This essay introduces and assesses some major achievements that have been made in scientific research concerning modernizing acupuncture, a main discipline of traditional Chinese medicine. These achievements include the development of interdisciplinary subjects such as holographic bio-medicine, modern tempera-acupuncture, and modern acupuncture; the account of the propagating route of the signs caused by acupunctural stimulates and the physiological basis for acupunctural analgesia; and the new thought on the essence of jingluo (channel).
There are some special acupunctural points in the body, such as the points in the ear, hand, and foot, which cannot be accounted for through the traditional Chinese medical theories. Unlike general acupunctural points, these special points in a particular location (like the ear) reflect the situation of the whole body. They are like miniature of the body. Only the new theory of holographic bio-medicine can appropriately account for physiological and pathological phenomena of these special points. Moreover, it has long been found that stimulating the same points at different time of the day generates different effects. This fact is also confirmed by contemporary research. The development of modern tempera-acupuncture attempts to discover rules in employing acupunctural treatment to the patient in the best time.
For many years Chinese researchers have been trying to find a basic anatomical structure for acupunctural channels. They had confidence in the belief that "structure determines function." For them, this means that if there is a particular function, there must be a specific structure "behind" it to make this function possible. However, the series of efforts in disclosing a specific structure for the channel have failed one after another. The failure indicates the defect of the claim that a particular structure determines a particular function. From an epistemic perspective, it may well be the case that function suggests structure. The channel system in traditional Chinese medicine may be a supra-anatomical structure; in other words, it is not sustained directly by any particular anatomical structure, but by a network of the whole body in relation to a number of anatomical aspects.