TCM Schools of Thought | Acupuncture CEU Course

TCM Medical Classics: Huang Di Nei Jing

A one hour CEU Video course. This class presents a survey of the earliest and most authoritative texts in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Principles of the Huang Di Nei Jing, also known as Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, are illustrated with regard to the foundation of Chinese Medicine. The continuing development and growth of TCM is further explored in the Nan Jing (Classic of Difficulties) and other supporting texts.
By studying these classics, the practitioner can gain deeper insights into some of the fundamental theories that are clinically relevant in understanding pathophysiology and diagnosis of different disease conditions.

With: Dr. Daoshing Ni, co-founder of Yo San University
1 ½ PDA/Units  Free to audit this course  
$15      Payment includes CEU/PDA certificate of completion, online quiz and download .pdf course file.

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Approved for CEU/PDA by:
NCCAOM Details: Core Competencies: AOM/Biomedicine: 1 ½ PDA
California Details: California Category 1: 1 ½ CEU

Course Sections and Notes (Click any title to expand)

  • Book of Han, which is a book of history documenting activities of West Han Dynasty from 206 BC to 23 AD.
  • It stated that there was 7 medical classics in existence at that time.
  • 7 Medical Classics:

    黄帝内经> Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic

    黄帝外经> Yellow Emperor’s External Classic

    扁鹊内经> Bian Que’s Internal Classic

    扁鹊外经> Bian Que’s External Classic

    白氏内经> Dr Bai’s Internal Classic

    白氏外经> Dr Bai’s External Classic

    白氏旁篇> Dr Bai’s Supplement

Various Translated Name to English:

  • –Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic–The Inner Canon of Huangdi–Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon–Huang Di’s Classic of Internal Medicine–Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Traditional Chinese Medicine
    • Huang Di – Yellow Emperor
    • Nei – Inner or Internal
    • Jing – classic or scripture
    • Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic
  • Warring State Period (475 BC -221 BC)
  • Author unknown
  • The Book is divided into 2 sections: Suwen – The Plain Questions and Ling Shu – The Divine Pivot.
  • 162 chapters (81 chapters in each section)
  • Earliest documentation of medical knowledge in Chinese history.
  • All doctrines originates from the fundamentals of Huang Di Nei Jing.
  • Therefore Huang Di Nei Jing is considered to be the BIBLE of TCM
  • There are many other “classics” in TCM but all originates and relates intimately to Huang Di Nei Jing
  • –Nan Jing 难经 The Classic of Difficulties is an elaboration of fundamentals of Huang Di Nei Jing
  • –Shang Han Lun 伤寒论 Injuries by Cold is an elaboration of febrile diseases described in Huang Di Nei Jing
  • –Jin Kui Yao Lue 金匮要略 Essential Strategies of the Golden Cabinet discusses treatments for internal medicine and miscellaneous diseases from Huang Di Nei Jing
  • –Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing 针灸甲乙经 or Jia Yi Jing is the study of acupuncture elaborated from Huang Di Nei Jing
  • –Mai Jing 脉经 The Pulse Classic is the study of diagnosis originated from Huang Di Nei Jing
  • Huang Di is a wise leader around 4 to 5 thousand years ago. He is considered to be the originator of the Chinese culture and well revered in history and by its people
  • Since it is at the time of shelf bone language era, it is most likely not possible to be written by him or at that time
  • 144839 words
  • To use Huang Di in its title is to
  • –Denotes its importance
  • –Prevent burning of this book
  • There are at least twenty different books that have Huang Di in its title at that time, but mostly have been lost.
  • Warring States
  • –Sufficient medical experiences–Social change, scientific advances, war, anatomy–Decline of witchcraft
  • Provides the theoretical foundation of TCM
  • Provides the framework of TCM development and thought process
  • Three Main Contents:
  • –Theories of Yin Yang, Five Elements
  • –Holistic Perspective on Health and Disease
  • –Differentiation and Treatments
  • Yang Sheng 养生
  • Zang Fu, Jingluo theories
  • Diagnostics
  • Disease discussions
  • –Etiology
  • –Pathology
  • –Disease Progression
  • –Syndrome formation
  • Therapies
  • Climatology
  • Yin Yang and Five Elements
  • 81 chapters
  • focused on fundamentals

