Abdominal acupuncture was conceived by Prof. Zhiyun Bo in 1972. The professor had a client with a particularly difficult case of sciatica that had not responded to any western techniques or other form of acupuncture including ear, scalp and traditional acupuncture methods. Puzzled but undaunted he looked to other possible solutions to treat his patient.
The ancient Chinese concept of Biao (external) and Li (internal) is an ideology that uses parallelism and dualism and dates back to between the 5th and 2nd century BC. These parallel and dualistic ideas of Biao-Li are found in various branches of Chinese literature, poetry, art, cosmology and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The ancient turtle shell gave rise to this Biao–Li idea. Observation indicated that the turtle has two possibilities -the upper shell represents heaven while the underneath represents the earth. It is, in effect, a microcosm of the world we live in (Peluffo, E. 2014, pp. 270-276).
These philosophical and scientific concepts gave rise to the theory of Yin-Yang (Parallelism paradigm, Heaven: Man used in TCM) and five phases/elements, amongst others. The parallel pairings are also seen with the manner in which the Zang Fu organs were combined, i.e. Yin (internal) Lung is paired with its Yang (external) Large Intestine, which were discussed in detail in the ancient writings of Su Wen.
Internal, Yin, Zang Organ
External, Yang, Fu Organ
San Jiao / Triple Burner
From a Yin-Yang, and channel pairing perspective it follows that the Ren Mai (Yin) can treat the Du Mai (Yang) just as the Kidney can treat the Urinary Bladder through the Biao-Li connection.
Considering these concepts, Professor Bo decided to treat the case of sciatica by using the points Ren 6 (Qihai) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan). The results were powerful and rapid. The pain was cured within five minutes of inserting the needles and for the first time Prof. Bo's patient’s sciatic pain was gone. In fact, so successful was this path that the professor had taken, his patient’s sciatica was cured completely after just one treatment (D’Alberto, A. and Kim, E. 2005). Prof. Bo continued to use this prescription to treat other similar cases with the same impressive results. Based on the above principles and the fact that Ren 6 (Qihai) is on a line equivalent to the first lumbar vertebra (L-1) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) is on a line with L-4 or L-5, Professor Bo realised that there was much potential in using the abdomen to treat all kinds of pain and other disharmonies. Therein began a lifetime of research and development of abdominal acupuncture.