The Spirit of the Points: 中府 Zhōngfǔ, Lung 1

Tang dynasty scholar and patron saint of Chinese medicine Sun Simiao stated that “the indications of an acupuncture point can be found within its name.” Modern TCM’s numeration of the acu-points has focused the study of acupuncture to point locations and indications, and where point names have been translated they are generally limited to the most superficial (physical) layer of the name. Chinese medicine is a system of symbol science, where one symbol points to another node of meaning in a web of relationships, so we know that the physical aspect of a point name is but one rung of meaning within the concentric totality of symbolic possibilities. An excavation of Pre-Han and Han dynasty texts (the Huangdi Neijing, Huainanzi, Shouwen Jiezi, Zhenjiu Jiayi Jing, and others) reveals a tour de force of symbolic and etymologically sound interpretations of a point name that ultimately leads to a broader clinical application.

Over the course of a decade, Heiner Freuhauf and colleagues developed a methodology of unearthing the meaning and significance of the point names in a project they called “the spirit of the points.” The intention of this research was to vivify the learning process of acupuncture and rectify clinical efficacy. Through this research they discovered a pattern to the naming of the points wherein the meridian is likened to a chapter title enforced by the cosmological associations attributed to it, while the narrative of the chapter unfolds in the progression of the points. This chapter/ narrative format is best exemplified by the first network of the channel system, the hand Taiyin lung network.

Suwen 8 says:

“The lung is the official of the generous teacher,

the way of water and regulation of time emerges there”

 The most literal sense of 相傅 Xiāngfù is to press against each other, while                 治節 Zhìjié implies the administration of law. So the lung is tasked with pressuring Yinyang together within the body and transforming water in a rhythmical and timely manner.  The progression of the lung points along the channel is the manifestation of this function, where we discover a narrative of water as it transforms through its phasess (fog, clouds, rain, ponds, streams, etc) along its course from the mountains to the ocean.

Follow the link below to read a synthesis of the first acupuncture point of the first channel in the network,  中府 Zhōngfǔ (Lu-1).

Spirit of the Points- Zhōngfǔ

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