What is a Point? Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée 01/10/2017


Are the points found by the practitioner the same for all practitioners? Are they the same in each patient? Are they always in the same space, at the same time? These and many more are the questions concerning an acupuncture point, the word we use to translate the Chinese characters (xue 穴, shu 兪). Another in-depth and inspiring CPD with the highly respected and knowledgeable researcher Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée.

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Course Description

We believe that a point is a simple thing; a spot on the body with specific features: location, name, belonging to a meridian/channel, which imply its functions, effects or symptoms.

In fact, there are a lot of questions.

  • First, where are the points coming from? How did the notion appear and develop? Can we speak of a point without having the technique of the fine needles that are inserted? Point and needle exist one for the other and one by the other.
  • They also function together with the Qi. Are a point and the use of the fine needles possible without a deep and rich knowledge of the Qi, of its movements and ways to act in the human being?
  • What are the relations with the theory and practice organizing the vital circulations on 12 meridians/channels and correlated Luo? What are their relations with the theory of the Five elements and, consequently, with the organs?
  • What is the meaning of the different Chinese characters (xue 穴, shu 兪) translated as “point” into English? What are their differences?
  • Points are most probably “real”, but what does that mean? Is their reality physical? Non-physical ? Both?
  • How do we access them in their non-physical reality as well as in their physical reality?
  • Is the access we have to them the same for all practitioners having studied enough or do we have to consider that several ways are possible to access a point, according to the practitioner, the patient, the circumstances? Are these accesses equal or not? Are they always possible or not?
  • Are the points that the practitioner finds and treats the same for all practitioners? Are they the same in every patient?

The points are linked with space (their location) and time (their moments, when they are open to regulation).

  • Are they always in the same space, at the same time ? Is a « point » still a « point » when not at the right location ? How do we know that the location is right ? Is it the same for any individual ? The same in one given individual all the times
  • Is a « point » still a point when not at the right moment ? What is the «moment» of a point ? Is it only in relation with stems an branches for each one and for all ?

Besides all these questions, the features of a point can be studied to profile a point:

  • their belonging to a given meridian, characterized by a quality of the yin or yang qi; their relationship with the dynamic of this meridian;
  • their location on this meridian in the nearby of physiological functions and organs in the same body area;
  • their proximity or meeting with another (or several other) meridian(s)
  • their relationship with the luo circulations.
  • the various kinds and groups of points
  • how do they work together ?

And more …


Elisabeth Rochat De La Vallée

Well known researcher and translator in regards to ancient Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, and author of numerous influential books in several languages. Member of the Board Ricci Association for the Grand Ricci; Dean of Study in the European School of Acupuncture (www.acupuncture-europe.org); Senior Lecturer of the E.E.A. (École Européenne d’Acupuncture); Lecturer on Chinese Philosophy in the Jesuit University in Paris (Centre Sèvres) and Member of the French Association of Chinese Studies (A.F.E.C.).


After studying  philosophy, literature and classics at the Paris University where she completed her Masters degree in Classics and Philosophy, Elisabeth met Claude Larre s.j. who was working on his PhD thesis on the Huainanzi and translating the Laozi. As a result of his influence, she began to study Chinese and work with him on Chinese classical texts. She also studied modern Chinese with a native speaker and spent a year in Taiwan (1974) to further her studies. She holds degrees in Chinese at the Paris University.

In the early 1970’s she embarked on a study of Chinese medicine,  together with Father Larre and Dr. Schatz, a western physician with an interest in oriental medicine and the classical medical texts, beginning the first study group of the classical medical texts in Paris which led to the foundation of the European School of Acupuncture in Paris in 1976.
Elisabeth and Father Larre started to offer lectures, seminars and conferences on Chinese classical thought in France and several European countries. In the mid 1980’s, Elisabeth began to accompany Father Larre on his teaching engagements in both the UK and the US. Her knowledge of the medical texts combined to Father Larre’s subtle understanding of the background culture and philosophy produced a unique teaching team. They also worked together on the Grand Ricci dictionary, completing the first publication – two volumes of single characters – in 1999. The complete work of seven volumes was finally published, under her direction, just before Father Larre’s death in December 2001. Elisabeth has continued to teach  worldwide, working with both medical and philosophical Classics.

Further Details

The seminar will be delivered at ICOM, in East Grinstead
Date: 1 October 2017
From 9.30 to 4.30
CPD hours: 6

For enquiries please email elisabetta.iandolo@orientalmed.ac.uk


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