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A Proposed Standard International Acupuncture Nomenclature: Report of a WHO Scientific Group
(1991; 36 pages)
With the unprecedented expansion of interest in acupuncture around the world, the need for a standard international nomenclature has become increasingly apparent. Practitioners and researchers everywhere must speak a common language as they attempt to ascertain the clinical benefits of acupuncture and elucidate the underlying physiological mechanisms.
This report records the consensus reached by a WHO Scientific Group on a standard international acupuncture nomenclature which met in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 1989. Building on the proposals of expert meetings organized by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific since 1981, the Scientific Group agreed that the standard international nomenclature should comprise an alphanumeric code as well as the Han character names of meridians and acupuncture points, along with their transliterations into the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Pinyin) and their English translations. The experts went on to propose standard nomenclature for the 14 main meridians, the 361 classical acupuncture points, the 8 extra meridians and the 48 extra points, and for scalp acupuncture lines.
The report concludes with recommendations for the standardization of other areas of acupuncture nomenclature and for further action by WHO and its Member States in respect of basic training for the practice of acupuncture, regulation by health authorities, safety and research.
Table of Contents
View the documentWHO Scientific Group on International Acupuncture Nomenclature
View the document1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Background
Open this folder and view contents3. Proposed standard international acupuncture nomenclature
Open this folder and view contents4. Recommendations for further action by WHO in the field of acupuncture
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentBack cover

A Proposed Standard International Acupuncture Nomenclature: Report of a WHO Scientific Group

World Health Organization

This report contains the collective views of an international group of experts and does not necessarily represent the decisions or the stated policy of the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations with primary responsibility for international health matters and public health. Through this organization, which was created in 1948, the health professions of some 165 countries exchange their knowledge and experience with the aim of making possible the attainment by all citizens of the world by the year 2000 of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life.

By means of direct technical cooperation with its Member States, and by stimulating such cooperation among them, WHO promotes the development of comprehensive health services, the prevention and control of diseases, the improvement of environmental conditions, the development of health manpower, the coordination and development of biomedical and health services research, and the planning and implementation of health programmes.

These broad fields of endeavour encompass a wide variety of activities, such as developing systems of primary health care that reach the whole population of Member countries; promoting the health of mothers and children; combating malnutrition; controlling malaria and other communicable diseases including tuberculosis and leprosy; having achieved the eradication of smallpox, promoting mass immunization against a number of other preventable diseases; improving mental health; providing safe water supplies; and training health personnel of all categories.

Progress towards better health throughout the world also demands international cooperation in such matters as establishing international standards for biological substances, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals; formulating environmental health criteria; revising the International Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death; recommending international nonproprietary names for drugs; administering the International Health Regulations; and collecting and disseminating health statistical information.

Further information on many aspects of WHO’s work is presented in the Organization’s publications.

The World Health Organization would welcome readers’ views on the nomenclature proposals contained in this report. Please send your comments to:

Programme Manager
Traditional Medicine
World Health Organization

1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

WHO Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

WHO Scientific Group on International Acupuncture Nomenclature

A proposed standard international acupuncture nomenclature: report of a WHO scientific group.


1. Acupuncture - nomenclature I. Title


ISBN 92 4 154417 1 (NLM Classification: WB 15)


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