I'm not complaining, but I have to say this has been quite a tough book to review. For a start it has a fair amount of gravitas (0.7 kg to be precise), weighty with the ink and thoughts of a whole bunch of interesting minds. Such a substantial contribution to our literature demands close examination, although encompassing a book with the diversity of Energy Medicine East and West (EMEW) in few words is some task.
EMEW consists of 25 chapters contributed by 30 authors under the editorial hand of David Mayor (author of another heavyweight Elsevier title – Electroacupuncture) and the prolific US author Professor Marc S. Micozzi. Each of the contributors presents a completely different angle on the great big questionmark that we sum up in the word qi. Part of my solution to the problem of giving JCM readers a sense of the substantial compass of this work is to set down a few keywords that describe each chapter, as follows (see table below).
This may be reductio ad absurdum, but it serves to provide you with an overview of the content of EMEW and the varied interests of the contributors. Knowing this book was in the pipeline I was expecting to see the usual suspects brought into play and it was therefore refreshing to find that the majority of contributors were unknown to me. I guess this is a measure of my ignorance and failure to keep up as, on reading the book, I find there are even more smart cookies involved in our profession than I had previously imagined.
Stylistically the tone is variable - most chapters are moderately academic without being bone-crushingly so. One way to measure this is by reference to references: a few contributors give only a handful whilst others provide a megalist of sources. David Mayor's chapter wins, giving an impressive 261 sources for his 22-page contribution.
EMEW covers a lot of ground - the subject matter and the great diversity of contributor knowledge combine to create a veritable smorgasbord of material. The appeal of individual chapters will surely vary according to each reader's own personal beliefs and style of thinking. Studying and practising Oriental medicine, traditional doctrine and come to hold beliefs and personal prejudices that can diverge significantly from those of our colleagues. My guess is that some readers will love some parts and reject others but inevitably, in the process, get exposed to some interesting ideas and new ways of understanding qi. Sometimes a perverse pleasure can be found in having our personal set ways of thinking stretched a little - in my case it was some of the research on healing that expanded my mental boundaries.
As the bloom of youth now begins to fade, I find myself irritated by the desire to invoke quantum physics and Einstein in support of all things complementary and alternative. With respect, we are not practising acupuncture at the speed of light, in neutron stars or on Schrödinger's cat, so much of what is written in this area is plain nonsense. It was therefore refreshing - and an eye-opener to me to read some sensible, measured and articulate discussions from quantumminded EMEW contributors such as F. David Peat.
Another highpoint for me was the chapter by Ives and Jonas who report some of their laboratory studies on healing. They describe their experiments that provide compelling (and scientifically baffling) evidence for a healer's ability to alter calcium ion influx into human T lymphocytes. They found that the effect of the healers' hands lingered on the lab bench for a while after he had left the building, and that the effect worked over distances of a few feet but did not work over long distances. They also report results of systematic reviews of healing therapies such as Reiki, and briefly describe their studies measuring photon emissions from human subjects. This is pretty weird science conducted by people who don't themselves appear to be especially weird - in fact they seem pretty level-headed and science-savvy. Interesting stuff.
By the end of the book it dawned on me that something was missing. A truism in Chinese and oriental medicine is that, to gain true understanding, we should first study the source texts. All that follows, through the explorations of generation after generation is refinement, ornament and often obfuscation that, although useful, tends to obscure the purity of the original idea. If ever there was an iconic example of this it must surely be the concept of qi. If ever there was a topic in Oriental medicine that requires a careful appraisal of the origins of the concept of qi in Zhanguo (Warring States Period) China and its root meanings amongst the shi-scholars, the Daoists and cloud-watchers of that time, it is this. So whilst the editors of EMEW are to be congratulated for gathering together the thoughts of some great contributors from around the world, I can think of one or two more (such as Oxford's Elizabeth Hsu) who might have added illuminating insights on the original meaning of the concept of qi. However, when one looks at how much interesting stuff has been packed into this book, it not a fatal flaw. Mayor and Micozzi's EMEW provides us with some wonderfully diverse writings on qi from multiple perspectives and from some fine thinkers. I am not aware of any other text that fills this fascinating niche.
Foreword Preface Acknowledgements Contributors Abbreviations
SECTION 1 THE ETHNOMEDICINE OF ENERGY - A GLOBAL VIEW 1. Qi in Asian medicine 2. Flows and blockages in Rwandan ritual and notions of the body 3. Elemental souls and vernacular qi: some attributes of what moves us.
SECTION 2 QI IN CHINESE MEDICINE 4. The anatomical foundations of qi 5. Qi in Chinas traditional medicine: the example of tuina 6. Qi cultivation in qigong and taiji quan 7. Qigong theory and research.
SECTION 3 THEORY AND EXPERIMENT IN QI RESEARCH 8. The language of qi, quantum physics and the superimplicate body 9. Qi and the frequencies of bioelectricity 10. Systems theory: trapping and mapping healing with qi 11. The physiology of qi.
SECTION 4 QI AND ENERGY MODALITIES IN CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE 12. Energy and medicine 13. What does it mean to practice an energy medicine? 13.1 Experiencing qi 13.2 Thinking about qi and acupuncture 14. Evidencing energy: experiences in acupuncture and therapeutic bodywork (Zero Balancing) 15. Eight modalities for working with qi: chakra acupuncture, with qigong, meditation and the five sources of energy 16. Ki in shiatsu 17. Bioelectrity and qi: a microcurrent approach 18. Energy psychology: working with mind-body synergy 19. Craniosacral biodynamics.
SECTION 5 CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF QI AND ENERGY-BASED MODALITIES 20. Qi in children 21. Qigong, taiji quan (tai chi) and HIV: the psychoneuroimmunology connection 22. Energy-based therapies in neurology: the example of Therapeutic Touch 23. Qi in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia 24. The electrical heart: energy in cardiac health and disease.
SECTION 6 CONCLUSION 25. Themes of qi and a dozen definitions: content analysis and discussion Glossary: a vocabulary of qi References Index
|Author||David Mayor and Marc Micozzi|
|Number Of Pages||420|