As Chinese medicine becomes more popular in the Western world, more and more people are turning to alternative means to make themselves well. Acupuncture is one of the more popular aspects of Chinese medicine, with acupuncture clinics popping up all over North America. Still, some people are a bit confused as to what acupuncture is and how it works. Luckily, there are tons of English-language books on the market to help people unfamiliar with acupuncture learn what it is all about. Knowing how to find the best acupuncture books will allow you to learn, in plain language, what acupuncture is, how it works, and even provide some basic step by step acupuncture procedures.
Acupuncture Practitioners – Acupuncture Basics
The purpose of therapy using acupuncture is to make the body healthier and alleviate pain. Though it may seem strange to make the body healthier by sticking needles in it, this method is tried and tested (over the course of thousands of years) and medical studies here in America have backed up the health benefits of acupuncture therapy time and again.
The most important concepts that an acupuncturist uses when promoting healing sound a little bit New Age — you’ll hear terms like “vital energy” or “energetic balance”. Don’t let the strange nature of the terms fool you — acupuncture has helped many people maintain a healthy and pain-free life. Think of this “vital energy” the way that Western doctors think of blood — it flows through certain channels, much like nerve messages travel along nervous system pathways. Your acupuncturist will monitor the flow and distribution of things like “vital energy”. Instead of blood vessels, acupuncturists are interested in “meridians and channels”.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Best Selling Acupuncture Books
The top selling acupuncture books have a few things in common. First of all, they’re written in plain English for the layperson to understand them. The best acupuncture book should be readily available in English (and other languages) and have been peer reviewed by other acupuncture experts to make sure they’re giving you the facts.
Before you go shopping for the best acupuncture book, you need to establish what level of acupuncture understanding you’re at. There are acupuncture books for professionals, for students of acupuncture, and even for complete amateurs. Figure out what level you’re at and head out to your local bookstore.
Best Acupuncture Books for Amateurs
Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, Harriet Beinfield
This is one of the top reviewed Chinese medicine books aimed at amateurs. Easy to read, written by a Westerner, and available at book stores for less than $15, you couldn’t hope for a better introductory text. This book is also one of the better reads on this list, as it includes plenty of actual case studies from Harriet Beinfield’s practical experience and includes extensive details of various types of Chinese medicine (though the focus is on acupuncture). Some people may be put off by the fact that Beinfield rejects basically all of Western medicine, but it is the best introductory text to Chinese medicine available on Western bookshelves.
The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing, Daniel Reid
Though there is plenty of information here about acupuncture and other aspects of Chinese Medicine, some readers may be put off by the inclusion of spiritual matters, such as the tenets of Buddhism, Taoism, and even Shinto. Another qualm I have with this book — Reid seems to encourage patients to try acupuncture and Chinese medicine at home without mentioning the possible dangers. This is yet another Chinese medicine text that ignores (and even demonizes) Western medicine.
Complete Guide to Chinese Herbal Medicine, David Moloney
Though you’ll learn plenty about Chinese medicine from this text, you may feel the material’s been “dumbed down” for Western audiences, and many critics would agree with you. Still, if you want to find a basic intro to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, this title (put out by the American Association of Oriental Medicine) will fit the bill perfectly. Be careful not to follow this text’s suggestions too closely, especially the author’s insistence that you only take one Chinese herb at a time.
Best Acupuncture Books for Students and Professionals
The Web That Has No Weaver, Ted Kaptchuk
This text, a must-have for students of Chinese medicine, is more of a philosophical approach to Eastern medicine than a practical guide. This book’s got plenty of material about acupuncture practice, and is light on the “herbal remedy” aspect of Eastern medicine.
Acupuncture, Chin Cheu Hsieu
This is an English translation of an actual Chinese textbook on acupuncture, and as such it is one of the best sources of real information on acupuncture you can find. The closest thing to an education in actual Chinese medicine that you can get without spending months in China.
A Manual of Acupuncture, Peter Deadman
The best acupuncture point reference book translated into English to date. This newer book is full of detailed drawings and diagrams and is indispensable to students of acupuncture. This book contains quotes from traditional Chinese acupuncture texts, both in their original language and translated to English. If you’re studying acupuncture and Eastern medicine, this may become your most turned-to reference book.
You don’t need to be afraid of acupuncture. Sure, there are needles involved, and it may seem a bit more difficult than driving over to your doctor’s office for a prescription, but Chinese medicine has plenty to offer those of us in the Western world who prefer a “quick fix” to our health problems. The next time you’re browsing titles in your local bookstore, grab one of these acupuncture titles and keep an open mind.