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Copyright © 2015, Journal of Integrative Medicine Editorial Office.
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● English Translation of TCM

On English translation of infant Tuina points in
traditional Chinese medicine
Xiao Ye1, Jing Wang2
1. College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053,
Zhejiang Province, China
2. TCM Pediatric Department, Qingdao Haici Medical Group & TCM Hospital, Qingdao 266033, Shandong
Province, China

Keywords: nomenclature; TCM translation; Tuina; terminology; terms, traditional Chinese medicine
Citation: Ye X, Wang J. On English translation of infant Tuina points in traditional Chinese medicine. J Integr Med.
2015; 13(3): 205–207.

1 Introduction 2 The necessity of including English of infant Tuina

In recent years, several international standardized traditional
Chinese medicine (TCM) nomenclatures have been published, There are three aspects that entail the inclusion of English
including the major ones A Proposed Standard International translation of infant Tuina points in the international standardized
Acupuncture Nomenclature by World Health Organization TCM nomenclatures and dictionaries.
(WHO) in 1991[1], International Standard Terminologies First, reviewing several major international standardized
on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region[2] by TCM nomenclatures[4–6], the authors found that although
WHO in the Western Pacific Region (WPRO) in 2007 and the general inclusion of Chinese medicine in these references
International Standard Chinese-English Basic Nomenclature was complete, there was no information on infant Tuina
of Chinese Medicine[3] by the World Federation of Chinese points. As a result, practitioners may not be aware of infant
Medicine Societies (WFCMS) in 2007. However, an English Tuina points or may underestimate the importance of infant
translation of points applied in infant Tuina therapy is neither Tuina. Therefore, it is necessary to pay some attention to
contained in any of these standardized nomenclatures, nor in this nearly lost field.
major Chinese-English dictionaries of Chinese medicine[4–6]. Second, although acupuncture points already have a
Infant Tuina is an effective and common therapy used in the standardized English translation, the infant Tuina points
pediatric department of Chinese medicine. As the points used fall into another category; while all the main standard acu-
in infant Tuina therapy are different from the points used puncture points are located along the channels, the infant
in standard acupuncture, and are essential to practice, the tuina points are not necessarily located along channels.
authors believe it is important to make an English translation Among all the commonly used infant Tuina points, only a
of infant Tuina points and explore the principles and protocol few of them are located at the same place as acupuncture
of their translation. points. Moreover, some infant Tuina points share names

Received December 26, 2014; accepted February 5, 2015.
Correspondence: Jing Wang; E-mail: xiaojing-01@163.com

