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Ling Shu

Ling Shu, otherwise known as Miraculous Pivot, is the earliest acupuncture book written. Composed of eighty-one chapters, Ling Shu is comprised of the dialogue between Dr. Qibo and student Huangdi. Their detailed discussion covers the all of aspects of acupuncture. It is in this book Dr. Qibo first teaches the theory of meridians, the pathways and functions of each meridian, point location and application, different acupuncture techniques, etc. Dr. Qibo also discusses pathology and treatments for many diseases. Unsurprisingly,it is called Acupuncture Canon by all acupuncturists. The following is a simple introduction of the book.  

Many people wonder how acupuncture can relieve asthma by needling a few points on the forearm. According to LingShu, our body consists of six pairs of balance systems, called the twelve meridians, and each meridian connects with one internal organ and a certain part of the outside body. Each meridian responds to certain functions of the body. These twelve meridians are known as systems of respiration, immunity,metabolism, endocrine and others in modern medicine. Ling Shu chapter 10 states that asthma is caused by the imbalance of the Lung meridian.

If this is true, why do acupuncturists only need to needle those points on the forearm to treat asthma? Ling Shu chapter 2 reveals a special connection between those points and the lung. Therefore, with precision, an acupuncturist is able to needle these points to re-balance the Lung meridian.

For those who have experienced acupuncture,one may recall the treatment as a process of lying on the bed for fifteen to thirty minutes with needles on their bodies. This is the proper method to treat muscle problems such as stiffness of neck or lower back pain. However, in cases of imbalanced meridians such as allergies, asthma, or multiple sclerosis, retaining the needle for fifteen to thirty minutes is against the principle of acupuncture technique in Ling Shu.

In Ling Shu chapter 12, Dr. Qibo describes the approximate time to retain a needle for each meridian. In one example, Dr. Qibo states that the longest time to retain the needle on the stomach meridian should be about one minute.

What happens if the retaining time is longer than the correct time mentioned in LingShu? It becomes acupuncture malpractice and consequentially, the patient’s condition will worsen.

Ling Shu is an ancient masterpiece, the greatest of Chinese wonders. Our generation, with a fuller revelation of Ling Shu  will see how acupuncture plays a remarkable role in the health of humankind.

Is there any further development in Acupuncture after the publication of Ling Shu?


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