I find the utilisation of the abdomen along with the pulse & medical history provides a thorough and effective ‘tool’ to assess and address the state of the individuals who seek my acupuncture services. These diagnostic ‘tools’ coupled with the immediate palpatory changes effected on the acupuncture table make for an exciting, dynamic & effective acupuncture treatment.
I have been asked on many an occasion from both the general public & acupuncture students alike, “Where did this abdominal palpation come from?”
Thus in this blog post I wish to share the basic ‘roots’ of abdominal palpation. It begins in the Han Dynasty some 2000 years ago with a classical acupuncture text titled the Nan Jing (The Classic of Difficulties). It is in chapter 16 of the Nan Jing that a discussion relating to imbalances in the organ concepts are correlated to areas on the abdomen. Thus if we allocate the umbilicus as the centre we find to the right of the umbilicus if pressure pain is present this relates to the Lung concept. To the left of the umbilicus if when pressed, firmness and pain is present this will relate to the Liver organ concept. If the centre rim around the umbilicus itself shows pain on palpation this reflects pathology with the Spleen organ concept. Below the umbilicus in the region of the lower dan tian is where the reflection of the Kidney organ concept resides.
Thus with this you can see that chapter 16 of the Nan Jing (Classic of Difficulties) gives us the basic ‘blueprint’ of which areas on the abdomen reflect/relate to the various organ concepts. This initial ‘blueprint’ put forward by the Nan jing has been refined over the millennia and it is truly the Japanese acupuncturist that over the last thousand years have distilled and refined ‘hara’ abdominal palpation, bringing it to a level of sophistication and profound clinical application.
It takes these special lateral thinking acupuncturists who take these classical acupuncture concepts put forward some 2000 years before, decipher, adapt & implement them in ways that truly bring these ‘concepts’ to life on the acupuncture treatment table, with the end result being systemic regulation and improvement in our patients health and wellbeing.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini – Acupuncturist (Melbourne CBD)