Abdominal acupuncture a case history


Abdominal acupuncture (Fu Zhen) is a relatively new form of acupuncture which treats the whole body through a small area on the abdomen.

Abdominal acupuncture (AA) is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting and innovative forms of acupuncture to evolve from China in decades, if not centuries. It was developed by Professor Zhiyun Bo and it has been used in China since 1991.

Abdominal acupuncture is a micro-system of acupuncture and like other microforms, such as auricular acupuncture, all the organs and body parts are contained (reflected) within a small area. Abdominal acupuncture uses the area between Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) on the vertical line and Daheng Sp 15 as the outer most points on the horizontal lines. It uses points along the Ren, Kidney, Stomach and Spleen meridians primarily. There are also eight specific abdominal acupuncture (Ab) points which are unique to this system. All body parts and organs can be treated by needling within this small area.

AA works at three distinct levels. A blueprint of the turtle (see fig 1.1) is used to map the anatomical areas of the body at the most superficial (Heaven) level, while the ancient ba gua (See fig 1.2) is used as a hologram to explain the relationship with the corresponding organs and viscera of the body at the deepest of the three levels known as earth.

Unlike other micro-systems AA is much more powerful as a result of its proximity with the zang fu organs and because it connects with all the meridians of the body.

As a therapy it has become very popular in China because of its powerful results and its gentle nature (minimal needle sensation).  The results are often achieved within moments of inserting the needle to the correct depth. It is very versatile and can treat all-over body pain in the one treatment, such as that seen with fibromyalgia (Bi syndrome). It is particularly effective for treating paralysis due to stroke and is often used in preference to scalp acupuncture in the treatment of post stroke sequelae (ref: Roger Lore).  It is actually preferred as a treatment by the majority of my clients. Once it is mastered it is very easy to administer and to adapt for all kinds of painful conditions.

AA Main Points and Some of the Anatomical Significance

Since AA is bi-dimensional in nature points on the Ren can be used to treat the Du Mai and likewise points along the kidney channel can be used to treat the urinary bladder channel. Accurate point location is essential when using AA and therapeutic results are dependent on correct location. Therapeutic effect is also dependent on the depth of the needles, making it different from other forms of acupuncture. The depth of the needles ranges from very superficial 0.1cun to deep at 1.5-2cun.

Main abdominal points; (See fig 1.1 abdominal acupuncture chart of the turtle).

  • Ren 12 (Zhongwan) treats the head and is located specifically at the mouth;
  • Ren 11 (Jianli) exerts its effect on the throat and neck and anatomically relates to the 1st Cervical vertebra;
  • Ren 10 (Xiawan) is located on a level with the 7th cervical vertebra;
  • Ren 9 (Shuifen) is equivalent to the 7th thoracic vertebra;
  • Ren 6 (Qihai) coincides with the 1st lumbar vertebra;
  • Ren 4 (Guanyuan) is the tail of the turtle and relates to the 4th or 5th lumbar vertebra;
  • St 25 (Tianshu) treats the mid back area;
  • Sp 15 (Daheng) is the outer boundary of the turtle.
  • St 24 (Huaroumen) corresponds with the shoulder. The elbow is found 0.5 cun superior and lateral to this, while the wrist is found 0.5cun inferior and lateral to the elbow. This gives the shape of an inverted V.
  • St 26 (Wailing) corresponds with the hip point. The knee is found 0.5cun inferior and lateral to the hip point and the ankle point is on a line 0.5 cun lateral and inferior to the knee point. (Hip, knee and ankle should look like a back slash .



Final Human turtle

Fig 1.1 Abdominal acupuncture chart of the turtle.

Treating muscular skeletal and sense organ problems is achieved by using the first level known as “Heaven” which is at the superficial level and normally the depths of needles required to achieve this are no greater than 0.5 cun.

Driven to Drugs (Sciatica)

Andrea was a recovering Heroin addict who had severe sciatic pain which was preventing her from driving and making walking extremely difficult. The pain radiated down to her buttock around GB 30 (Huantiao) and often moved down her right leg. On the first visit she explained that the pain was due to a slipped disc and that she was scheduled to have surgery in the next few weeks, she didn’t know what the surgery would entail and didn’t really care as long as it got rid of the pain. She expressed her concern that this pain was going to drive her to use heroin again the thoughts of which were giving her nightmares.

Treatment given was intended to nourish the pre & post natal qi with the guiding qi home format of Ren12 (Zhongwan), Ren10 (Xiawan), Ren6 (Qihai) and Ren4 (Guanyuan). Kid 13 (Qixue) was used bilaterally to reinforce Ren4 (Guanyuan) and treat the Lumbar vertebra 4 (L-4) area of pain.  Sp 15 (Daheng) was used to ease the spasm in the back. St 24 (Wailing) was needled bilaterally to strengthen the lower back and stop the pain at GB 30 (Huantiao) three Ahshi point needles were used in a line on the right side. As this was a disc problem I decided to use Ren 9 (Shuifen). Andrea reported that her pain had eased substantially to a dull ache.

Fig 1.2 AA prescription used on Andrea’s first acupuncture treatment.

Andreas ren 9 sci1 no Ab

After the first session she was able to drive her car and was confident that she could beat this without relapsing back to using Heroin. She had less pain but as the days went by between her weekly treatments the pain returned.

On her second visit the pain was travelling down her right leg along the Tai Yang Urinary Bladder (UB) channel as far as UB 40 (Weizhong) where the pain was quite intense. The treatment again used Bringing the qi home with bilateral Kid 13 (Qixue). There were a number of small nodules between the Kidney & Ren meridians on the right just above the level of Ren 4 (Guanyuan), these were needled as they reflected Huato Jiaji points around L-4 where the disc problem was located. On this occasion Ren 9 (Shuifen) was not used,  St25 (Tianshu) and St26 (Wailing) were also needled on the right (the affected side) to ease pain and spasm of the Lumbar area.

Fig 1.3 AA prescription used on Andrea’s subsequent acupuncture treatments.

Andreas sciatica 2 jpeg

Qipang Ab7 was used on the left side and St26 (Wailing) on the right was used to move qi down the right leg Ab4 the knee point was needled to a depth of approximately 0.3-0.4 cun until the pain at UB 40 (Weizhong) was gone 3 needles were used in a triangular form to give maximum relief. Andrea was able to drive her car once more after this treatment.

Surgery was postponed as Andrea had a flu which gave her the opportunity to have two more abdominal treatments. Both sessions focused on strengthening the back to correct the misaligned disc at L-4 and stop pain at UB 40 (Weizhong) using the same protocol as session 2.

I didn’t see Andrea again for 18 months when she returned after injuring her back while putting clothes in the washing machine. She told me that she had the surgery and that the Doctors commented that they had expected the surgery to take a lot longer than it did and that they were surprised that the condition was not as serious as previously thought.

AA is incredibly powerful and over the last fourteen years that I have been using and teaching abdominal acupuncture, it has always impressed me. Clients frequently comment at the extra benefits of feeling invigorated and clear headed after treatment. Recently a 57 year old client commented that he felt like he was 17 years old and that he had the same energy and felt as invigorated as if he had just run a record breaking 100 metre sprint.

I  use AA 90% of the time in my clinic and have done many demonstrations through my Centreforce training programs and the results are consistently reliable and very impressive.

Please note all illustrations are the property of Dave Shipsey and cannot be reproduced without permission

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