≡ Book Reviews ≡
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture – A Systems Approach is a breakthrough
By ZHAO, Shensheng, PhD

     It is well known that science means reducibility, reproducibility, and predictability. In certain fields, various correlated phenomena could be reduced into a model or a theory; based on theory and its methodology, others should reproduce same expected results. Moreover, certain related but unclear mechanisms can be explained, and even unknown phenomena can be predicted. That is science! These criteria posed enormous challenges to the ancient theory and practice of classical acupuncture. Some phenomena related to acupuncture were reduced into yin and yang and meridians (jingluo) theories, in which qi, a kind of energy stream, flows through meridians that are composed of acupoints on the body surface. Under such theories, the reproducibility and predictability of acupuncture therapy are questionable. However, this book, Contemporary Medical Acupuncture – A Systems Approach is a breakthrough. The authors, Dr. Guan-Yuan Jin and his collaborators, have initiated and led this revolution.

      First, based on the knowledge of modern science and contemporary medicine, combining their 39 years of clinical expertise and research accomplishments, the authors have proposed a new concept of Whole Body Reflex Zones to replace meridians.  This key concept has built a bridge between medical theories and practices in the West and East while creating a very natural connection between the ancient meridian system and contemporary recognition about physiological and pathological functions of the human body.  Moreover, it inherited the rational but eliminated unscientific components of classical meridian theory, and further paved a scientific platform for global discussion and exchange in the field of acupuncture.

      Secondly, based on the systems and information theories as well as cybernetics, the authors proposed a new approach or methodology to deal with the acupuncture process. Black box, not new in computer science or in engineering fields, is actually proper and innovative in dealing with the incredibly complex human body, as well as the coupling system between patients and doctors. Let us consider the following facts: the human body has not changed significantly in the past 40,000 to 50,000 years; our body consists of roughly 50 trillion cells, each cell has a order of 1013 components, many of which are proteins. In order to simulate the activity of a single protein, even using a computer of speed 1015 calculations per second, it would take several months. Black boxes always exist in our body no matter how deeply recognitions about the body are progressing.

      Thirdly, authors have explicitly pointed out indications, effectiveness, and the limitation of classical acupuncture. Indeed, in the ancient acupuncture therapy, there are many uncertainties coexisting with its scientific core, as well as some ambiguous terminologies, classical literature flavors, philosophic explanations, superstitions, or fictional stories. This book has ‘filtered’ and ‘thrown away’ all the ‘garbage” portions and given classical acupuncture a fresh, objective position in contemporary medical field.

      I am proud of the authors’ contribution to the global community. They have applied an internationally acceptable and simple language to describe and express acupuncture theories and practice, which is indeed a very firm, important and significant step.


(Prof. ZHAO, Shensheng, PhD, Computer Science Professor at Governors State University, IL, 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