Songs of Acupuncture Points of the Fourteen Channels


This manuscript is a detailed account of the 14 channels, also called meridians, and the acupuncture points in the human body. Each channel is described as having a number of acupuncture points. Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine, with a long history beginning as early as the New Stone Age. It is still in use. 12 channels run from inside the body to the limbs and joints and their names chiefly refer to locations and functions. Some are anatomical names or characteristics; others refer to physiological functions, pathological changes, or therapeutic effects. Examples are “Taiyin Lung Channel of Hand”, “Shaoyang Sanjiao Channel of Hand”, “Taiyin Kidney Channel of Foot”, and “Jueying Pericardium Channel of Hand.” In this work, the Shaoyang Sanjiao Channel of Hand has depiction of acupuncture points only; the other 11 channels have both illustrations and text in verse. The remaining two channels (the “Conception Channel” and the “Governor Channel”) only have fen cun ge (with prescribed distances of the acupuncture points). The statements relating to the channels mostly are taken from Huangdi nei jing su wen (Basic questions from the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor). The work does not reflect any Western influence. It is noteworthy that the illustrated figures vary a great deal in their clothing, headdress, and hairstyles. Some wear shoes, others are barefoot, and some hold objects in their hands. Some of the clothes on the male images are drawn with thin lines, which show the routes of the channels in and on the human body, and also indicate the locations of the acupuncture points. The Taiyin Lung Channel of Hand, for example, has 11 acupuncture points, each of which is given a name, such as zhongfu, yunmen, tianfu, and xiabai. At the end of this copy are four illustrations: three showing frontal, back, and internal views of the human body; and one of the chant of the mantra of Guanyin (Chinese name of Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist bodhisattva), together with Guanyin xin zhou (Spiritual mantra of Guanyin). There are also three brief essays, entitled Nian Guanyin zhou shuo (Chanting Guanyin’s mantra), Jiu ding lian xin shuo (Refining mind of the nine tripods), and Ba shi gui yuan shuo (Eight states of consciousness and restoration of health). The images and texts combine medical, Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist views of the human body, emphasizing the importance of refinement of body and mind and the Buddhist view of the relationship between life and soul.

Last updated: March 13, 2014