A Proposed Standard International Acupuncture Nomenclature: Report of a WHO Scientific Group
(1991; 36 pages)
Table of Contents
View the documentWHO Scientific Group on International Acupuncture Nomenclature
View the document1. Introduction
Close this folder2. Background
View the document2.1 Historical perspective
View the document2.2 Towards a standard nomenclature2
View the document2.3 Essential elements of a standard nomenclature4
View the document2.4 Nomenclature proposals to date5
View the document2.5 The importance of a common language
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

2.3 Essential elements of a standard nomenclature4

4 Based on: AKERELE, O. & LIU GUO-BIN. Acupuncture: towards a standard terminology. World health, November 1985, pp. 20-21.

A critical evaluation of the consultant’s report and her recommendations prompted the Regional Office to organize the first Working Group on the Standardization of Acupuncture Nomenclature. The Group, which met in Manila in December 1982, included participants from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam.

The Group drew up criteria for determining the structure of the meridians and acupuncture points. It proposed that the standard nomenclature should consist of three essential elements:

- an alphanumeric code,

- the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Pinyin) names of meridians and acupuncture points, and

- the Han character names of meridians and acupuncture points.

The Group considered that an alphanumeric code would facilitate international communication on acupuncture. Since in medical science such exchanges are conducted mainly in the English language, it recommended that the alphanumeric code should be derived from the English translation of the meridian names.

The Han character is widely used in oriental medicine in China and Japan, in Hong Kong and Singapore, and by Koreans. It confers philosophical concepts on meridians and acupuncture points which often defy translation, and should therefore be an essential element of the standard nomenclature.

Finally, the Group considered that using the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Pinyin) for the names of meridians and acupuncture points would facilitate pronunciation of the Han character names and enable an alphabetic index to be drawn up.

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