≡ Book Reviews ≡
This book will significantly advance the clinical practice of acupuncture
By Shi-Jiang LI, PhD

Acupuncture, which originated in China more than 2,000 years ago, is the most commonly used alternative medical procedure worldwide. America’s keen interest in this modality intensified in the 1970s.  During this era, New York Times reporter James Reston wrote a pivotal story about how Chinese practitioners used needles to ease his postoperative pain. Since that time, physicians and their patients have generated more inquiries about acupuncture. A 2002 comprehensive survey indicated an estimated 8.2 million of USA adults had used acupuncture, according to study sponsor National Center for Comparative and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of National Institutes of Health (NIH).  A similar national survey found that approximately one in 10 adults had received acupuncture at least one time with good results.

The potential for acupuncture is vast, as a 1997 NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture indicated.  Documented results indicate that this procedure can reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and provide analgesia during surgical procedures.  Patients with drug and nicotine addictions, stroke, asthma and pain benefit from alternative therapy. In January 2005, a NIH-funded clinical trial at the University of Maryland, Center Integrative Medicine (UMCIM), showed that acupuncture could provide pain relief, while improving the function of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Acupuncture clearly serves as an effective complement to conventional care.

International academic and clinical studies, supplemented by the contributions of acupuncturists and physicians, have generated greater acceptance of this treatment.  For this reason, NCCAM and other NIH-affiliated research institutions continue to fund a variety of research projects on acupuncture.  These efforts have received attention, not only from NIH, but also from many public or private organizations. UMCIM received $10 million federal grant in October 2005 to build two new centers to study complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), specifically acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for pain relief. The university is also forming an international collaboration with Chinese scientists to examine methods in treating bowel disorders.

Many medical schools nationwide are integrating acupuncture programs into their curricula. For example, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has initiated collaborative undertakings with Tai Sophia Institute, a CAM school in Maryland, USA.  Since that time, the primary focus of the UPenn program has been to teach medical students about holistic approaches. A number of other schools are initiating their own CAM programs or working with consultants to this end. Many faculty members and students in my school (Medical College of Wisconsin) are interested in incorporating CAM programs into their practice or curricula.

Despite the growing interest and demand for knowledge about acupuncture, there is a profound lack of availability of reference textbooks.  Dr. Guan-Yuan Jin has stepped forward to meet this need by writing “Contemporary Medical Acupuncture.” Medical students and practitioners will find this book unique in that it introduces the principles of contemporary medicine as a means of understanding the mechanisms of an ancient therapy.  It lends insight into its theoretical basis by summarizing and reviewing the advances regarding meridians and specific mechanisms. Dr. Jin concludes that the former is simply a system of physiological and pathological reflexes in the body and that acupuncture is actually a type of reflexotherapy. By utilizing the systems theory, he outlines the entire acupuncture process and the specific factors that elicit acupuncture’s therapeutic effects. The book’s emphasis on clinical applications is particularly valuable in that he provides case studies and the latest clinical trials in the West.

I believe that this book will significantly advance the clinical practice of acupuncture because its cutting-edge material will promote academic research in the area of acupuncture mechanisms.  Because of Dr. Jin’s work, and others like him, acupuncture will progress from an ancient healing art to a modern scientific therapy in the West, and across the globe.



(Prof. LI, Shi-Jiang, PhD: Professor of Biophysics and Director of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging research programs, Dept of Biophysics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, USA; Principle Investigator of grants funded by the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the National Center for Research Resources at NIH (National Institutes of Health), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House, USA.)

Books written by IIHM Doctors
Index of Book Reviews
In this book, most theories and principles proposed by the authors are creative and convincing.
By Feng LING, MD
The “Whole Body Reflex Zones”, a unique term originally coined by the authors.
By Frances Talaska Fischbach, RN, BSN, MSN
An outstanding book compared to its counterparts on acupuncture
By Dr. Xuemin Shi
A Historical Milestone in Evidence-based Acupuncture Medicine
By Yun-tao Ma, PhD
This book will significantly advance the clinical practice of acupuncture
By Shi-Jiang LI, PhD
The birth of the book fully reflects Dr. Guan-Yuan Jin’s unique background, working expertise, and ways of thinking
By Kuishan ZHENG, OMD
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture – A Systems Approach is a breakthrough
By ZHAO, Shensheng, PhD