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
Open this folder and view contents2. Background
Close this folder3. Proposed standard international acupuncture nomenclature
View the document3.1 Structure of the proposed nomenclature
View the document3.2 The 14 main meridians
View the document3.3 The 361 classical acupuncture points
View the document3.4 The 8 extra meridians
View the document3.5 The 48 extra points
View the document3.6 Scalp acupuncture lines
Open this folder and view contents4. Recommendations for further action by WHO in the field of acupuncture
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentBack cover

3.1 Structure of the proposed nomenclature

After discussion of the terminological proposals to date, the Scientific Group reached agreement on the standard international acupuncture nomenclature set out in sections 3.1-3.6.

Structurally, the proposed nomenclature is based on four elements:

(1) the English translation of the Han character name of each meridian;

(2) an alphanumeric code for the acupuncture points, of which the alphabetic part is derived from the English translation of the meridian names7 while the numbering follows the agreed course of each meridian;

(3) the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Pinyin) names of meridians and acupuncture points;

(4) the Han character names of meridians and acupuncture points.


7 In the case of the 48 extra points and the scalp acupuncture lines, the alphabetic part of the code is derived from the English-language names of parts of the body.

English was chosen because it is the language most commonly used for international communication, including communication at medical congresses and through medical journals having an international readership.

The Han characters represent the full and original names of meridians and points, and are those currently recognized by the Chinese authorities. They tend to be pronounced differently depending on locality. The Pinyin names, intended as an aid to pronunciation, are therefore based on the standard pronunciation in use in China.

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