The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Acupuncture
& Traditional Chinese Medicine


For the story of Acupuncture is the story of life itself... ~Dr Daniel Keown, M.B. Ch.B., Lic. Ac., The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, 2014,

"Acupuncture," Dr. Tseng announced, "may be called the science of the ducts in the human body... There are three hundred and sixty-five points in the body where the ducts rise to the skin. Skin, ducts and inner organs are one system and therefore subject to the changes of yang and yin. The physician must learn where these points are, by the piercing of the proper needle at the proper spot. The length of time for the needle to remain inserted is also important... The purpose is to increase or decrease a fluid — not so much a fluid as a substance that is nevertheless not a substance... First the pulse must be taken, the coloring noted, and all other signs observed..." ~Pearl S. Buck, The Three Daughters of Madame Liang, 1969

There must be something to acupuncture — you never see any sick porcupines. ~Bob Goddard, in St. Louis Globe-Democrat, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1976

I have seen a manikin of Japanese make traced all over with lines, and points marking their intersection. By this their doctors are guided in the performance of acupuncture, marking the safe places to thrust in needles, as we buoy out our ship-channels, and doubtless indicating to learned eyes the spots where incautious meddling had led to those little accidents of shipwreck to which patients are unfortunately liable. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Border Lines of Knowledge in Some Provinces of Medical Science," 1861

A good knowledge of the pulse is most important in the understanding of disease. ~N. E. Yorke-Davies, One Thousand Medical Maxims and Surgical Hints, 1883

By using the spirits of the acupuncture points, we can both balance the person's energy as well as help them along their path in life. Each acupuncture point contains a rich source of vital energy as well as an opportunity to open a person's life, allowing it to blossom forth with richness. ~Debra Kaatz, "Receiving Spirit: Five Element Acupuncture," Characters of Wisdom: Taoist Tales of the Acupuncture Points, 2005,

Isaac Vossius commended the skill of the Chinese physicians in finding out by their touch, not only that the body is diseased, (which, he said, was all that our practitioners knew by it,) but also from what cause or from what part the sickness proceeds. To make ourselves masters of this skill, he would have us explore the nature of men's pulses, till they became as well known and as familiar to us as a harp or lute is to the players thereon; it is not being enough for them to know that there is something amiss which spoils the tune, but they must also know what string it is which causes that fault. ~Robert Southey (1774–1843), Southey's Common-Place Book, Fourth Series: Original Memoranda, Etc., ed. J. W. Warter, 1851

      Traditional Chinese medicine is not as attached to first causes as its Western counterpart; there is no search for an underlying and definitive reason for disease. Instead, the whole body is seen in process, a system whose interlocking parts contribute to the situation in a continuous feedback loop. For example, there is no viral or bacterial theory, not because there wasn't the technology back in the day to detect the microbes, but because it doesn't matter — the streptococcus bacteria in your throat are always there, but they only become a problem when your immunity is compromised. There's no need to identify bacteria as the first cause, as there is in Western medicine, since the bacteria matters only in certain circumstances...
      Acupuncture is used to break system-wide holding patterns that are compromising the function of nervous, muscular, vascular, organ and psychological systems — these never viewed separately but always as a totality... It shouldn't be surprising that the organs affect the muscles and the muscles affect the organs, that both affect emotions, and that no single aspect of the entire system should be isolated and analyzed without taking the whole into account. ~Darren O'Donnell, Social Acupuncture, 2006,

Her Majesty, with beautiful art, in this Letter, smooths the raven plumage of Father Vota, and, at the same time, throws into him, as with invisible needle-points, an excellent dose of acupuncturation on the subject of the Primitive Fathers and the Ecumenic Councils, on her own score. ~Eliza W. Farnham, Woman and Her Era, 1864

She had clever hands, suited equally to the piano or to a surgeon's scalpel. Then, remembering the reluctance of the Chinese to allow surgery, she had chosen pharmacology and finally the study of healing plants. Much of Chinese medicine was based upon such plants. ~Pearl S. Buck, The Three Daughters of Madame Liang, 1969

There is no mystery here; the human body is an electrical-magnetic phenomenon. ~Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, 2009,  #meridians

