Secrets of the Hidden Vessels

Secrets of the Hidden Vessels

Explains how Chinese acupuncture works in terms Western readers can understand

by Fletcher Kovich


The Nei Jing consists of ancient Chinese scripts and is the foundation of Chinese acupuncture. But several factors make the Nei Jing, and also today’s Chinese medicine, difficult to comprehend.

Parts of the Nei Jing are fact based, parts are metaphorical and not intended to be interpreted literally, and other parts contain contradictory theories, many of which are simply untrue. Added to this is the problem that Chinese medicine concepts can seem incomprehensible to Western readers, and all this makes the study of Chinese medicine daunting.

This book tackles these problems by explaining Chinese medicine’s key aspects in terms that today’s readers can understand, including the organ functions. It does this by relating Chinese medicine knowledge to today’s physiology and identifying the overlap. The book also extensively analyses the Nei Jing theories on metabolism, organ function, physiology, and the five phase theory; and points out which aspects of these theories are fact based, which are metaphorical, and which are untrue. This enables students to readily understand Nei Jing metabolism and physiology, and to realize which aspects apply in reality and which do not.

Regarding syndromes and disease names, the book follows the simple approach used in the Nei Jing. With each organ, only a single main condition is cited, such as “poor kidney function”, then the signs and symptoms listed. This enables Western students to understand the condition, and also demonstrates how to communicate Chinese medicine to patients.

The subject is also brought up to date by describing the recent “primo vascular system” research, which identifies the anatomical structures that underlie the meridian system. And the book also analyses contemporary hypotheses on how acupuncture works and offers its own groundbreaking hypothesis.

The book brings an unusual transparency to Chinese medicine, making the whole subject easier to understand.

Fletcher Kovich runs his own Chinese acupuncture practice in the UK.



"The book is fascinating. And from the teaching perspective, it is a great tool to help students understand the organ functions. The book also uses an interesting approach to explain the mental and emotional factors in causing disease, which again will greatly assist in the teaching of this aspect of Chinese medicine."

- Brandon Fuller, Program Chair, East West College of Natural Medicine, Sarasota, Florida.


 “We have come across many books on Chinese Medicine and particularly like this book’s approach of blending the Western and Chinese understanding of the organs, to make it clear that both systems describe the same organs. There is a global paradigm shift in medicine, and the importance of Chinese Medicine in understanding the body and health plays a key role in the West’s acceptance of alternative approaches to healthcare.”

- Sam Patel, Joint Principal, The International College of Oriental Medicine (UK)


Download sample chapters in pdf format

References and endnotes for the above chapters (right-click to open in a separate tab)


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