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Abdominal Acupuncture in a Turtleshell!


Abdominal acupuncture (AA) is one of the newest and most exciting forms of acupuncture to evolve from China. It was developed by Prof. Bo Zhi Yun and it is becoming very popular because of its powerful results and its gentle nature (needle sensation), it treats all acute and chronic pain and many Zang Fu conditions.

It uses standard and new abdominal acupuncture points (Ab) known as the Abdominal Meridian System (AMS). The points used are contained within the area from Ren12 (Zhong wan) to Ren 4 (Guanyuan) on the vertical line and to Sp15 (Daheng) on the horizontal line.

Fig1 An illustration of the AA Turtle hologram.

AA Theory in a Turtle Shell

Abdominal acupuncture (Fu Zhen) theory utilises the energetic importance of the abdomen from a number of perspectives.

  1. Shenque Ren 8 is the epicentre from which all (Pre & postnatal) meridian systems of the body originate. It is known as the Shenque system or AMS (Abdominal Meridian System) as proposed by Prof Bo.
  2. The proximity of the Zang Fu organ sallows access directly or indirectly through the AMS.
  3. The fact that all the regular and extraordinary meridians pass through the abdomen directly or through their Biao Li (internal /external organ) relationships. Therefore the Rentreats the Dumai and Kidney affects the Urinary Bladder Channel. Allowing access to back Shu & front Mu points.
  4. The abdomen is regarded as our second brain due to the huge amount of neurones it contains and it is responsible for the production of more than 90% of serotonin which has many functions including regulating mood, digestion and sleep.

The Depths of Abdominal Acupuncture

  • Heaven / superficial level, treats head, torso, upper and lower limbs. It is represented by a map of the Turtle/Tortoise (see Fig1). Needling depth is usually 0.1 - 0.5cun.
  • Humanity / middle layer connects the internal and external. Based on the Jing Luo theory and regulates the meridians. Needling depth is usually 0.5 - 1.0cun
  • Earth / Deep level treats the Zang fu organs and is represented by the Ba Qua / 8 trigrams. Needling depth is usually 1.0-1.5cun. Therapeutic effect is thus dependent on the location and depth of the needles.

Painful conditions are particularly good to treat as one can gauge the results instantaneously. Slight adjustments of the needle depth or location can have a profound effect on the final result. Palpation of the abdomen to locate ahshi points is paramount and with sensitivity practitioners will feel anomalies relating to the area of pain and by needling these points and breaking down local adhesions the pain is resolved. Below are some cases that I have treated in my clinic.

A Total Headcase

John had suffered a severe brain injury in a freak accident. His injuries left him in excruciating pain 24/7 from

  1. The left temple to the right temple.
  2. ( Fengchi ) GB 20 on the right to Tai yang (extra) on the left.

I needled "Bringing Qi Home " Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xia wan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan). I then palpated points above Ren 12 (Zhongwan) where I found small knots (Ahshipoints). I needled these points quite superficially then checked with John how his temple pain was; it had reduced to a very comfortable score of 2 (from10). I palpated between Ren 11 (Jianli) & Ren 12 (Zhongwan) to find more ahshi points relating to the pain from GB 20 (Fengchi) to Tai yang, once again following superficial needling the pain completely disappeared within seconds (see fig2). Even opiates had not given him such pain relief.

Fig2. An illustration of the prescription used to treat a Total Headcase.

Piles of Pain

Jill complained of severe pain due to hemorrhoids which were making movement very uncomfortable for her. I asked her to put a score of 10 on her pain and discomfort and proceeded to treat her with abdominal acupuncture. I used the prescription of "Bringing Qi Home " Ren 12 ( Zhongwan ), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) to move the postnatal Qi to the Kidney and supplement Spleen Qi. To further supplement Spleen Qi, I used Ab 1 on the left and also added needles at Kid 17 (Shangqu) to enhance the effect of the needle at Ren 10 (Xiawan) and Qi pang (extra point along the kidney meridian ) to enhance the effect of Ren 6 (Qihai). I needled Kid 13 (Qixue) bilaterally to improve the effect of Ren 4 (Guanyuan) in strengthening the Kidneys and also because of the anatomical location of Ren 4 (Guanyuan) being level with the L-4 /L-5 vertebrae. I then used an ahshi point just below Ren 4 (Guanyuan) and the pain and discomfort eased almost immediately. Following the treatment Jill felt a lot more comfortable and movement was easier. Jill reported on the next visit that the hemorrhoids were completely gone the following day.

I have developed and refined a system of Abdominal Acupuncture that works for me which is based on my own clinical experience and the system that was taught to me by Dr. Yan Hanin Nanjing.

Through my research I have found different interpretations of AA as it continues to evolve. I encourage all my students to be flexible and to trust their intuition as to the exact location of anatomical areas with abdominal acupuncture. As with any form of acupuncture, there are many ways of achieving good results and with a solid grounding and understanding of what prescriptions work for common conditions, you can start to explore new techniques that will work for you and your clients. If you are interested in finding out more about Abdominal Acupuncture please see Net of Knowledge online courses By Dave Shipsey (B.Sc. Hon’s), GradDip,C.Ac,A.Ac (Nanjing).

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