Review: The Foundations of Chinese Medicine

Review: The Foundations of Chinese Medicine

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

It is an incredible accomplishment to read and translate ancient Chinese medical texts and then present your work to the world. There is bound to be intense scrutiny, and even some misdirected blame when the philosophy is so foreign from our western thinking.

Giovanni's The Foundations of Chinese Medicine was one of the first real Chinese medicine texts I studied, besides perhaps The Web That Has No Weaver, and some books by Daniel Reid. While there has been complaints over Maciocia's translations and wordiness... I still feel it is one of the the best English texts on TCM, and should be required reading for anyone serious about learning the landscape of Chinese medicine.

Yes, there are other good books on the foundations of Chinese medicine, but Giovanni does an amazing job of systematically walking us through concepts that are inherently difficult for the western mind to grasp. The book covers Yin Yang, 5 elements, vital substances, Qi, the internal organs, causes of disease, diagnosis, TCM patterns, Acupuncture, and treatment. The material is very well organized, the diagrams are excellent, and most of the book is a joy to read.

I have seen more than one Chinese practitioner scoff after reading a passage in the book, but I've also seen many students gain incredible knowledge from ancient wisdom that would not otherwise be available. While I do believe there are translations or interpretations where Maciocia over extends his creative license, I also feel it brings about good debate, and ultimately a better understanding of the material.

While Giovanni can be verbose and repetitive at times, when I go back and reread sections of the book... I feel it is clear, well written, and the right amount of content. And, as far as personal preference, I find I like the translated terms and writing style in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine better than other author's.

As a last note, the index of the book that so many people complained about has been fixed. It will no longer lead you to pages unrelated to your search.

Go check out "The Foundations of Chinese Medicine "...

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