A WHO Scientific Group on International Acupuncture Nomenclature met in Geneva from 30 October to 3 November 1989. The meeting was opened by Dr H. Nakajima, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
In his introductory remarks, Dr Nakajima said that the convening of the Scientific Group represented the culmination of many years of work in this field, initiated and sponsored by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.
Even when the practice of acupuncture was largely restricted to China, Japan and neighbouring Asian countries, the lack of a uniform nomenclature caused serious difficulties in teaching, research and clinical practice. With the great increase in the worldwide use of acupuncture in recent years, the need for a common language - a standard international reference nomenclature - had become pressing.
WHO’s initiative began in 1980. After a series of preliminary consultations, the Regional Office for the Western Pacific convened a Working Group on the Standardization of Acupuncture Nomenclature in Manila in 1982. Thanks to the work of this group, as well as that of experts who met in 1984, 1985 and 1987, agreement was reached on the nomenclature structure for the meridians and acupuncture points and a consensus was achieved on nomenclature for the 361 classical acupuncture points, the 8 extra meridians, the 48 extra points, and scalp acupuncture points.
Dr Nakajima invited the Scientific Group to review the terminology recommended to date and to propose a standard international acupuncture nomenclature. That would be an important contribution to the international exchange of information on the subject.