The Acupuncturist's Guide to Conventional Medicine, Second Edition

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Offering a systematic comparative approach to Western and Eastern medicine, this unique textbook enables students and practitioners of Chinese medicine to develop a core understanding of conventional medical language and treatments.

Acupuncture practitioners increasingly find themselves working alongside Western healthcare professionals. Now in its second edition, this book is a guide to conventional medical diagnoses, symptoms and treatments, and using examples drawn from the author's experience and knowledge of TCM it encourages reflection on how these diagnoses may be interpreted from a more holistic medical perspective. It includes introductory sections on physiology, pathology and pharmacology, chapters devoted to the physiological systems of the body and the conventional approach to the treatment of diseases that can affect them, and information on dealing with patients in practice.

Accompanying online material, including self-testing questions and answers and checklists for revision, is available for those wishing to use the text for systematic study.

As a teacher of biomedical science to acupuncturists, I appreciate that this subject is not always a favourite of students, and for a minority can be overwhelming. This book was born from clinical and teaching practice - from the need to teach students to integrate their thinking, to dovetail the Eastern and Western paradigms into some sort of synthesis, and to ensure that practitioners meet the needs of their patients safely and effectively. The first edition of the guide, published in 2011, was written between 2005-8, and so needed updating. The practice of biological medicine has continued to evolve clinically in this ten year period. The pressure for nurses, doctors and our allied health professionals to keep up to date is unyielding. Continual research influences and alters treatments and clinical guidance, along with our comprehension and views of both health and pathologies. Progress is unstoppable. Conversely, the author points out that Chinese medicine is relatively steady and dependable, and as old as the biomedicine is new. But she has made improvements here too, paying more attention to thoroughly sourcing and referencing the relevant Chinese medical patterns to source texts.

 The most obvious result of the review is the title change, about which I had to ask the author. In the first edition of the text (The Complementary Therapist's Guide to Conventional Medicine) the author wanted to appeal to the wider complementary therapy community. However, she felt that this remit was too broad, and her knowledge of some other therapies was not sufficient to warrant the broader title. So now the focus is specific and tailored to our needs as acupuncturists, using our language and abbreviations. The format and layout of second edition is recognisable, but a summary of the differences is:
 • There is now easy access to current warning features or 'Red Flags' in a table format in the appendix, so there is no need to purchase an additional book as was required before.
• The biomedical science has been reviewed and brought up to date with current practice.
• There is an obvious increase in the information on the energetics of medicines, which results from the increased understanding that accompanies extensive experience. (Prior to using this book, my only source had been Gascoigne's Prescribed Drug Guide: An Holistic Perspective, which could presumably use an update in terms of current prescribing trends). A fabulous new development offered by Singing Dragon is study materials in the form of short answer questions, and online colour photos for those who wish to use the book as the basis for self- or college-based study. The highlights of this text are:
• It offers a structured, up-to-date summary of clinical medicine in language chosen to be accessible to acupuncturists.
• It gives a systematic approach to understanding pathological processes and recognised diseases in terms of Chinese medicine.
• It has a section devoted to the energetic effects of medical treatments, together with numerous examples of how this can be used to interpret the actions of specific drugs.
• It has a detailed summary of red flag symptom and signs and also guidance on how to respond to them in practice.  

 My verdict? Every acupuncturist's bookshelf should have a copy. Whether you are trained in any biomedical subjects or not, the ease of accessibility of having this expert information on both Eastern and Western medicine at your fingertips is priceless. This second edition will be welcomed with open arms by acupuncturists and biomedical practitioners alike.

Annie Walker


'This book is the main Conventional Medical Sciences textbook we use at the College of Integrated Medicine for our students. There is no other textbook to touch it in terms of its clarity. It offers a "translation" of Western medical disease descriptions into Chinese medical terms and also provides a summary of 'Red Flags' of diseases for use in the clinic situation. It is also relevant for any practitioner of complementary medicine as its layout and terminology makes it such an easy book to use in order to understand from a Western medicine point of view the problems one's patients encounter. I cannot recommend it highly enough.'
- Peter Mole, Dean of the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine

'Clare Stephenson has achieved what many others have failed to do in providing a thorough, but clear and accessible, description of aspects of Conventional Medicine which every acupuncture practitioner should know about. She has used her in-depth knowledge of both Conventional and Chinese Medicine, as well as years of clinical experience in both disciplines, to create an informative, fascinating and ultimately practical book.'
- Rebecca Avern, Traditional Acupuncturist and Senior Lecturer at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine

More Information
Author Clare Stephenson
Publication Date 21 Apr 2017
Publisher Singing Dragon
Number of Pages 872
Book Format Hardback
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