Evaluation of Acupuncture

An Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Approach

by Friedrich G. Wallner (Volume editor) Fengli Lan (Volume editor)
©2018 Conference proceedings 262 Pages
Series: Culture and Knowledge, Volume 24


This book is the latest publication of the international research group «Theory, Methodology, and Structure of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM),» which has been working since 2008. It outlines a methodology that is adequate for research on Classical Chinese Medicine, followed by a detailed and careful analysis of Evidence-Based Acupuncture and Mechanistic Studies of Acupuncture. The authors also analyze and discuss classical texts, hermeneutical treatments, historical studies, clinical trials, women’s diseases, lifestyle-related diseases, placebo effects, and Baomai and Baoluo. Leading experts from America, Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, and South Korea demonstrate that Chinese medicine is a scientific system that is independent from Western medicine.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction (Friedrich Wallner / Fengli Lan)
  • About the Authors
  • Manifesto for a Non-Competing Parallel Research Programme on Acupuncture (Friedrich Wallner)
  • Evidence-Based Acupuncture and Mechanistic Studies of Acupuncture (Lixing Lao / Mingxiao Yang)
  • Interpreting Literature: A Key to Transmit and Enrich Knowledge System of Acupuncture (Fengli Lan)
  • An Overview of the Evolution of Acupuncture Treatment: From Stone Needle to Laser Beam (Ephraim Ferreira Medeiros / Lixing Lao / Fengli Lan)
  • Translations of Chinese Medical Texts and Their Impact on the Theories and Practice of Chinese Medicine (Andrea-Mercedes Riegel)
  • Difficulties and Challenges Clinical Acupuncture Trials Are Facing (Lixing Lao / Mingxiao Yang)
  • Women’s Health: Fundamentals, Lifestyles and Acupuncture Approach (Fengli Lan)
  • Acupuncture Treatment for Lifestyle Related Diseases (Andrea-Mercedes Riegel)
  • Acupuncture and Placebo Effect (Kwon Jong Yoo)
  • The Names of Acupoints in Chinese Medicine: A Mirror of Chinese Culture Misunderstood in the Western World (Andrea-Mercedes Riegel)
  • Understanding Baomai 胞脉 and Baoluo 胞絡: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Ephraim Ferreira Medeiros / Andrea-Mercedes Riegel / Mildred Ferreira Medeiros / Fengli Lan)
  • Baomai and Baoluo: Two Vessels of Importance Not Only for Female Health (Andrea-Mercedes Riegel)
  • Series index

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This book is the newest publication of the international research group “Theory, Methodology, and Structure of TCM” which has been working since 2008. It starts to outline a methodology which is adequate for research on Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM). Such a methodology must take care of the ontological and methodological structure of CCM, which is incompatible with the Western Medicine. After this we show in a detailed way and careful analysis of research procedures which are now common−Evidence-Based Acupuncture and Mechanistic-Based Acupuncture research−, and discuss the challenges and difficulties in clinical acupuncture trials that are still faced today. The results of these studies show that Chinese medicine offers serial and secured options for medical treatment and alternative for Western medicine – even though we subordinate with the Western methodology (a critical view on evidence-based medicine (EBM) and double-blind methodology offers a report of placebo theories.)

Besides the external critique on acupuncture we concentrate on the improvement of theoretical basis and exact understanding of acupuncture. This is done by analysis of classical texts and hermeneutical treatments. To this undertaking we also offer historical studies.

A fruitful way to solve misunderstandings and increase the theoretical understanding is a study on translations of Chinese medical texts.

The analysis of acupuncture in respect of concrete health problems also offers specific theoretical insights and possibilities. The discussions of lifestyle-related diseases and women’s diseases open additional insights on the theoretical background of acupuncture.

Besides this you can see the broad and open basis of Chinese medicine in the research on Baomai and Baoluo by different members of our research group.

This book shows that our research group is on the way to general and explicit theories of Chinese medicine. It will demonstrate that Chinese medicine is a scientific system which is independent from modern Western medicine.

