Secrets of the Hidden Vessels

Explains how Chinese acupuncture works in terms Western readers can understand

by Fletcher Kovich


Secrets of the Hidden VesselsThe 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, which cannot all be true. Added to this is the problem that Chinese medicine concepts can seem incomprehensible to Western readers anyway.

This book tackles these problems 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 decide for themselves which aspects apply in reality.

Today’s Chinese medicine disease syndromes are also explained. But in general the book follows the simple approach used in the Nei Jing. With each organ, 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 book also analyses recent scientific ideas on how acupuncture may work, and describes its own “intelligent tissue” hypothesis. This groundbreaking hypothesis is supported by objective experimental data and provides a lucid and plausible explanation of what the meridians are, what acupuncture is; and it also clearly describes the mechanism that enables acupuncture to correct organ malfunctions.

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. It gives great insights into the organ functions and also uses an interesting approach to explain the mental and emotional factors in causing disease. My students find the book indispensable."
- Brandon Fuller, Acupuncture Chair, East West College of Natural Medicine, Sarasota, Florida.

“The book is an excellent alternative to the Maciocia textbook, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, and my students find it very useful in their studies.”
- Fanyi Meng, Programme leader, BSc Acupuncture course, Lincoln College, UK.

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

Some purchase options


United Kingdom

Further reading

Articles and essays on Tractional Chinese Medicine.

Recent acupuncture research.