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DAO of Chinese Medicine: Understanding an Ancient Healing Art (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. August 2002

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"All in all, the contribution of this book to the study of medicine is great."--Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies


Dao of Chinese Medicine is the first Western text to shed light on the reality of the ancient healing arts of China, revealing that Chinese medical theories are based on important physiological findings. This is in contrast to the Western interpretation, popularized since the 1940s and 50s, that Chinese medicine and acupuncture involve undefined energy and blood circulating through imaginary meridians.

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
The history of Chinese medicine, from its early beginnings five thousand years ago to the present, reveals a truly fascinating story. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Amazon.com: 13 Rezensionen
27 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Kenneth J.T. Li, Ph.D.,D.Sp. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As a Western-trained biochemist and a critical commentator of Chinese Medicine, I read Donald Kendall's book with keen interest. For more than two decades since the rise of popularity of acupuncture in the West, Chinese Medicine has been regarded as any other folklore medicine derived mainly from empirical experience with little scientific basis, despite the fact that it has been practiced for over two thousand years and has long been the only mainstream healthcare system in China until recent century. Even today, this healing art is still practiced as a complementary medicine in China and in overseas Chinese communities.
In recent years, the quest for herbal-based alternative medicine in the West has made Chinese Medicine increasingly appealing not only to the ordinary populace, but also to western medical professionals. This ancient healing art is said to have embraced the environmental, nutritional as well as emotional influence in its etiology and be capable of providing individualized therapies which could only be realized by the future pharmacogenomic approach.
However, to most westerners Chinese Medicine is as mysterious as the Chinese Ancient Civilization it belongs. The reasons could well be that the classical cannons of this healing art are all written in very concise and hard to understand ancient Chinese, and its underlying therapeutic principles are shrouded in the ancient Chinese worldviews of Five Phases and Yin-Yang. Furthermore, most attempts in the past to interpret the principles of Chinese medicine either do not properly recognize the ultimate consistency of its functional organ concepts with modern physiology, nor all together misunderstand its essential theories of disease etiology and balance of Yin & Yang due to inaccurate translation of the some of the critical concepts. All these have led to the misperception that Chinese medicine is a totally outdated traditional therapeutic system passed down merely by generations of empirical healing experience, with little scientific basis for verification and hard to reconcile with nowadays mainstream western medicine.
It is therefore an intellectual delight to find in Dr Kendall's new book "Dao of Chinese Medicine" a fresh interpretation of this oriental healing art in terms of modern physiology. The content of this book is logically laid-out in fifteen chapters starting from the quest for the Dao, i.e., the way, and the ancient beginning of this healing art, to the interpretation of many important concepts and principles of Chinese medicine, and finally to the different approaches in diagnosis and treatment which were adopted by the Chinese physicians over the centuries and are still practiced today.
From the start, what makes this book different from most existing English texts on Chinese medicine is that Kendall derived his source material by taking on new and more accurate translations of Huangdi Nei Jing, the most reverend cannon of Chinese medicine, and successfully demystifies the misleading idea that Chinese medicine is on based energy circulation through invisible meridians. As the readers will discover, ancient Chinese medicine is not just based on an ancient philosophy of Five Phases and Yin-Yang, but is firmly rooted in empirical physiological studies, which includes, against common customs of the time, post-mortem dissection.
... I consider Dr. Kendall's book a major achievement in introducing Chinese medicine to the West in ways even Dr. Joseph Needham could not achieve in his monumental work of "Chinese Science and Technology". With over 200 citations to more than 80 treatises of the Nei Jing, this book reveals the rational basis of this ancient healing art with modern insight which will be instrumental for future application, research and acceptance of Chinese medicine in the West. The Dao is a must read for students, practitioners of Chinese medicine as well as other health specialists and individuals who would appreciate the fascinating story of the great indigenous medicine of China.
By: Kenneth J.T. Li, Ph.D.,D.Sp.
Former Assistant Director, R&D, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong University
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A very important book 26. Oktober 2007
Von Todd Luger - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Deke Kendall proposes that the contents of the nei jing su wen are largely based upon anatomy. Yet, ironically as I read Deke, I have developed a newfound interest in classical acupuncture. While Deke may be dismissed as a reductionist, I think he is actually a great example of the trend espoused by Zhang xi chun and embodied by Jiao shu de. Maintaining the spirit of CM while integrating with the west. Deke most definitely accomplished that goal. His entire presentation of physiology and anatomy is completely from the perspective of Western Medicine serving Chinese, not vice-versa. He asserts that CM will be proven to be real just as it is written, not by scrapping large parts of the corpus to make it fit science (as the modern chinese did somewhat in their state texts). He believes every word of nei jing and he makes strong cases for pulse diagnosis and classical point selection that never made sense to me before.

