CV-7)
Knee Inferior Wind-Rheum point (AB4) 0.5 cun inferior and lateral to Wailing (ST-26)
Ankle Inferior-Inferior Wind-Rheum point (AB6) 3 cun lateral to Shimen (CV-5)

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