My first impression of this book was its size. You get a lot of book for a very reasonable price, especially considering the amount of information and the significant work involved in translating such a specialist piece of work. In the author’s preface he explains how the text developed from a focus on Western medicine and the time it took to interpret the biomedical ideas into Chinese medical terms. He points out that Chinese medicine is limited in its ability to assess musculoskeletal disorders, as most relate simply to qi and blood stagnation, the function of the nervous system is largely not covered by Chinese medical theory, and Chinese medicine lacks the accurate technical language offered by other forms of conventional physical therapy. As Dr. Lu explains, however, this does not invalidate Chinese medicine as an effective modality to treat these disorders.
The text is organised into seven chapters which cover the whole of the body in sequence: chapter one deals with disorders of head and the neck; chapter two with disorders of trunk; chapters three and four with upper and lower limb conditions; in chapter five cranial nerve disorders are discussed and chapter six tackles nervous system disorders; finally, chapter seven covers disorders that cause pain but do not have a clear diagnosis. A good understanding of anatomy and Western medical theory is required to use this book to its full potential. Extensive anatomical illustrations and Western medical descriptions for the 127 conditions covered are supported by Chinese patterns and point prescriptions. This dual analysis forges a relationship between Western and Chinese medical thinking, facilitating both Western and Chinese Medicine practitioners in their clinical practice. Dr. Lu also includes clinical observations based on his years of experience that put the complex musculoskeletal conditions into a TCM context, and explain why particular point prescriptions are used for specific conditions. In addition, condition-specific anatomical illustrations and simple line-drawings of acupuncture point locations are supported by 138 photographic plates showing point locations and needle insertion. The photographic plates are clinically very useful as reference - line drawings and illustrations can be too theoretical and do not take into consideration how a needle interacts with a real person. Most of the plates are clear and easy to interpret, although it can sometimes be difficult to see the needles against the skin. Musculoskeletal acupuncture relies on skilful needle technique and proper needling depth to achieve good results. Dr. Lu manages to convey this by describing points in a tabular form indicating the correct needle gauge, insertion technique, depth (with photographic illustration), expected needling sensation and appropriate cautions.
Seventy case histories by Dr. Lu and his colleagues usefully illustrate how theory is put into practice. They also highlight the vast difference between working as an acupuncturist in the private sector in the UK and hospital-based practice in China. Dr. Lu always treats his patients daily, with a course of treatment consisting of between six and ten daily treatments. After a course of treatment the patient is reassessed, and after a few days break another course of daily treatments may be administered. In the UK - even if working in an NHS-funded clinic - it is not feasible to treat on a daily basis; certainly in private practice it is usually not financially viable for the average patient to pay for daily treatment. Such differences - where one is only able to see a patient once or twice a week - make prognosis of these complicated conditions difficult. The main complaint and clinical history of the cases are described thoroughly, then pattern identification, treatment principles and point prescriptions that are easy to understand and apply, as well as clearly illustrated. Needles are retained for 40 minutes for every treatment, often with cupping therapy to follow for one minute on the main acupuncture points. I have personally found that needle retention of 40 minutes is quite long. Although some patients find that longer treatments help them to relax, some find that it subsequently makes them feel quite stiff. The addition of cupping for one minute after treatment has been a useful addition to my practice and produces good results.
This book has a wide remit and comprehensively covers its chosen subject in terms of biomedicine, Chinese medicine and anatomy; it even has an appendix covering the location of the acupuncture points used. Dr. Lu has written a book that any practitioner who is interested in musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders will find useful, not only for treating the conditions commonly seen in clinic, but also for more complex or rare cases. With this book both novice and experienced clinician will be able to tackle a variety of challenging disorders. As one turns the last page after working through the 127 different conditions, one realises that if one is fortunate to have 30 years of clinical practice ahead, this book will be invaluable as a reference.
|Number Of Pages||610|