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TCM Theory Made “Easy Peasy” – A Book Review of Between Heaven and Earth

Between Heaven and Earth- A Guide to Chinese Medicine is a book that doesn’t so ridiculously lack explanation that it makes the paper an utter waste. Yet, it’s not so complicated a read that you have to be an acupuncturist to understand it.  I like it!

For anyone seriously interested in learning about Chinese medicine, acupuncturists Beinfield and Korngold provide a comprehensive, though technical, look at it. Abundant use of analogies that most people can relate to and use of pictures to add a deeper level of understanding encourage a thorough reasoning of “how it works”.

In one chapter you can answer a simple questionnaire and chart your “constitution” which will give you an accurate estimate of your inherent strengths and weaknesses- physically, psychologically and emotionally. How valuable is that? You can easily determine what illnesses you may be prone to, what your likes or dislikes are and how they affect your life, and what emotions you are most likely to have a hard time dealing with.

There is a whole chapter titled “Culinary Alchemy” dedicated to using food as medicine.  Furthermore, it is explained that,”Who we are determines what is most beneficial for us to eat.”

This sounds an awful lot like the popular adage “You are what you eat.”

The authors have included useful information on using Chinese patent medicines and herbal formulas for common health problems.

Beinfield and Korngold stress that the models of Eastern and Western medicine are significantly different… so are methods, treatment and outcomes. It is clearly explained that the goal of Chinese medicine is to adjusts the body’s balance to enhance self-healing while Western medicine, in contrast, stresses suppressing and eliminating pathological phenomena, and managing illness in crisis situations.

This is not a book you necessarily have to read from beginning to end. You can casually open to any point in the book and begin reading at your leisure and discover something you’d like to know about Chinese Medicine. Many practitioners of Chinese Medicine have this book. As a practitioner of TCM, I open this book from time to time and rediscover information that is relevant to my clients and my practice. Between Heaven and Earth makes for an excellent reference.

Title: Between Heaven and Earth- A Guide to Chinese Medicine
Authors: Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D.
Published by: Ballantine Books