Far from reducing CM to prevailing reductionistic ideas, Deke shows that there is different way of understanding the neurovascular system and its role in health and disease and the neijing details that. His model explains all the effects of acupuncture satisfactorily and he attempts to ground his ideas in a reading of the classics. Rather than reducing CM with his model, Deke has actually paved the way for EXPANDING western science to accommodate explanations of phenomena hitherto inconceivable. I think work like Deke's is exactly what leads to a paradigm shift. The structures of normal science are challenged from within and a more expansive model is developed as a result.

Anyone who thinks Deke Kendall's work is the scientization of TCM either:

1. has not read the book

2. were offended by his tone and rhetoric and thus dismissed him out
of hand

3. got lost in the scientific discussion and missed the actual subtlety and point of his thesis--which is to restore the full classical glory of acupuncture as it was conveyed in the nei jing. He uses science to ELEVATE CM, not diminish it.

Let me give an example: Many have noticed that the chinese descriptions of conception, digestion and blood formation are remarkably similar to "discoveries" made in the west hundreds of years later. This prescient grasp of physiology and anatomy (they knew the GB held bile and bladder urine, the path of the bowels, etc.) would immediately lead any rational thinker to consider whether other aspects of CM theory were actually more akin to anatomy and physiology as well.

Only a magical thinker who just assumed a priori that acupuncture was about energy and lines of flow would gloss over this issue. Knowing that known anatomical and physiological processes underly the function of the organs, how far fetched is it to say that known anatomy underlies the channel system?

I think everyone who has a more esoteric view of the channel system should ask themselves where they got this idea and what textual support there is for this point of view. Is this idea part of CM or was interjected by Americans who had preconceived notions of eastern spirituality and the apparent overlap with TCM BEFORE they ever studied CM, many of whom never gained access to chinese source material themselves to explore this supposed connection? I was such a person once upon a time and all my experiences to date have led to utter rejection of that position. This blind allegiance to the magical by so many in the field is essentially an unexamined facet of its collective professional psyche. It must be brought to the light of day or this shadow persona will be its destruction. Kendall has forced the issue and I applaud him for it.
46 von 60 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Dao that can be described is not the real Dao 2. August 2005
Von K. W. van Kooten - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As an acupuncturist and MD I am certainly interested in ideas about how acupuncture works. But I do not expect someone to tell me that his view of acupuncture is the 'true way' or therefor all other ideas about acupuncture, including the 'meridian' idea and the 'energy' idea are wrong. And that is exactly what Donald Kendall does.

Acupuncture in its various forms has always been very opportunistic in the good sense of the word: when an idea works it is a good idea (even if it is 'wrong'), if it doesn't work it is not a good idea, (even if is 'right').

So: it is very interesting to read that Chong Mai is in fact the aorta, Ren Mai the vena cava and so on, but this does not help my patients. Abolishing the concept of 'qi' as 'energy' circulating through 'meridians' certainly harms my patients, because in my practice this concept is extremely useful, versatile and elucidating. And so are the 'metaphysical' aspects of Chinese Medicine.

It is certainly possible to research the working mechanisms of acupuncture and the correlations to Western anatomy and physiology while retaining the 'meridian' concept. Outstanding examples of this approach are "Hara diagnosis - reflections on the sea" by Stephen Birch and Kiiko Matsumoto, and "Chasing the Dragons Tail" by Yoshio Manaka, Kazuko Itaya and Stephen Birch. Those are books I do read over and again and still find new insights and am invited to find out my own 'Dao'. I don't expect I will ever read Donald Kendalls book again, although it certainly did help me in finding out why trying to find one-to-one correlations between Chinese and Western medical concepts is not part of my 'Dao'.
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Lionel Chan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Why does anyone care whether Chinese anatomy and physiology are explained as energy flowing through meridians, or by the circulation of blood, nutrients, other vital substances, and vital air (qi) through the vascular system? The answer to that lies in the moral obligation of every practitioner to provide each patient with the latest medical understanding available. The need to continually search for the truth is the most fundamental principle of science and medicine... Research so far shows that the true concepts of Chinese Medicine operate under known physiological principles, involving the complex organization of the neural, vascular, endocrine, and somatic systems, sustained by the circulation of nutrients, vital substances, and oxygen from vital air."

- Donald E, Kendall, "Dao of Chinese Medicine" (2002).

Kendall makes excellent points, but I just want to clarify a few things.

I think people care about using "energy" concepts as opposed to anatomy/physiology, apart from the mere functional clinical usefulness of using the "energy" model as generally understood in Western TCM, because the idea of Qi and Yin and Yang helps to connect us with some sort of universal Spirit and sense of belonging. But we must distinguish very carefully between the type of "scientism" that explains something in material and physical terms and attempts to reduce it to merely that and denies any reality to anything else, and the type of science that looks for the mechanisms for exactly how Spirit is allowed to operate in the manifest realm.

Let us imagine a hypothetical situation in the future (or near-future, if Kendall is to be believed) where biomedical science had advanced to the point where everything in TCM physiology was explained in biomedical terms, in a non-reductionist way that took the big picture and Bian Zheng into full account. The process would have meant, inevitably, that some things TCM held to be true are thrown out, and some things are added.

