A Pointed Question

So… do you think vampires are affected by acupuncture?

Long story short. In the book Ancient Inventions, there’s a section on ancient medicine, of which acupuncture is one field that’s been around a while. It has some diagrams that were originally done by Wang Weiyi.

Who is the main character in this movie, Master of Needles.

The movie is relatively slow-moving but still pretty cool; we get to see ancient medicine, politics, and a sane if sometimes strained husband and wife relationship that has a happy ending. I give the movie particular props for reflecting the mindset of a guy who’s so nerdily into his study of medicine that he misses the politics moving around him until it’s almost too late to survive.

…Mind, I saw the political trap one minister laid for him as soon as it was set out, but I have an odd habit of reading all kinds of historical tidbits, including certain laws on coinage in the various empires. A dedicated doctor honestly might not have known.

So the movie’s interesting in and of itself. But poking around the subject leads to further interesting facts. For example, that acupuncture is done differently in China, Korea, and Japan, for one; I’m still reading up on details but apparently Chinese acupuncture tends to use larger needles, Japan does more work on the scalp, and the Korean form may also poke in various herbal medicines and bee venom. (Which is a verified treatment for some kinds of arthritis, which is a real problem when you spend your life doing heavy-lifting kinds of work like farming or swinging swords.)

Here’s one potentially interesting bit for fantasy writers: China used silver needles. Korea, however, tended to use copper. Given the common monster vulnerabilities in fiction, this is important.

So. Are vampires affected by acupuncture, or acupressure? Could a skilled martial artist take one down with pressure point jabs, thus evening the odds between supernatural strength and mere mortals? How about a werewolf? Other monsters?

After all, in the original Dracula, Van Helsing was a medical doctor. Who’s to say doctors in other times and places weren’t also monster hunters?

(Yes, this is part of an Idea….)


35 thoughts on “A Pointed Question

  1. I believe that acupuncture works on the nervous and lymphatic systems, so it would depend on what vampirism does to the body and itโ€™s systems.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. At the same time, though, supernaturally (re-)animated or not, the body’s construction is still grounded in biology and physics, with only so many variations available on just how that construction can be accomplished. This creates metaphorical “chokepoints” that can be exploited readily enough, with the right knowledge.

      (Heck, not just biology, but fighting too! No amount of supernatural strength can change how joints bend, after all, so I would think a grappling hold would be just as effective against a vampire as any regular human.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess the question here is “how does acupuncture work, and do vampires have that” versus “is acupuncture a magical act, or a symbolic act that can be used for magic stuff”?

    Acupoints do seem to be useful nerve clusters for doing things (although maybe not exactly as defined), and presumably vamps still have nerves, unless they just are run as demonic energy puppets, or illusionary fallen angel forms.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wouldn’t think they would work on vampires in a setting like A Net of Dawn and Bones, since the vampire-demon is like you say a puppet being operated from Hell, though I am willing to be corrected on that.
      But a lot of other setting they should. Even in the settings where vampires are physically closer to reanimated corpses a la zombies, the slightly-decayed-but-now reanimated muscle tissue will still need leverage on the bones and counterpressure on each other in order to operate. Even if they are not the same spots as on a living human, even without a nervous system, there will be spots where, if struck, the muscle or connective tissue should give way if struck right with fingers, needles, tonfa, etc. If anything, the stronger the monster, the more effective it should be since the forces that are getting disrupted are greater (though it might require more force or at least a harder/stronger striking object. So for super strong monsters, maybe combat acupuncutre, for weaker monster combat acupressure might do?) I might be a dork for this, but I am picturing a granny with long combat acupuncture needles poking a giant werewolf and his own muscles spasming and breaking his own bones, a la Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures changed to a grannie with needles.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yeah. Sometimes there is no turning the tables.
        And there is something to be said for not revealing within the story how things work, to keep an air of mystery and/or awe and wonder (even horror, if that is your thing.) But the author definitely needs to know the limits, and usually needs to know the mechanics in some fashion as well.
        This reminds me of a short story a friend of mine got published in the Cirsova e-zine, where the shoggoth is only killable if you can find the main nerve cluster in the ever-shifting amorphous body, which the protag only knows because he was a servitor for a true, cthonic Great Old One whose library had lots of… interesting things it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. ‘S a pretty good story. The protag is only able to leave his Great Old One master because the thing decided to will itself to death for the fourth of fifth time, after a few million years of life this time around.
        But, yeah. Adopted into the thing’s household after being given as a sacrificial infant to appease the cthonic being (I think.) Only to be let loose later because the incomprehensible horror died again.
        Then thrown into a pit with a wild shoggoth by the first humans he meets in his living memory.
        Rollicking fun. Still a better way to retire from a career than many people in today’s world get.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_of_the_Dragon

    An utterly cheeseball movie, but the cinematic visuals of Jet Li using Combat Acupuncture are somewhat apropos to the topic under discussion.

    Hm… when a human is turned vampire, how does that change their acu-points? And what hilarity ensues when an amateur acupuncturist finds an Ancient Scroll of pressure points and techniques and uses it on the wrong type of patient?

    Acupuncture needles are definitely more concealable than a wooden stake, but require getting even more Up Close And Personal. Not to mention even more accurate. …how accurate can you make a blowgun?