      Ever-increasing numbers of scientists are proposing that the meridian system is part of a secondary electrical system — one that might include but is also different from the established circulatory and central nervous systems. Through his research, Dr. Björn Nordenström discovered that electricity, as well as blood, flows through the bloodstream, but seems to "feed" two different (but interrelated) systems. A well-respected Swedish radiologist, Nordenström discovered that the body has the equivalent of electric circuits that run throughout it...
      Previous to Nordenström's discoveries, scientists believed that every human action involves the conduction of electrical signals along the fibers of the nervous system. Now it appears that all bodily processes also involve the ebb and flow of biologically closed electrical circuits... Nordenström makes several conjectures in this area, including: Acupuncture points serve as receivers of subtle energy signals from the outside world, much like a sophisticated radar system. These sites receive all types of energies, not only physical... ~Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, 2009,

Western medicine struggles with Acupuncturists' ideas of channels in the body, whilst inadvertently using the exact same system in their descriptions of anatomy and surgery. It is like a computer technician laughing at the absurd idea of electricity running invisibly in wires whilst replacing your hard-drive. ~Dr Daniel Keown, M.B. Ch.B., Lic. Ac., The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, 2014,

      Zamolxis, he added, our king, who is also a god, says further, 'that as you ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the eyes, so neither ought you to attempt to cure the body without the soul; and this,' he said, 'is the reason why the cure of many diseases is unknown the physicians of Hellas, because they are ignorant of the whole, which ought to be studied also; for the part can never be well unless the whole is well.'
      And therefore if the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul; that is the first thing... 'For this is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians separate the soul from the body.' ~Plato, translated by B. Jowett, 1871

In the middle of a wrist's suicide slash-line, below the layered skin and above the pulse, there's an acupuncture point that says, Get back to who you were meant to be. This is the heart spot, the center. Your whole life the skin on that place will stay closest to being a baby's skin, as close as you can get anymore to the way you started, the way you once thought you'd always be. ~Monica Drake, Clown Girl, 2006,

It is interesting people question about Herbs Toxicity when they question nothing about Poisons in Pharma Drugs, Meat, Alcohol that they are intoxicating themselves with daily. ~Dr Xiang Jun,

      Medical researchers have tried to apply the rules of double-blind randomised control trials to Acupuncture. They have created sham needles and sham points. They have 'blinded' patients and tried to make the entire process standardised. They are forgetting one thing though:  do they know what they are measuring?
      Chinese medicine and Acupuncture are holistic; in other words a symptom only has meaning when taken in context of the whole. Western medicine tends to be reductionist:  if you are breathless and get a diagnosis of asthma then the treatment will be the same regardless of who you are. ~Dr Daniel Keown, M.B. Ch.B., Lic. Ac., The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, 2014,

The body is a self-healing system. When you cut your finger, it heals. You don't need an advanced degree to be able to repair a wound... In truth, we don't actually heal other people. We provide energy for people to heal themselves. Acupuncture works by freeing up a person's own energy through the use of needles on meridians. ~Richard Gordon, The Secret Nature of Matter, 2017

Acupuncture. — In regard of this old-fashioned remedy, although we, in common with others, have found it dramatically effectual in giving relief in some cases of lumbago, yet its disagreeable nature, and, more pertinently, its uncertain action, have led us to largely relinquish its employment. Ordinary hat-pins, if sterilized, serve admirably, and, according to the area of pain, one or several needles should be plunged deeply into the affected muscles, and allowed to remain in situ for one or two minutes. The relief obtained is probably due to the release of serum effused beneath the deep fascia, this diminishing tension. ~L.L. Jones Llewellyn and A. Bassett Jones, "Muscular Fibrositis," Fibrositis, 1915

Yet another study suggests that not only can energy move faster than the speed of light, but subtle anatomy can play a role in reading this energy. Conducted by A. Podshibyakin, an electrophysiologist at the Institute of Clinical Physiology in Kiev, the study assessed acupuncture points during peak solar flares. Podshibyakin noticed that shifts in acupuncture voltage occurred at the same times as did the solar flares... ~Cyndi Dale, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Chakras, 2016,

Body is Created by God.
Drugs & Surgeries are created by Man.
Who do you trust?
~Dr Xiang Jun,

Acupuncture, n.  the introduction of needles into the living tissues for remedial purposes.  ~New Illustrated Edition of Dr. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1864