The point is, if a great majority of what the ancient Chinese discovered so long ago, through their own senses and their understandings of the relatedness of things on the micro and the macro levels, is confirmed in physical mechanistic terms by the very latest in scientific understanding, this actually has the effect of elevating the Spirit rather than dragging it down. How could anyone continue to believe in an uncaring world of dead particles bumping randomly into each other, when the said dead particles accidentally reflect the principles of Yin/Yang in the body/mind and its relationship to its environment? Instead of, as we might have feared, science having the effect of flattening everything into existential meaninglessness, it would instead illuminate how all (even when modelled with precise mathematical equations) is actually alive with the numinous!

At the present moment clearly, the predominant belief system in the scientific community is not yet ready to encompass and be able to accept such a reality. That itself is a very good reason to hold on to the classical Qi physiological concepts, because they are the best models we have to repeat the empirical experience of the Zhongyi that precede us in treating those that seek our aid now. Since the classics are written in pre-modern language, learning Qi physiology properly on its own terms is also vital to get access to this wealth of knowledge and experience. Also the fact is that Qi/Yin/Yang will always be more accessible to the individual than the minutiae of endocrine, neurological, connective tissue and vascular response mechanisms, and therefore 1) always a useful lens with which to translate clinical reality, 2) more understandable to the average patient that wants to regulate their own life and 3) good news for the aspiring practitioner that simply does not have the intellectual/rational capacity to think in biomedical terms, but have talents elsewhere that more than make up for it.

But holding onto classical Qi physiology does not and should not mean turning a blind eye to the latest discoveries in science, and not encouraging further understanding in this area. Also in my opinion, only science has the power to translate the important insights of Chinese Medicine into changing the way medicine is practiced on a societal or even world scale - quasi-mystical and ethnocentric concepts, however functional and "real", do not.

TCM and modern biomedical science have great potential to extend and improve each other, working side by side for the benefit of all. But for integration to happen whilst fully honouring the truths each has to offer requires a new outlook transcending both existing Western and Eastern epistemology. If you want to have some sort of idea of what the kind of rigorous science that has the capacity to fit Spirit, Qi, Yin/Yang and consciousness into its framework could look like, I highly recommend reading "Marriage of Sense and Soul" by Ken Wilber, and looking into [...] .
15 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
WOW- The Best English CM Book in At Least a Decade 7. Februar 2004
Von Brian B. Carter - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm an acupuncturist, AND an author who puts Chinese medicine (CM) into layman's terms (see PulseMed.org). One of the most difficult things to explain is "What is qi?" and it's not fun responding to objections that Chinese medicine is unscientific or even occultic.
Kendall's book is an academic and scientific answer to these problems, a more accurate revision of our Western understanding of Chinese medicine, and a resource for all future western improvements on this ancient system.
As Philippe Sionneau says, and Kendall echoes, we must know Chinese medicine - what it really was in the past - before we can innovate intelligently.
Both Kendall and Paul Unschuld are doing a great service to English-speaking acupuncturists by using their scholarly skills to uncover more truths about Chinese medicine, and to question some of the popular conceptions of CM in the West. Of course, I don't take everything they say as gospel - I wonder about Unschuld because it's said he doesn't really like Chinese medicine, and we know he doesn't practice it. Yet, Unschuld's being an outsider can be a good thing, because criticism often leads to "iron sharpening iron," an improvement in our knowledge and understanding, or at least in our ability to cogently argue one side of an issue. Kendall, on the other hand, has practiced and taught Chinese medicine for decades.
I think some people in my profession will hate this book. Many of the "traditional" acupuncturists in America, as in France, are hopelessly enamored with the false idea of energy circulating in meridians, and some have even made this an integral part of their personal spirituality. They may not listen to Kendall's findings.
Some of my peers do not embrace "medical" acupuncture, an approach that Kendall claims and I agree is common sense: that we should learn Chinese medicine, then understand its parallels in Western medicine, and even subject CM theories to scientific validation.
Kendall explains what damage our misconceptions about CM have done to the system itself, and how it has slowed the Western medical community's ability to take it seriously and examine its insights.
I haven't read the whole book yet... indeed, some of it must be studied, and may be beyond those without a good grounding in neuroscience and immunology, but I think learning them in this context is well worth the effort. I'm happy to have a lot of the information about the neuro and immunomechanisms of acupuncture all in one place - I've seen some of this in various essays or studies, but this presentation includes drawings. And that is one strength of the book- most people are visual learners, yet so many books use only words. Kendall includes a plethora of charts and drawings.
This may not make it easier to explain acupuncture, but it will make our explanations a lot more credible. My patients always respond better to my explanation of acupuncture, which is based on neuroscience and PETScan findings, than they do to theories of energy circulation, and those I've told about Kendall's tying meridians/vessels in with blood vessels and qi with nutrients (ying) and oxygen immediately said, "That makes more sense."
Thank you Deke!
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