The editors

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About the Authors

Fengli LAN

Prof. Dr. Lan Fengli (1972–), Currently a faculty member of the Five Branches University, Graduate School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); California Licensed Acupuncturist (Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine); Former Professor at the Shanghai University of TCM (SHUTCM, until 2015); Guest Professor at the University of Vienna in Austria in Winter Semester 2010–2011.

Studied Medicine, English Language and Literature, Applied Linguistics, Philosophy of Science, and Anthropology: Bachelor in Medicine (also known as MD), 1990–1995, Hebei Medical University; Master in Medicine, 1995–1998, SHUTCM; PhD in Medicine, 2002–2005, SHUTCM; B.A. in English Language and Literature, 2001–2003, Shanghai International Studies University; Postdoctoral Fellowship in Applied Linguistics, 2005–2008, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation; Visiting Faculty in Constructive Realism, 2007–2010, University of Vienna and OeAD in Austria; Visiting Faculty in Anthropology, 2014–2016, University of California Santa Cruz and San Diego, USA.

Has published 36 peer-reviewed journal papers; 38 book chapters, 27 conference papers, and 24 books. Fields of research: Philosophical and Intercultural Interpretation of Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Gynecology in Chinese Medicine, Ancient Chinese Medical Classics; Classical Chinese Language, Culture, and Philosophy; Cross-Cultural and Translation Studies of Chinese Medicine; Applied Linguistics; Constructive Realism; Medical, Psychological, Linguistic, and Cultural Anthropology. Favorite publications: Culture, Philosophy, and Chinese Medicine: Viennese Lectures (Peter Lang, 2012); Metaphor: The Weaver of Chinese Medicine (Bautz, 2015).

Lixing LAO

Prof. Dr. Lao Lixing (1954–), Vivian Taaam Wong Endowed Professor in Integrative Medicine, Professor and Director in the School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine and the Director of Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Program in the Center for Integrative Medicine of the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), USA. ← 11 | 12 →

An elected vice president of the World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (WFAS) and an appointed Secretary General of the Consortium for Globalization of Chinese Medicine (CGCM). Board member of the SAR and a co-president of the Society for 5 years 2003–2007.

Graduated from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in 1983 and completed his Ph.D. in physiology at UMB in 1992. Also, a licensed acupuncturist over 30 years and served as a Board member for 5 years on the Maryland State Board of Acupuncture.

Has led over 20 clinical trials and pre-clinical studies in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense, USA. Published over 230 peer-reviewed scientific papers and over 10 book chapters. Has also given over 300 presentations at national and international conferences/symposia. Serves on editorial boards in a number of journals including associate editor in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and co-Editor in Chief in the Journal of Integrative Medicine. Research focus on translational research that bridges basic science, clinical trials, and “real world” acupuncture/Chinese medicine clinical practice.

Ephraim Ferreira MEDEIROS

Director of the International Education and Research Department – CEATA (Center for Study of Acupuncture and Alternative Therapies) – Brazil/China (www.ceata.com.br).

He was born in 1973 in Rio de Janeiro. Bachelor of Science in Biomedicine – State University of Campinas – Brazil (1995).

Postgraduate specialization course in Acupuncture – Brazilian Association of Acupuncture – ABA (1997).

Created and developed the technique of Aromatic Acupuncture that combines the therapeutic effects of acupuncture with energetic functions of essential oils used in aromatherapy (1999).

Pioneer in the implementation of web platforms to the study of Chinese Medicine in Brazilian Portuguese language (since 1995).

Founder, webmaster, and Content Designer of the projects Acupunturabrasil.org – 1995 (previously Acupuntura.pro.br), Medicinachinesaclassica.org, Meihuanet.com, and Bencaobrasil.org.

Lives in China since October 2006, conducting advanced clinical studies in hospitals and clinics in Beijing and Sichuan (Gulou Hospital, Tongren Hospital, Beijing Hospital, Acupuncture Hospital of the China Academy of Chinese Medical ← 12 | 13 → Sciences (CACMS), and Mianyang TCM Hospital) and training in Japanese acupuncture in Meiji University of Integrative Medicine (Kyoto, Japan). Currently researching Philosophy of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture).


