Last month I wrote about the concept and mistranslation of the Chinese word ‘Qi’. ‘Qi’ does not mean ‘energy’ as it is commonly assumed, but translates better as ‘air or ‘vital air’ which can be taken to mean oxygen. Now I would like to try and clear up another concept of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the meridians. For those readers who are unfamiliar with meridians, lets just say that in the west they have been considered as non-physical channels in the body which c
onduct non-physical energy through them. The non-
physical nature of the channels is supposedly why western science
cannot find the meridians.

But is this really what the ancient Chinese meant? If we look at the historical text, the Nei Jing, the Chinese word which was mistranslated by Soulie de Morant as ‘meridian
s’, a French word by the way, is ‘Jing Mai’. The proper translation for ‘Jing’ is longitudinal and ‘Mai’ is vessel. Wh
t are the longitudinal vessels in the body? Well, the most obvious answer would be the blood vessels. The vessel system elaboratel
described in the Nei Jing is a description of the major longitudinal blood vessels in the body with 3 on each arm and leg, totaling 12 in all. Remember that the Chinese did many dissections of the human body. They would have easily noticed the major blood vessels.

So what does this mean?

I believe that the mistranslations on the part of de Morant have done a great disservice to the understanding of Chinese medicine in the west.

He took a physical medicine based on post mortem anatomy, just as Western medicine does, and reduced it to a psychic medicine concerned with the flow of energy through the body, rather than the flow of blood, oxygen (Qi), and nutrients. It is actually the increase of blood flow throughout the body by stimulating acupuncture points which helps heal the patient, because pain is most often a lack of blood flow to a particular muscle, tissue, or organ.

In the next blog I will try my best to put these concepts together and give you a better and scientific explanation of how acupuncture works.

Leave a Comment