Reviewer:Jacob Gerlitz, MS, LAc, RN(Pace University)
Description:This Chinese medical diagnosis and treatment book on COPD and asthma includes unique treatment modalities and integrative medical discussions.
Purpose:The authors wrote this book to introduce Western healthcare practitioners to the Chinese medical theory of diagnosis and treatment of discreet disease entities and offer specific therapeutic treatment methods not found in current Western TCM texts. The authors also hope that it will serve as a catalyst to move Western healthcare providers toward the closer patient-carer collaboration that is a hallmark of the Chinese medical system. The authors succeed in providing a well rounded, rich discussion of Chinese Medicine.
Audience:This book is appropriate for professional students and practitioners of TCM. The authors feel that this book is also valuable to biomedical physicians, but because the TCM information presented in this book and the series is technical it will be of limited use to someone lacking a strong theoretical background in TCM. The editorial team for this series — The Second Teaching Hospital of Guangzhou University of CM (also known as Guangdong Provincial Hospital of TCM) - is made up of authorities in the field of TCM.
Features:The information is presented beautifully, and the book has many valuable, unique features. Each disease entity is thoroughly discussed and includes sections on herbal treatments, home remedies (many are interesting, simplified herbal concoction prepared as congees), herbal enemas, and external plasters. A wide variety of acupuncture treatments are detailed,including not only traditional meridian acupuncture, but also pottery needling, plum-blossom, blood-pricking, ocular acupuncture, point-embedding therapy, scalp acupuncture, tongue-pricking therapy and physical therapy techniques such as tui na and gua sha. Also included are excellent discussions by famous physicians, case studies, empirical formulas and a unique section titled "perspectives of integrative medicine" which presents challenges and possible solutions by integrating Western and TCM treatments. The authors even scour classical texts to find quotes that pertain to the disease discussed (written in Chinese characters with English translation) and a selection of Chinese clinical research reports (including references). While Western medical textbooks would not include home and simplified treatments, these lead to a deeper level of integration and patient involvement in a TCM book.
Assessment:The book is a pleasure to read and has great value in clinical practice and as a teaching aid. The book makes good use of fonts, charts, and color to make reading easy and enjoyable (and aids in flipping through the pages to find handy tidbits). Although geared towards TCM and not designed for quick clinical reference, the book is valuable for readers who want to achieve expertise in a particular subject — which leads to the biggest criticism. While I recommend this book, it should not be used as a western medical reference. The Western disease explanations, while written well, are basic and simplified, lacking the robustness needed to properly explain the pathophysiology, instruct a TCM provider on how to perform a proper exam, and initiate a professional discussion with a biomedical healthcare provider. The pharmacological advice does not conform to current treatment guidelines. For example, the book recommends theophylline (a methylxanthine) for mild attacks. Currently this medication is a third line treatment, due to a slew of side effects, and requires close monitoring of blood levels. Readers wishing to spend time to study a disease entity in depth should invest in a proper primary care level textbook such as Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th Edition, Fauci et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2008), or Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2008, 47th Edition, McPhee et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2008), or if in need of quick, reliable information in a clinic, UpToDate (uptodate.com) or The 5-Minute Consult 2009, 17th Edition (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008) (or read the latest national guidelines at http://www.guidelines.gov/).