Journal of Integrative Medicine 205 May 2015, Vol.13, No.3


with acupuncture points but have different locations and translation are to be equivalent, concise, and identity;
indications. The majority of these points are either lines, and English terms should be applicable in popular usage,
arches, joint points, or extra points that are not on the without mentioning avoidance of pinyin.
channels. Since the infant Tuina points are uniquely different For the infant Tuina points, since they are not distributed
from the acupuncture points, their terms in English should along channels like most acupuncture points, it is impossible
be expressed in other ways. to use the number code of a channel to name most of them
Third, infant Tuina points are mainly used during the (except in some cases that share the same name and indications
application of infant Tuina, a therapy that has long been as adult points, for which they can share the same number
in existence and is still used to treat a wide variety of code). Second, in order to retain the identity and reduce
infantile conditions. Many classics of TCM have records of ambiguity, the present authors think that Chinese pinyin
infant Tuina, such as the General Treatise on the Causes and must be included and Chinese characters should remain
Manifestations of Various Diseases (Zhubing Yuanhou Lun, as the last component. Third, clear and concise English
《诸病源候论》) and Valuable Prescriptions for Emergency translation is required to reflect the original concept. All
(Beiji Qianjin Yaofang, 《备急千金要方》). There are also of this will help to bring the principle of equivalence to a
classics that deal exclusively with infant Tuina, such as the proper translation.
Magic Tuina Classic of Infant Care (Baoyinger Shenshu
Anmojing, 《保婴儿神术按摩经》) and Secrets of Infant 4 Protocol of the English translation
Tuina (Xiaoer Tuina Mijue, 《 小 儿 推 拿 秘 诀》)[7]. In
contemporary practice, infant Tuina is an indispensible Following the analysis mentioned above, the present
part of Tuina courses in most Chinese colleges of Chinese authors are putting forth the English of commonly used
medicine. As a non-medicinal and painless natural therapy infant Tuina points in the following[9,10].
that is simple, convenient, effective, and cheap, it is familiar 4.1 Points on the head and face
and widely accepted by many people, and is a treatment 天门 : heaven gate (Tianmen); 坎宫 : kan palace (Kangong);
modality that is offered in the most Chinese medicine 太 阳 : EX-HN5 (Taiyang); 耳 后 高 骨 : retroauricular
pediatric departments in the major cities of China. Judging prominence (Erhou Gaogu); 百会 : DU20 (Baihui); 印堂 :
from its long history and wide application in modern EX-HN3 (Yintang); 人中 : DU26 (Renzhong); 颊车 : ST6
times, having accurate English translation of infant Tuina (Jiache); 风池 : GB20 (Fengchi); 天柱骨 : heaven pillar
points seems essential. bone (Tianzhugu).
4.2 Points on the chest and abdomen
3 Translation principles 膻中 : RN17 (Danzhong); 乳旁 : nipple side (Rupang);
乳 根 : ST18 (Rugen); 腹 : abdomen (Fu); 中 脘 : RN12
In the course of formulating international standard (Zhongwan); 天枢 : ST25 (Tianshu); 脐中 : RN8 (Qizhong);
terminologies on Chinese medicine, both the WPRO and the 丹田 : elixir field (Dantian); 肚角 : belly corner (Dujiao).
WFCMS held many conferences to discuss the translation 4.3 Points on the upper limbs
principles for Chinese medicine[8]. In the WPRO standard, 脾 经 : spleen channel (Pijing); 肝 经 : liver channel
the translation principles are accurate reflections of the (Ganjing); 心 经 : heart channel (Xinjing); 肺 经 : lung
original concept of Chinese terms, with no creation of new channel (Feijing); 肾经 : kidney channel (Shenjing); 大肠
English words, avoidance of pinyin (Romanized Chinese) 经 : large intestine channel (Dachangjing); 小肠经 : small
and consistency with WHO’s Standard Acupuncture intestine channel (Xiaochangjing); 内八卦 : inner bagua
Nomenclature. Among these principles, the authors of this (Neibagua); 四 缝 : EX-UE10 (Sifeng); 小 天 心 : small
paper do not agree with “avoidance of pinyin” for two heaven center (Xiaotianxin); 板门 : board door (Banmen);
reasons: many terms have complex meaning and bear layers 胃 经 : stomach channel (Weijing); 外 劳 宫 : EX-UE8
of symbolism involving Chinese language and culture; (Wailaogong); 二 扇 门 : two doors (Ershanmen); 二 人
also, when we use terms involving medicinals, formulas, 上 马 : two people mounting the horse (Erren Shangma);
acupuncture points or classic books in clinical practice, it 总 筋 PC7 (Zongjin); 大 横 纹 : large transverse crease
is very common to directly apply Chinese pinyin. Using (Dahengwen); 一 窝 风 : a flocking wind (Yiwofeng); 膊
pinyin can sometimes help to clear up misunderstandings 阳池 : arm yang pool (Boyangchi); 天河水 : heaven river
when faced with different English versions of a TCM water (Tianheshui); 三关 : three passes (Sanguan); 六腑 :
term. Hence, in the WFCMS standard, the principles of six fu (Liufu).

May 2015, Vol.13, No.3 206 Journal of Integrative Medicine


4.4 Points on the lower limbs associative interest that represents a conflict of interest in
箕门 : dustpan gate (Jimen); 血海 : SP10 (Xuehai); 足 connection with the work submitted.
三里 : ST36 (Zusanli); 承山 : BL57 (Chengshan); 涌泉 :
KI1 (Yongquan). REFERENCES

5 Concluding remarks 1 WHO Scientific Group on International Acupuncture Nomen-

clature. A proposed standard international acupuncture
nomenclature: Report of a WHO scientific group. Geneva:
In summary, as a branch of TCM and being different from
World Health Organization. 1991.
acupuncture points, it is reasonable to include infant 2 World Health Organization Western Pacific Region. WHO
Tuina points in the future international standardized TCM international standard terminologies on traditional medicine
nomenclatures or dictionaries. However, due to their particular in the Western pacific region. 2007.
features, inclusion of Chinese pinyin and equivalent principles 3 World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies. International
standard Chinese-English basic nomenclature of Chinese
are essential. Under such principles, the present authors medicine. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House. 2007.
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This study was supported by fundings of Hangzhou’s
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of pediatric Tuina points. Zhejiang Zhong Yi Za Zhi. 2006;
The authors declare that they have no commercial or 41(10): 608–609. Chinese.

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