Channel-phenomenon (or jingluo phenomenon, in Chinese) is a special sensational phenomenon discovered by traditional Chinese medicine over two thousand years ago. When stimulating certain points on a patient's skin, the patient will have a sensation moving along specifiable routes, terminating at the location of disease or the top of the head. With a definite distribution pattern on the human body, such specifiable routes are named jingluo by traditional Chinese medicine and constitute the theoretical and practical basis for the treatment of acupuncture. In modern medicine, this propagated sensation along channels can be called "moving topesthesia", or "perceptual extension."
For many years researchers on channel-phenomenon had concentrated their efforts on attempting to discover a concrete tubing structure below the specified routes. They wanted to find an observable anatomical structure or particular physical basis so as to ground the channel-phenomenon on a solid basis. According to their understanding, the essence of channel-phenomenon had to lie in particular anatomical tubes as a physical basis. Without such a physical basis, the channel-phenomenon could not have real objective existence. However, although tremendous amount of labor and energy were invested in the hope of finding particular anatomical tubes for channels, it was done in vain. Consequently, Chinese intellectual research on channel-phenomenon came to silence.
However, it is mistaken to believe that the essence of channel-phenomenon has to lie in a particular physical basis. The propagated sensation along channels as a phenomenon has been there for thousands of years and continue to be confirmed by patients in the present time. Why must research on channel-phenomenon be separated from patients’ vivid experiences and instead be focused only on looking for special anatomical structures? On reflection, it happened that some had held a very narrow-minded and simplified notion of objectivity. Indeed, objectivity does not always require a particular physical basis. Patients’ experiences and feelings are equally objective facts for intellectual research.
Fortunately, as we can learn from the lessons and experiences we had in the past, we will readjust our research orientation. With the recent publication of the two new books about higher clinical neurology in the field, it looks that the research on channel-phenomenon will encounter its renaissance.