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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 639302, 5 pages
Review Article

The Historical Development of Deqi Concept from Classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine to Modern Research: Exploitation of the Connotation of Deqi in Chinese Medicine

1School of Acupuncture Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
2School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China
3The Key Unit of Evaluation of Characteristic Acupuncture Therapy, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
4Beijing Electric Power Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100073, China

Received 12 May 2013; Revised 11 September 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editor: Lijun Bai

Copyright © 2013 Hong-Wen Yuan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although it is difficult in fully clarifying its mechanisms and effects, Deqi still can be considered as an instant “sign” of acupuncture response of the patient and acupuncturist, which has a significant value in clinic and research. This paper aims to take a history trace to the development of Deqi theory, understand the connotation of Deqi based on Chinese medicine theory, and establish an evaluation methodology accordingly. We believe that Deqi is not only the needling sensation, but also the perception of changes of flowing of the patient elicited by needling on acupoints. The signs of Deqi include the patient’s subjective perception (needling sensation), the objective physiological changes (common referred to the skin redness around the acupoints and the response of brain), and the acupuncturists' perception. Although Deqi is essential for attaining the effect, it may not be the necessary sign of the ideal efficacy. It is found that the characteristics of Deqi sensations, Deqi’s intensity, time duration, and the propagation will all affect the efficacy. Thus, acupuncturists should pay attention to elicit and control Deqi state, which is also the key point in modern research on the therapeutic implications of Deqi.