Born in 1976 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Bachelor in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1999), Master in Morphology from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (2002). She holds a Ph.D. in Sciences from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (2014). In her scientific initiation and master’s degree, she performed histochemical, immunocytochemical and stereological investigations on the pineal gland of rats, and published scientific articles on the subject. In her doctorate, she developed research on inflammatory infiltrates and some chemokines on biopsied nerves of patients with the pure neural form of leprosy, having published works in the area.

Currently, she teaches the following subjects at the Estácio de Sá University (RJ): Histology and Embryology, Cellular Biology, Morphology I and II in nursing, physiotherapy and dentistry courses. She is also conducting research on the following topics: fetal alcohol syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, pregnancy gestation, the morning-after pill, congenital syphilis, bacterial endocarditis, health education and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, involving undergraduate nursing and dentistry students in Estacio de Sá. She is a researcher with a scholarship at the Estácio de Sá University (Brazil). Since February 2016, she has been an assistant professor of Systems Anatomy, Parasitology, Epidemiology and Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University Center Augusto Motta (RJ – Brazil). Since July 2017, she also has been cooperated as an assistant professor of Histology and Embryology at Universidade Veiga de Almeida University – RJ.

Andrea-Mercedes RIEGEL

Born in 1957 in Rastatt, Germany; studied applied linguistics and science of translation (French, Spanish, and law) in Heidelberg (1976–1983). Afterwards studies in Chinese language (classic and modern) philosophy and culture, German linguistics and literature and medical history in Heidelberg and Munich. M.A: in 1992. Between 1989 and 1991 studies abroad in Taibei (Taiwan), classes in Western and Chinese Medicine, 6 months of clinical practice in a Taibei hospital.

Between 1993 and 1999 postgraduate studies in classical Chinese medical literature in Munich, doctorate (Dr. Phil.) in 1999. Since 1999 practitioner of Chinese medicine and interpreter in lessons for Chinese medicine in China. Since 2003 ← 13 | 14 → lecturer at the “Academy for holistic medicine” in Heidelberg. In 2005 she started her studies in medical sciences at the University of Witten/Herdecke and her second doctorate (Dr. rer. medic.) in 2010. During 2010 and 2015 several stays in Asia for studies in theories of Chinese medicine and acupuncture practice.

Main research areas are the Yijing and its influence on the theories and practice of Chinese medicine., the value of old medical theories for the treatment of modern diseases, the interpretation of Chinese medical terms in modern medicine and the translation of classical texts of Chinese medicine.

Numerous articles and lectures about Chinese medicine and 16 books about clinical practice and medical theories.

Friedrich WALLNER

Born in 1945 in Weiten, Lower Austria/Austria, University Professor for Philosophy and Philosophy of Science at the University of Vienna since 1987 (studied Philosophy, Psychology, Education, German and Classic Literature, etc.). His areas of expertise include the Vienna Circle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Popper, the Philosophy of Science of Psychotherapy, the Philosophy of Science of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as Epistemology, Applied Philosophy of Science, and Intercultural Philosophy.

Among professorships at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Vienna, Wallner worked on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture in the field of pedagogy research. During 1985–1995 he developed a new Philosophy of Science, i.e. Constructive Realism, which makes the manifold scientific approaches understandable based on different cultures.

Since the 1990s, he has devoted his scientific and academic work especially to the research of TCM. His research activities are particularly focused on the complex relationship between the field of scientific practice and the 258 socio-cultural contexts of presuppositions. More specifically, his research intensively concentrates on structural analytic studies of TCM and other local and indigenous systems of knowledge. Against the background of the cultural dependency of science, Wallner is intensively working on the argumentative structure of TCM with the aim to provide scientific fundament for the research of TCM as well as to refine the scientific research on the basis of theoretical concepts of Philosophy of Science.