–zang fu, diagnosis, etiopathology, treatment principles

  • secondary focus on jing luo, point studies, and needling methods
  • Qin, Yue Ren 秦越人 (Classics of Difficulties)
  • Zhang, Zhong Jing 张仲景 (Shang Han)
  • Hua, Tuo 华佗 (Zhong Zang Jing)
  • Huang, Fu Mi 皇甫谧 (Acupuncture)
  • Liu, Wan Su 刘完素 (Fire-Heat Pathology)
  • Luo, Long Ji 骆龙吉 (Nei Jing Formulations)
  • Liu, Yu De 刘浴德, Zhu, Lian 朱练 (Nei Jing Formulation)
  • Chen, Wu Jiu 陈无咎 (Nei Jing Formularies)
  • Nan Jing – 
    • Classic of Difficulties
    • Qin Yue Ren (Bian Qu)
  • Shang Han Za Bing Lun
  • Treaties on Injury by Cold and Miscellaneous Diseases
    Zhang Zhong Jing

    • Elaboration on Cold Pathology and Treatment
  • Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Huang, Fu Mi
    • focus on the treatments of acupuncture and moxibustion

Huang Di said, “The law of yin and yang is the natrual order of the universe, the foundation of all things, mother of all changes, the root of life and death. In healing, one must grasp the root of the disharmony, which is always subject to the law of yin and yang.

Chap 5 Neijing Suwen

Each of the five zang organs also has its aversions. The heart is averse to heat, the lungs to dryness, the liver to wind, the spleen to dampness, and the kidneys to dryness.

Chap 23 Neijing Suwen

Qi Bo answered, “In general, the reproductive physiology of woman is such that at seven years of age her kidney energy becomes full, her permanent teeth come in, and her hair grows long…

At fourteen years the tian kui, or fertility essence, matures, the ren/conception and chong/vital channels responsible for conception open, menstruation begins, and conception is possible…

At twenty-one years the kidney energy is strong and healthy, the wisdom teeth appear, and the body is vital and flourishing…

At twenty-eight years the bones and tendons are well developed and the hair and secondary sex characteristics are complete. This is the height of female development…

At thirty-five years the yangming channels that govern the major facial muscles begin to deplete, the muscles begin to atrophy, facial wrinkles appear, and the hair begins to thin…

At forty-two all three yang channels are exhausted, the entire face is wrinkled, and the hair begins to turn gray…

At forty-nine years the ren and chong channels are completely empty, and the tien kui has dried up, the menstruation ceases and no longer able to conceive…

In male, at eight years of age the kidney energy becomes full, the permanent teeth appear, and hair becomes long…

At sixteen years of age the kidney energy is ample, the tien kui is mature, and the jing is ripe, so procreation is possible…

At twenty-four years the kidey qi is abundant, the bones and tendons grow strong, and the wisdom teeth come in…

At the thirty-second year the body is at the peak of strength, and functions of the male are at their height…

By forty the kidney qi begins to wane, teeth become loose, and the hair starts to fall…

At forty-eight yang energy of the head begins to deplete, the face becomes sallow, the hair grays, and the teeth deteriorate…

By fifty-six years the liver energy weakens, causing the tendon to stiffen…

At sixty-four tian kui dries up and the jing is drained, resulting in in kidney exhaustion, fatigue and weakness…

When the energy of all the organs is full, the excess energy stored in the kidney is excreted for the purpose of conception. But now, the organs have aged and their energies have become depleted, the bones and tendons have become frail and stiff, and movements are hampered. The kidney reservoir becomes empty, marking the end of the power of conception.

Chap 1 Universal Truth

Huang Di said, “In nature there are eight types of wind, and within the body’s channels and collaterals there are five types of wind. What do they mean?”

Qi Bo answered, “The eight types of wind that occur in nature are abnormal and pathogenic winds, which cause diseases. These can affect the body’s channels and collaterals, producing five types of internal wind that damage their corresponding organs. These internal winds are liver wind, heart wind, lung wind, kidney wind, and spleen wind. They are caused by abnormal changes in the four seasons.

For example, spring overacts on late summer, late summer overacts on winter, winter overacts on summer, summer overacts on autumn, and autumn overacts on spring.

Chap 4 The Truth from the Golden Chamber

In ancient times the Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, was known to have been a child prodigy. As he grew he showed himself to be sincere, wise, honest, and compassionate. He became very learned and developed keen powers for observing nature. His people recognized him as a natural leader and chose him as their emperor.

During his reign, Huang Di discoursed on medicine, health, lifestyle, nutrition, and Taoist cosmology with his ministers Qi Bo, Lei Gong, and others. Their first discussion began with Huang Di inquiring, “I’ve heard that in the days of old everyone lived one hundred years without showing the usual signs of aging. In our time, however, people age prematurely, living only fifty years. Is this due to a change in the environment, or is it because people have lost the correct way of life?”

