diào or tiáo (調)

diào (調) means “to shift, tone, or transfer; a tune or to intone;” tiáo (調) means “to regulate, adjust, or even to instigate or provoke;” contemporary acupuncture is largely based on the practitioner tiáo (調) specific points, according to functions we’ve learned from books; much of that information is based on how Chinese acupuncturists from several hundred years ago were able to tiáo (調) points to regulate or adjust the patient’s blood-qì in some specific way; yet, in the classical sense, I suggest that all of these meanings mix together relative to acupuncture with the small needles, especially the subtle modern filiform needle; for instance, Sun Simiao was said to sometimes chant at acupuncture points, either instead of or in addition to needling them; clearly, his understanding of this character ranged easily between diào (調) and tiáo (調); the concept of musical tones is also a major theme of Língshū, chapters 64 & 65.

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