Acupuncturation, n.  a pricking with or as if with a needle; the practice of acupuncture.  ~The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, 1895

Puncturation, n.  acupuncture.  ~H. De Méric, Dictionary of Medical Terms, 1899

Rhaphiostixis, n.  acupuncture.  ~The New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences, Based on Mayne's Lexicon, 1893

Rhaphidagogus, n.  old term for a needle-holder.  ~The New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences, Based on Mayne's Lexicon, 1893

Farado-puncture, n.  the passage of a faradic current into the tissues by acupuncture.  ~George M. Gould, An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology, and Allied Sciences, 1913  [also referenced in some old Western medical literatures as ‘galvano-punctura’ or ‘electro-puncturation’ —tg]

Electro-puncture consists in a union of acupuncture with electricity... Sarlandière appears to have employed electro-puncture with great success; but he restricts its use to rheumatic or neuralgic pains, uncomplicated with organic mischief or inflammation... ~Robley Dunglison, M.D., New Remedies: with Formulæ for their Preparation and Administration, 1856  [“Organic mischief,” love it! —tg]

In Latin, acus means "needle", and the English word acupuncture was coined way back in the 17th century to describe a technique the Chinese had already been using for 2,000 years... In China today, even major surgery is often carried out using only acupuncture to kill the pain; it's also used for many other conditions, including insomnia, depression, smoking, and overweight. Acupuncture is based on ancient theories of bodily energy that few Western doctors have ever accepted; but even though attempts to explain its effects by Western science have been unsuccessful, it's now widely recognized by doctors as effective for pain reduction.

In the case of acupuncture, the time period must also be considered. On a fine day, the sun shining, blood in the human body flows smoothly, saliva is free, breathing is easy. On days of chill and cloud, blood flows thick and slow, breathing is heavy, saliva is viscous. When the moon is waxing, blood and breath are full. When the moon wanes, blood and breath wane. Therefore acupuncture should be used only on fair warm days, when the moon is waxing or, best of all, when the moon is full. ~Pearl S. Buck, The Three Daughters of Madame Liang, 1969

Time — whether the hour of the day or the season of the year — is an important element in healthcare according to traditional Chinese medicine. Qi, the body's vital energy, is like the tide, fluctuating and flowing over time. The cycle of four seasons is a complete circulation and the same is true of the 24-hour day. Understanding this kind of "body clock" will help you to achieve and maintain good health... People in ancient China divided a day into 12 two-hour periods, and in each period there is a different channel with vital energy, and its related organ, "on duty." ~Zhang Jiaofei & Wang Jing, The Body Clock Guide: Using Traditional Chinese Medicine for Prevention and Healthcare, 2011, translated by Cao Jianxin, 2015

In 1950, Yoshio Nakatani showed that when someone was ill, the acupuncture points along the affected meridian tested significantly lower in electrical resistance in comparison with the surrounding skin. The resistance values also changed with the time of day, ambient temperature, and use of acupuncture, as well as the physical activity and emotional state of the subject. ~Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, 2009,

An acupuncture protocol that capture the imagination of many acupuncturists are the “Ghost Points,” made famous by the great Tang Dynasty era doctor Sun Si Miao (581–682 CE)... Modernly, in our anti-superstitious Western culture, the “Ghost Points” are used for various mental illness states, as well as addiction and fixation.... it is more widely believed in Chinese medical circles that mental illness is caused by “phlegmatic” states (dysfunction of body fluids and blood) instead of entities. ~Nicholas Sieben, MS, L.Ac., “The Ghost Points: Ancient Acupuncture Treatment for Obsession, Addiction & Destructive Behavior,”, 2021

Ghost Points are said to help a soul find their place in the cosmos. They lend an ancient insight to assist in the treatment of mental and emotional conditions through Acupuncture today. They offer the opportunity to release your real or figurative ghosts: whatever has an overpowering hold over you, preventing you from connecting to your truth and essence. ~Dr. Lauren Dyer, “Ghost Points: Supporting The Spirit Through Acupuncture,”

The Ancient Chinese believed that memories are held in the body and can be retrieved by the use of acupuncture needles. ~Geffrey Von Gerlach, Ghostpoints, 2004,