Numerous visiting professorships in 14 countries; scientific guidance and presidencies of famous international conferences, congresses, workshops and seminars; numerous guest lectures all over Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Latin America, USA and Canada, Wallner advocates international, intercultural ← 14 | 15 → and interdisciplinary research projects and cooperation. Scientific Emphases: Theory, Methodology and Structure of Chinese Medicine; Cultural Dependency of Science; How to Research and Modernize Chinese Medicine; Applications of Constructive Realism in Developing an Integrative Medicine; Intercultural Philosophy and Chinese Medicine, etc.

Up to this date, he has published over 200 scientific essays, 20 monographs (Die Verwandlung der Wissenschaft, 2002; What Practitioners of TCM should know, 2006; Traditionelle Chinesische Medizin – Eine Alternative Denkwei-se, 2006; Five Lectures on the Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 2009; Systemanalyse als Wissenschaftstheorie I–III, 2008–2011, etc.) and 40 omnibus volumes. Since 2004 to 2010, Wallner was the chairman of the research unit “Interdisciplinarity and Interculturality” of the University of Vienna.

Wallner was listed 2014 in “The Encyclopedia Intelligentsia” and 2016 honored with the “Austrian Cross of Honor, First Class, for Science and Art”.

Mingxiao YANG

Dr. Yang Mingxiao (1988–), Postdoctoral Fellow of the School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Member of the China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 2016–2022. Graduated from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CDTCM) in 2014 and completed his Ph.D. in Acupuncture and Massage at CDTCM in 2017. Also, a registered TCM doctor for over 3 years.

Has participated in 4 clinical trials and pre-clinical studies in acupuncture, including two National 973 programs. Published over 20 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals including JAMA, Internal Medicine, PloS One, etc.

Serves as an associate editor of peer-reviewed journal TRIALS.

Directions of ongoing research: evidence-based medicine and randomized clinical trials in acupuncture and moxibustion for pain conditions, metabolomics in acupuncture and TCM, and gut microbiota research in acupuncture treating cardiovascular diseases.

Kwon Jong YOO

Born in 1959 in Goesan, Southern province in South Korea, University Professor of Philosophy at the Chung-Ang University since 1995 (studied Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and cognitive Science, Systems Thinking, etc.). His areas of expertise include East Asian Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucian Classics, Taoist Classics, Korean Traditional Philosophy, Korean history of Philosophy, ← 15 | 16 → Comparative Studies of the Mind, Constructivism, Constructive Realism, Rituals and Lifestyle.

He has developed a constructivist framework to develop traditional Confucianism into modern self-organizational methodology, especially for sound lifestyle by applying traditional Confucian rituals in everyday life. Relating to this, he has been linking mind studies on Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism to the self-organizational/cultivational methodology. According to this study direction, he has paid attention to differences in understanding mind in every language, culture, and academic field and thus went further to comparative studies of mind understanding. From 2012 to 2016, as the Director of the Institute for Philosophical Studies at the Chung-Ang University, he has completed a three-year project supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea. The project was to make a dictionary of comparison of understanding mind.

Now he extends his research concern into how to establish and continue a sound lifestyle not only of an individual but of a society. Relating to this, he has joined in Professor Wallner’s TCM project and is developing a philosophical refinement of meridian system with concepts and theories of systems view and cognitive science. In addition, he applied Professor Wallner’s Constructive Realism to his comparative studies of the mind and human soundness.

He had studied about Constructive Realism and Constructivism as a visiting scholar at the University of Vienna for a year from 2005 to 2006 and at the same time as LG Yonam Research Professor. From 2014 to 2015, he visited the New York State University, Stony Brook and performed comparative studies of mind.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (October)
Research Methodology Clinical Trials Placebo effect Women’s health Lifestyle diseases Classical Texts
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018. 262 pp., 3 fig. b/w, 5 tables

Biographical notes

Friedrich G. Wallner (Volume editor) Fengli Lan (Volume editor)

Friedrich G. Wallner is Professor of Philosophy and Scientific Theory at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on Intercultural Philosophy of Science, especially the methodology of Chinese Medicine. Fengli Lan is a former professor of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her research focuses on philosophical and cultural interpretation of Chinese Medicine.


Title: Evaluation of Acupuncture
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