JCM ReviewThe UK-based publishing house Singing Dragon has produced a new series of books aimed at students that cover basic theories, diagnostics, acupuncture points and even qigong. Although modest in size, these texts are packed with information. Whilst at times they offer a more superficial approach than their peers (such as Maciocia’s Foundations or Deadman et al’s Manual), such depth of knowledge is not necessarily required on a daily basis, and in terms of portability and cost (one can buy the series for the price of a single of the larger books) they make themselves serious contenders for the college bags of students of Chinese medicine.
In their preface the authors promise a unique blend of experience, rooted in their 30 years of international acupuncture teaching. Both texts begin with a brief historical outline of Chinese medicine theory and, although limited, this offers an insight into the origins of TCM. The mention of some of the great contributors to Chinese medicine - Ye Tianshi, Zhu Danxi, Li Gao or Liu Wansu – is appreciated, and provides a glimpse into the development and evolution of the medicine.
In terms of content, the series undoubtedly feels like course material, and is written in clear English with no unnecessarily complex vocabulary that might confuse the novice. In terms of visual presentation, other than the obligatory yin-yang and five-phase diagrams, assistance is limited to a few flow diagrams, which may disappoint more visually-oriented learners. This drawback is largely compensated for by the consistent use of clear tables that facilitate both learning and quick reference.
Despite the drawbacks of the simplification inherent in such texts, some of the chapters are excellent. The chapter on emotions and elements in Basic Theories, for example, is particularly good, as is the chapter on bianzheng in the Diagnostics volume. The chapters on pulse and tongue are also well-written, and designed for quick navigation to allow mere seconds to access, for example, the description and significance of a tense pulse or a grey tongue coating. As such the texts work well together: Basic Theories lays down a solid foundation and Diagnostics builds on this knowledge with practical and clinically-useful information.
The biggest challenge of this series of texts is language. As with most English-language Chinese medicine texts, the use of a correct and consistent system of correspondence is problematic. These texts make no mention of which system has been adopted, and whilst the use of pinyin for some terms facilitates understanding one can only regret the decision to omit Chinese characters entirely. The one positive aspect is that by using their own system of translation, the authors create original translations. Thus with wider reading the accumulated differences across different texts can give Western readers a deeper understanding of the original concept if compared to using a single, standardised system.
These texts offer simple, portable, concise and well-structured information that is consistent with the TCM literature already available. On occasion, refreshingly original insights come from the teaching experience of the authors. Whilst this series does not necessarily offer an educational panacea, it may just offer what is missing on the market – an affordable, accurate and accessible series of texts written specifically for a Western mindset and understanding. If the rest of this series of textbooks are as good as the two reviewed here, Singing Dragon textbooks will definitely become part of the recommended reading of Chinese medicine courses; students in the early stages of their TCM studies or those that require a fresh angle or portable material for revision should certainly consider buying them.
Contents1. Introduction. Concept of diagnostics of TCM. Content of diagnostics of TCM. Principles of diagnostics of TCM. 2. Diagnostics. Inspection. Observation of the vitality. Observation of the colour. Observation of the appearance. Observation of the head and five sense organs. Observation of the tongue. Auscultation and olfaction. Listening. Smelling. Inquiring. Chills and fever. Perspiration. Head and body. Ears and eyes. Appetite, thirst and taste. Sleep. Stools and urine. Menses and leukorrhea. Infants. Palpation. Feeling the pulse. Palpation of different parts of the body. 3. Differentiation of Syndromes. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Eight Principles. Exterior and interior. Cold and heat. Deficiency and excess. Yin and yang. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Etiology. Differentiation of syndrome according to the theory of six exogenous factors pestilential epidemics factors. Differentiation of syndromes according to the theory of the seven emotional factors. Improper diet, overstrain, stress. Traumatic injury. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Qi, Blood and Body Fluid. Syndromes of qi, Syndromes of Blood. Syndromes of qi and blood. Syndromes of body fluid. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Zangfu Organs. Syndromes of the heart and small intestine. Syndromes of the lung and large intestine. Syndromes of the spleen and stomach. Syndromes of the liver and gallbladder. Syndromes of the kidney and urinary bladder. Complicated syndromes of zangfu organs. Differentiation of syndromes according to the Theory of Six Meridians. Taiyang Syndrome. Yangming Syndrome. Shaoyang Syndrome. Taiyin Syndrome. Shaoyin Syndrome. Jueyin Syndrome. Transmission. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Wei-defense, Qi, Ying - nutrient and Xue Blood. Weifen syndrome. Qifen syndrome. Yingfen syndrome. Xuefen syndrome. Transmission. Differentiation of Syndromes according to the Theory of Sanjiao. Syndrome of the Upper jiao. Syndrome of the Middle jiao. Syndrome of the Lower jiao. Transmission. 4. How to Write Case Report.
|Author||Zhu Bing & Wang Hongcai|
|Number Of Pages||224|