Here I would like to dicuss some basic acupuncture terminologies which are important in Chinese Medicine English.

The Twelve Regular Meridians 十二正经

In some books the word “meridian” is replaced with the word “channel”; the meaning is the same.

Hand Taiyin Lung Meridian (LU) 手太阴肺经

Hand Yangming Large Intestine Meridian (LI) 手阳明大肠经

Foot Yangming Stomach Meridian (ST) 足阳明胃经

Foot Taiyin Spleen Meridian (SP) 足太阴脾经

Hand Shaoyin Heart Meridian (HT) 手少阴心经

Hand Taiyang Small Intestine Meridian (SI) 手太阳小肠经

Foot Taiyang Bladder Meridian (BL) 足太阳膀胱经

Foot Shaoyin Kidney Meridian (KI) 足少阴肾经

Hand Jueyin Pericardium Meridian (PC) 手厥阴心包经

Hand Shaoyang Triple Energizer Meridian (TE) 手少阳三焦经

Foot Shaoyang Gallbladder Meridian (GB) 足少阳胆经

Foot Jueyin Liver Meridian (LR) 足厥阴肝经

The Eight Extraordinary Vessels 奇经八脉

Governing Vessel (GV) 督脉

Conception Vessel (CV) 任脉

Thoroughfare Vessel (TV) 冲脉 又译为 Penetrating Vessel

Belt Vessel (BV) 带脉 又译为 Girdling Vessel

Yin Heel (Motility) Vessel (Yin HV) 阴跷脉 又译为 Yin Motility Vessel

Yang Heel (Motility) Vessel (Yang HV) 阳跷脉 又译为 Yang Motility Vessel

Yin Linking Vessel (Yin LV) 阴维脉

Yang Linking Vessel (Yang LV) 阳维脉

Point Names 穴位名

In English, the names of the points are actually letters and numbers. The letters correspond to the name of the meridian that the point falls on, while the number refers to it order in the sequence on the meridian in question.

Eg. 合谷 is on the Large Intestine meridian.

The letters “LI” stand for Large Intestine and the point is the 4th point on the meridian if one follows the flow of the Qi.

Therefore, in the west when one refers to 合谷, one says LI 4.

It is becoming common to add the pinyin of the Chinese name after the letter number combination in order to make the meaning clearer.

When talking about extra points (also known as extraordinary points), the convention is to use M-{location}-{number}, N-{location}-{number}, MN-{location}-{number} and the like.

Head and neck points use HN, back and waist use BW, chest and abdomen use CA, the upper extremities use UE and the lower extremities use LE.

In this way,

四神聪: M-HN-1;

腰眼: M-BW-24;

三角灸: M-CA-23;

十宣: M-UE-1;

阑尾穴: M-LE-13.