    “A shotgun firing silver and copper flechette rounds? This is what you get when rednecks start hunting vampires.”

    …soft body armor doesn’t stop needles. So if your more “hip and modern” vamps start wearing kevlar underwear to protect against hunters using hollowpoint bullets packed with sawdust soaked in holy water….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. As to “how accurate can you make a blowgun”… it depends on how concealable the blowgun. I have seen demonstrations of hitting a small bird mid-flight at around 200′ with a blowgun, but that blowgun was something like 12′ long itself. And at under 30′, I’ve seen demonstrations of using a 6′ long blowgun to hit a moving fly mid-flight. So potentially great accuracy (even enough for accupuncture), but not with actually easily concealable blowguns (and no, using it as a walking staff would not work, since it’d ruin the blowgun. well, unless it was metal, but then it’s not concealable for other reason).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ve had a blowgun of walking stick proportions before, and I think that, with some ingenuity, it could be done.
        It would, however, take a lot of skill, ingenuity, experimentation, and time, which means it would be EXPENSIVE. Masters or grandmasters, perhaps, but not the apprentices could have such a thing. Unless they were from a very wealthy family or inherited one.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. An intricately decorated metal tube, with closable ports for mouth and dart, opened only when the walking stick is gripped like a blowgun, or perhaps when the grip is twisted… an extendable mouthpiece, blossoming like a metal flower as the ports open under the user’s rapid motions to prepare to fire on the oncoming evil…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I did note that if it was metal, it may be possible. It’s just, that’d also not really fit the point of being concealable that post I was responding to was suggesting. It sounded like SkyeFire was talking about those little (plastic toy) 1-3 foot long blowguns that fire needle-sized darts, instead of the large hunting/war blowguns. My comment was that I had seen actual demonstrations proving the requisite levels of precision, accuracy, and range, _are_ technically possible… but not simultaneously with it being concealable like those tiny toys. The precision and range are directly related to the size of the blowgun, so those concealable ones are basically not good for hitting even a human-sized target in general much past 20′, let alone hitting accupuncture-sized targets on a human, while a blowgun large enough to do so is not going to be really concealable as anything other than a weapon. Even your description just sounds like a different type of weapon when “concealed”, rather than “not a weapon at all, or at least not visible”. Especially if extending the premise of the question to fit the greater point of Vathara’s post, where it’s either going to be in ancient times (and thus the means to conceal it as you describe are either going to be unlikely, or unnecessary), or modern times (where while the means to make it may be available, even just “a fancy walking stick” will often get you accused of carrying weapons and thus cause you trouble (that happened to me, even tho I live in a state where the state supreme court explicitly ruled that our state constitution makes it perfectly valid to carry open-carry any weapon in public without a license, so long as it cannot be concealed)).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So here’s a hilarious image.

    The Evil Vampire is stalking the night, preying on innocent people.
    The Acupuncturist is grabbed, in desperation he pokes the vampire to paralyze it, and it works.

    Then the Acupuncturist thinks “Hey, the Vampire will heal from any mistakes I make, I can use this as a training dummy!”

    Then the Vampire Hunter comes after rumors of someone gathering large quantities of blood, and finds a vampire, pinned to a board like a butterfly, begging him for help from the mean old acupuncturist.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. I’m pretty sure both Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing could qualify as a pair of Sparks, if perhaps a bit (considerably) more moral and self controlled (when Wei Wuxian is considered thoughtful and self controlled, most everyone else in the cultivational world is screaming in horror).

        …Does that make Wen Ning a minon turned very odd Jaeger (He needs A Hat if that’s the case)? Pretty sure in the GG world, if Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing were sparks, that would have resulted in the mother of all custody battles over Wen Ning if they hadn’t collectively decided to claim each other as siblings. Still might result in alternating moments of relatively friendly Sibling Rivalry and Sibling Mine.

        I’m also pretty sure that the Burial Mounds got hella strange(er) after they and the Defan Wen moved in…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Dakota Krout has a side character in his Reductionist series, who is a combat chiropractor named Jaxom. He also put his charisma stats so low that people misunderstand everything he says, so he’s kinda terrifying.

      And when he got pets, it got even more terrifying.


    1. Pretty much!

      …Just so you know the idea this ties in with has got a bunch of weirdness accumulating in the background. Along the lines of, “Okay, if we have humans in two parallel worlds, and they are standard humans, with the same laws of physics as baseline, why are the people in one world capable of magic and people in mundane Earth not? Yet isekai’d victims have the possibility of learning it?”

      ATM this includes an interstellar/comet/Lovecraftian explanation for where the capability for magic came from, and any returnees to regular Earth are likely to be quarantined….


  5. Sometimes traps work as dramatic irony.

    I read one book where the clues to the dreadful secret of a character clicked half way through. It still worked, because the instant the question was answered, there was another: when will this other character try to kill her for it?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. In JoJo, vampires can be created by acupuncture.

    Seriously, that is the mechanism by which the stone mask creates vampires.

    The Pillar Men created the stone mask, to create vampires, in order to eat the vampires.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s JoJo.

        It started as a Shonen Jump series, keeps/kept being rebooted into an arc with a new cast, and eventually got moved to a Seinen magazine.

        It is a bit weird.


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