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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 682735, 14 pages
Review Article

Essential Experimental Methods for Identifying Bonghan Systems as a Basis for Korean Medicine: Focusing on Visual Materials from Original Papers and Modern Outcomes

1Faculty of Liberal Education, Seoul National University, Room 208, Building 61, 599 Gwanangno, Gwanank-gu, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea
2A324, KAIST Institute for Information Technology Convergence, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea
3Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, 989-111 Daedeok-daero, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-353, Republic of Korea

Received 24 June 2015; Accepted 16 August 2015

Academic Editor: Morry Silberstein

Copyright © 2015 Hoon-Gi Kim 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.


In the 1960s, through studies on Korean Medicine, Bonghan Kim proposed the Bonghan systems (BS) as the anatomical reality of the acupuncture meridians based on various experimental data. Since 2002, several groups, mainly led by a team at Seoul National University, who renamed the BS as the primo vascular system (PVS), have published around 70 papers showing biological structures corresponding to the BS. However, it is still difficult for other researchers to find them, especially under the skin, which Bonghan Kim first reported as acupuncture points, due to similar-looking biological tissues, for example, the lymphatic vessels, and such artifacts as blood clots or fascia debris. To solve these drawbacks, we examined the main methods for identifying the BS by comparing the original papers with the modern outcomes in terms of the common physical/chemical characteristics of the BS. In addition, effective methods of staining and microscopic observations discovered by modern teams are synthetically explained using visual materials such as diagrams and photos. Through the essentially organized methods in this review paper, we suggest that one can find the BS under the skin as putative acupuncture points by tracing the intraexternal BS, from which a new Korean Medicine will be born.