Abdominal acupuncture (AA) is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting and innovative forms of acupuncture to evolve from China in decades, if not centuries. It was developed by Professor Zhiyun Bo and it has been used in China since 1991. It is also known as Bo’s Method of Abdominal Acupuncture or (BMAA).
Abdominal acupuncture is a micro-system of acupuncture and like other microforms, such as auricular acupuncture, all the organs and body parts are contained (reflected) within a small area. Abdominal acupuncture uses the area between Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) on the vertical line and Sp 15 (Daheng) as the outermost points on the horizontal lines. It uses points along the Ren, Kidney, Stomach and Spleen meridians primarily. There are also eight specific abdominal acupuncture (Ab) points that are unique to this system. All body parts and organs can be treated by needling within this small area.
AA works at three distinct levels. A blueprint of the turtle is used to map the anatomical areas of the body at the most superficial (heaven) level, while the ancient Ba Gua is used as a hologram to explain the relationship with the corresponding organs and viscera of the body at the deepest of the three levels known as earth.
Unlike other micro-systems AA is much more powerful as a result of its proximity with the Zang Fu organs and because it connects with all the meridians of the body
As a therapy, it has become very popular in China because of its impressive results and its gentle nature (minimal needle sensation). The results are often achieved within moments of inserting the needle to the correct depth. It is very versatile and can treat all-over body pain in the one treatment, such as that seen with fibromyalgia (Bi Syndrome). It is particularly effective for treating paralysis due to stroke and is often used in preference to scalp acupuncture in the treatment of post-stroke sequelae.
It is actually preferred as a treatment by the majority of my clients. Once it is mastered it is very easy to administer and to adapt for all kinds of painful conditions.
AA uses a concept familiar throughout TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and acupuncture. That is, it uses three distinct levels, namely: heaven, humanity and earth. In traditional acupuncture these relevant depths are used in needling techniques such as tonification and reduction (‘setting the mountain on fire’ or ‘penetrating heaven coolness’). These levels are also the three different depths used in pulse diagnosis.
I use the heaven / superficial level to treat painful conditions of the body including the head, torso, upper and lower limbs. The heaven level is represented by the turtle/tortoise, an animal that has been highly revered in China for thousands of years.
There are a number of reasons why the turtle was chosen as a hologram of the human body. One such reason is that the plastron (underneath) of a turtle looks similar to a well-toned human abdomen, in other words, ‘a six pack’. It’s thus used in a similar way to how the image of an upside-down foetus is used to map the points on the ear in auricular acupuncture.