Steven Clavey Churchill Livingstone, 2003 Hardback, 614 pages, £42.99
(Reviewed by Peter Deadman, EJOM Vol. 4 No. 6)
The first edition of this textbook appeared in 1995 and was immediately recognised as the pre-eminent work on this subject in English, as well as setting the highest standard for a clinical and theoretical text on Chinese medicine. Perhaps the only disappointment was the lack of acupuncture content, with the treatment discussions being almost exclusively herbal. Now the book has been thoroughly revised throughout, updated with new illustrations, case histories, essays and an index, and above all expanded to include a substantial section on acupuncture.
Its subject is the complete exposition of the physiology and pathology of fluids and fluid disorders. Sweating, urination, oedema, thin mucus, phlegm, damp and dampheat are covered in the greatest detail from their physiology and general pathology, to the differentiation and treatment of a host of disorders.
The subject of body fluids, and especially the differences between dampness and phlegm and the definition of different kinds of phlegm and mucus, has, in my experience, always caused difficulty among students of Chinese medicine. With its thorough explanation of basic theories, references to classical texts, clear explanations and precise clinical advice, this book offers the perfect remedy for any such confusion.
The new 65-page acupuncture section is especially welcome. Before focusing on the acupuncture treatment of a wide range of disorders, there are some fascinating introductory discussions, including acupuncture and the functional influence of yuan qi, needle and moxa technique and a wonderful contemporary essay by Drs Liu Xue-Jian and Wang-Ju-Yi on the phenomenon of channel and collateral exhaustion.
The now large body of texts on Chinese medicine includes a few gems that are ‘must-have’ books. This is very definitely one of them.
(This review first appeared in the Journal of Chinese Medicine and is published with their kind permission).
Peter Deadman Peter Deadman has been involved with Chinese medicine since 1975, as a practitioner, teacher, author and publisher of The Journal of Chinese Medicine.