Alternative Care Chiropractic

Frank M. Painter, D.C.

“The Doc on The Block”

309 Bluff Ave, #1W

La Grange, IL 60525

(708) 352-8237
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What is Ryodoraku?

In 1951 Dr. Yoshio Nakatani presented his research and theory of RYODORAKU Acupuncture. Dr. Nakatani had found that there were a series of low electrical resistance points (or high electrical conductivity) running longitudinally up and down the body. When linked together these points closely matched the acupuncture meridians. Dr. Nakatani called these lines (or meridians) “Ryodoraku” (ryo = good, 'do is (electro) conductive, 'raku = line). The points along the Ryodoraku he named Ryodoten.

Dr. Nakatani was the first person to measure the electrical activity of acupuncture points and the first to formulate diagnostic and treatment criteria from these measurements. Nakatani was the first recorded acupuncturist to use electrical stimulation of acupuncture points. Point location and electrical stimulation has become the norm for most acupuncturists world wide but the Ryodoraku detection, analysis and point selection for electrical stimulation is much less popular. This is unfortunate as Nakatani's concepts provide an accurate pulse-organ diagnosis, accurate location of required treatment points and a very time efficient treatment regimen (generally only 7 seconds stimulation of each point is required. A classic acupuncture treatment lasting an average of 30 minutes would only take 2 - 3 minutes using Ryodoraku!).

The indications for Ryodoraku are identical to those for acupuncture, but the results are often faster. In particular acute pain and acute traumatic swelling e.g. sports injury will often respond during the initial treatment.


A Ryodoraku unit called a “Neurometer” uses a constant voltage of 12V (occasionally 21V will be used in ear acupuncture) and a variable current (this current is set to 200uA for treatment) . To provide consistency and avoid artefacts because of dryness/wetness of skin a moist electrode is used to locate the points of lowered electrical resistance i.e. Ryodoten or Electro permeable Points (EPP).

The moist electrode consists of a small cup containing a plug of cotton wool soaked in saline (sometimes alcohol is used). This is run lightly over the skin until a high reading is seen on the meter i.e. this area of low resistance, high conductivity allows current to flow. An increase of 20-50 uA is expected. As in other forms of electro acupuncture practice is required to achieve consistent results. Too much pressure or repeated checking of a point can change the electrical properties of the skin in that area and lead to error. Computerised measuring Ryodoraku units are available in Japan. These give a steady 3g electrode pressure to the skin.

This EPP can then be located exactly by using the fine probe in the two or three headed point locater on the Ryodoraku unit.

Nakatani discovered that the number of electro permeable points not only varied with any disease process but also with the voltage of the detector probe. Most of the traditional acupoints could be located if a 21 volt circuit was used. However if a 12 volt circuit was used, there were other electrically conductive points over the body, not associated with any specific acupuncture points. He called these Responsive Ryodo-points or Reactive Electropermeable points (REPPs). These points often correspond with trigger points or Ah Shi (tender to touch) points. Nakatani theorised that they occurred along tracts of the Autonomic Nervous system and were representative of internal disorder/dysfunction and/or disease.

Nakatani showed that needling these REPP, and stimulating them for 7-10 sec with a 200uA charge would render them electrically inert and produce symptom relief. Headaches, neck aches, back aches and acute pains would often be relieved - sometimes in minutes, sometimes over several days. This is a very effective form of local or regional acupuncture but Nakatani developed it further.

Using his knowledge of the Ryodoraku pathways Nakatani formalised Ryodoraku acupuncture. He used the same concepts of the twelve paired acupuncture meridians or organ systems (Heart, lungs, triple warmer,pericardium, large intestine, small intestine on the upper limbs and gall bladder, stomach, liver,kidney, bladder and spleen on the lower limb ) and the two single midline meridians (anteriorly, Conception Vessel and posteriorly, Governing Vessel). However he did not use the classical names. He assigned the letters “H” to each of the six Ryodoraku on the upper limbs numbering them from one to six. Similarly he assigned the letter “F” to each of the six Ryodoraku on the lower limbs, numbering them from one to six. Thus H3 represented the Heart meridian on the upper limb; F6 represented the stomach meridian on the lower limb.

To further confuse the issue (at least as far as traditional acupuncturists were concerned) Nakatani did not use either the Chinese name nor the more commonly accepted, international numbering of acupuncture points. [He numbered his Ryodo points starting at the end of each limb]. Acupuncture uses the Yin-Yang energy flow concepts to number its acupuncture points. Thus energy flows outwards towards the end of a limb along one meridian and back to the trunk along another meridian i.e. the meridians are paired off. In the paired meridians Lung and Large Intestine energy starts on the trunk in the Lung meridian so L1 (the first Lung meridian acupuncture point) is on the anterior chest. The first point for the Large Intestine meridian (LI. 1) is on the index finger. In Nakatani's Ryodoraku system both H11 (the first Ryodo point on the large intestine Ryodoraku) and H51 (the first Ryodo point on the lung Ryodoraku) are on the finger tips.

Nakatani believed this was a much simpler way of representing and teaching acupuncture. No knowledge of the complex acupuncture nomenclature, philosophy and mnemonics was required. In fact a therapist theoretically did not even have to memorise the exact position of the acupuncture points. He/She could use the Ryodoraku Neurometer to locate the points.

In a further departure from traditional acupuncture Nakatani compared readings from Ryodoraku on the right side of the body with those of the same Ryodoraku on the left side of the body. If one side showed higher (or lower) reactivity than the other, he would use a specific needling procedure to bring the EPP readings to the same level. When the right and left paired Ryodoraku [eg. right and left H1 (Lung) Ryodoraku] had the same electrical reactivity, the body was balanced for that organ system.

Initially, Nakatani measured the electrical resistance of each and every EPP along a meridian, added them together and divided by the total number of EPP. This gave him an average energy value for that meridian. This was obviously very time consuming and, eventually, Nakatani discovered that there was a point on each meridian that was representative of the energy in that meridian. He named this point a Representative Measuring Point (RMP). Thus there are 24 RMP - six on each wrist and six on each foot.

These twenty four points were measured and charted on a special chart, the left side being compared with the right side for the paired meridians.

Thanks to the New Zealand Acupuncture Website for the use of this article!

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Alternative Care
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309 Bluff Avenue, # 1W
La Grange, IL   60525 (708) 352-8237

Since 8-01-1999

Updated 6-14-2019

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