As Acupuncture involves the adjustment and balancing at the energetic level of a human body, the effects of acupuncture can extend to benefiting the emotional aspects of a person. This is in line with Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophies which recognize that emotions play a large part in the health of a person. This is also highly unique in Traditional Chinese Medicine in which emotions are given attention to the health and wellbeing of a person, unlike Western medicine which limits its theories to the level of flesh and bones, cells and molecules only. ~Dr Xiang Jun, "Emotional Aspects Of Acupuncture,"

pulse tells our secrets —
seeking wellness with needles
healer points the way —
~Terri Guillemets

...some practitioners are no good, some are geniuses. ~Dr Daniel Keown, The Spark in the Machine, 2014,  [This book is absolutely fascinating and so well-written. I highly recommend it! —tg]

What that shows on the outside speaks volumes of the inside. ~Dr Xiang Jun,

      This is the incredible thing about Acupuncture: when faced with Western medicine at its wishy-washy worst (What's causing my bleeding...? Err... don't know... Take these hormones, though), people are almost always willing to try it...
      This patient gave her informed consent and in this case Chinese medicine had all the answers. She did not have 'peri-menopausal bleeding'; she had a spleen deficiency manifesting in abnormal serotonin metabolism... Needles in Zu San Li (Leg Three Mile) ST-36 and San Yin Jiao (Three Yin Crossing) SP-6 stopped the bleeding for the first time in four weeks, improved her complexion and actually made her feel better! ~Dr Daniel Keown, M.B. Ch.B., Lic. Ac., The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine, 2014,

Still another researcher happened upon a patient whose condition suggests the presence of the meridian system. Dr. Yoshio Nagahama... discovered that one of his patients, who had been struck by lightning, could now feel the "echo," or movement, of the chi when needled. Dr. Nagahama inserted a needle at the source of each meridian and had the patient use his finger to track the course of the echo while Dr. Nagahama timed the flow. The patient, who did not know about the meridian system, traced each meridian precisely... ~Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, 2009,

All that is often necessary to occasion a flow of ideas and fancies, is to increase or accelerate the tide of blood in the veins. ~William Benton Clulow, 1833  [context: drinking wine —tg]

Her needlework... was excellent... she could work... delicately with the needle. ~J. E. Austen Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen, By Her Nephew, 1870  [Context: sewing. But it describes my acupuncturist perfectly! —tg]

A tired patient declares: I am not well in health.
The master doctor—curer of souls and bodies—
reads the reports of his tongue, which tell the
true tale of his life, and she asks the sickly man:
Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.
She finds his vein, nimble spirits in the arteries—
As if she sat in his heart, she says:  you are
altogether governed by humours. Lie still.
And touching now this and that meridian
she would with sharp needle—point by point—
and the burning of her wholesome herbs
heal his sickness, see him restor'd to vigour:
What is infirm from your sound parts shall fly,
Health shall live free and sickness freely die.
~William Shakespeare & Terri Guillemets, "So delicate with her needle," 2022, collage poem created entirely from words and phrases in Shakespeare's plays

There's the point. ~William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, c.1606  [II, 6, Octavius]

...thrust a bodkin's point... ~William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, c.1610  [III, 3, Clown]

But in this point... he brings his physic... ~William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, c.1612  [III, 2, Lord Chamberlain]

I have touch'd the highest point... that full meridian of my glory... ~William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, c.1612  [III, 2, Cardinal Wolsey]

...incensed points... ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, c.1600  [V, 2, Hamlet]  #moxibustion 🤣

My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time
And makes as healthful music...
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, c.1600  [III, 4, Hamlet]

And purge th' obstructions which begin to stop
Our very veins of life.
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, c.1597  [IV, 1, Archbishop Scroop]  #meridians not so phlegmatic... ~William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, c.1600  [I, 4, Hostess Quickly]

I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With... precious-juiced flowers...
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities...
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, c.1594  [II, 3, Friar Laurence] honestly by the prick of their needles... ~William Shakespeare, Henry V, c.1598  [II, 1, Hostess Quickly]  #acupuncturists

It is... bound to stir the pulses of any man... and... required the needle... of a doctor... ~Mark Twain mash-up quote by Terri Guillemets  [a little silly literary playing, sometimes I just can't help myself —tg]

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published 2019 Jun 15
revised May & Jul 2022
last saved 2024 Apr 23