  • Symptoms of Aging
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • Greater risk of heat stroke or hypothermia
  • Slight decrease in height as the bones of our spines get thinner and lose some height
  • Bones break more easily
  • Joint changes, ranging from minor stiffness to severe arthritis
  • Stooped posture
  • Slowed and limited movement
  • Decrease in overall energy
  • Constipation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Slight slowing of thought, memory, and thinking (however, delirium, dementia, and severe memory loss are NOT a normal part of aging)
  • Reduced reflexes and coordination and difficulty with balance
  • Decrease in visual acuity
  • Diminished peripheral vision
  • Some degree of hearing loss
  • Wrinkling and sagging skin
  • Whitening or graying of hair
  • Weight loss, after age 55 in men and after age 65 in women, in part due to loss of muscle tissue.

Qi Bo replied, “In the past, people practiced the Tao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of yin and yang, as represented by the transformation of the energies of the universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao-Yin, an exercise combining stretching, massaging and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe. They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours, avoided overstressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived over one hundred years.

These days, people have changed their way of life. They drink wine as though it were water, indulgence excessively in destructive activities, drain their jing – the body’s essence that is stored in the kidneys- and deplete their qi. They do not know the secret of conserving their energy and vitality. Seeking emotional excitement and momentary pleasures, people disregard the natural rhythm and order of the universe. They fail to regulate their lifestyle and diet, and sleep improperly. So it is not surprising that they look old at fifty and die soon after.

The accomplished ones of ancient times advised people to guard themselves against zei feng, disease-causing factors. On the mental level, one should remain calm and avoid excessive desires and fantasies, recognizing and maintaining the natural purity and clarity of the mind. When internal energies are able to circulate smoothly and freely, and the energy of the mind is not scattered, but is focused and concentrated, illness and disease can be avoided.

“Previously, people led a calm and honest existence, detached from undue desire and ambition; they lived with an untainted conscience and without fear. They were active, but never depleted themselves. Because they lived simply these individuals knew contentment, as reflected in their diet of basic but nourishing foods and attire that was appropriate to the season but never luxurious. Since they were happy with their position in life, they did not feel jealousy, or greed. They had compassion for others and were helpful and honest, free from destructive habits. They remained unshakable and unswayed by temptations and they were able to stay centered even when adversity arise. They treated others justly, regardless of their level of intelligence or social position.”

Huang Di asked, “When one grows old, one cannot bear children. Is this due to heredity or to the loss of one’s procreative energy?”

Qi Bo answered, “In general, the reproductive physiology of woman is such that at seven years of age her kidney energy becomes full, her permanent teeth come in, and her hair growth long…

Yellow Emperor’s 81 Classics of Difficulties

81 Difficulties

  • Published during Warring States era.
  • The author is Bian Que 扁鹊.
  • It was originally named as Huang Di Ba Shi Yi Nan Jing or Yellow Emperor’s 81 Classic of Difficulties.
  • It is written in a format of Questions and Answers.
  • It provides answers to 81 medical questions, therefore it is also referred to as the 81 Difficulties.

The Content:

  • Questions 1-22 relates to pulse diagnosis
  • Questions 23-29 relates to channel and collaterals
  • Questions 30-47 relates to Zang Fu
  • Questions 48-61 relates to discussion of diseases
  • Questions 62-68 relates to acupuncture points
  • Questions 69-81 relates to acupuncture therapy

The entire book is on describing the fundamentals of TCM


  • –Ming Men and San Jiao
  • –7 ”gates” of the digestive system (Qi Chong Men 七冲门)
  • –8 influential points (Ba Hui 八会) – Zang, Fu, Tendon, Marrow, Blood, Bone, Pulse, and Qi
  • –5 types of Shang Han – Zhong Feng (Injury by Wind), Shang Han (Injury by Cold), Shi Wen (Damp Wen Condition), Re Bing (Febrile Diseases), Wen Bing (Warmth Diseases)
  • –Discussion of stagnation in Zang organs as well as dysentery
  • It has many version and elaborations.
  • Q: All Zang organs have one, Why does Kidney has two?
  • A: Kidney has two because one of them is actually not the Kidney Zang organ. The left one is Kidney Zang organ but the right one is Ming Men. Ming Men houses spirit and essence and provides the foundation for Source Qi. In man, it is a place to store sexual essence. In woman, it is a place to hold pregnancy. That is why Kidney Zang organ is only one.
  • Q: Nei Jing made a mention of Ba Hui (Eight Influential Points), what are they?
  • A: LV 13 – meeting of the Zang organs, SP Mu CV 12 – meeting of the Fu organs,, GB 34 – meeting of the sinews/tendons, GB 39 – meeting of the marrow, UB 17 – meeting of the Blood, UB 11 – meeting of the bones, LU 9 – meeting of the Blood vessels, ST Mu CV 17 – meeting of the Qi, If there are febrile diseases, treat these 8 points accordingly.