By Giovanni Maciocia
This text is a comprehensive review of the Chinese clinical literature on women’s problems informed by the clinical experience and understanding of Giovanni Maciocia. As the author of the field’s two most used instructional manuals Foundations and Practice of Chinese Medicine Maciocia has, in the present text, accomplished a mature expression of his approach to TCM.
In the first section, he elucidates the theoretical foundations of the specialty, speaking to his readers with the assured voice and collegial manner that have made his prior books so accessible. Using innovative diagrams and illustrations the text describes female physiology–menstruation, conception, pregnancy and menopause–providing both Western and Chinese views. This is followed by a description of the commonly encountered syndromes and an explanation of the role of the extraordinary vessels.
In the second section he provides instruction as regards the development of female conditions and their diagnosis. Looking at each of the major etiological issues through both the Chinese literature and the concerns of his patients, Maciocia provides not only insights valuable to the development of clinicians’ diagnostic inquiries but also a set of hygienic and lifestyle principles designed to foster reproductive and sexual health. The diagnosis section is similarly practical. It proceeds through the four examinations, establishing a checklist of seminal diagnostic criteria. The section on tongue examination is enhanced by a frontispiece of 16 high-quality color photographs of representative tongue conditions.
The third and largest section is a clinical manual. Each chapter of each section is devoted to an examination of a specific clinical domain. Each begins with the author’s commentary on the condition, its clinical definition and the relevant Chinese physiological and pathological concepts. This is followed by subsections specifically detailing the relevant etiology, pathology, and diagnosis. Taken as a whole these discussions teach readers the conceptual foundation and practical clinical observations of the conditions. These are then summed as principles of treatment. Clinicians are thus prepared to utilize the information on differentiation and treatment that is then presented.
The therapeutic information is organized by syndromes, a list of the relevant ones begins each sections. For each syndrome there is a treatment principle, an acupuncture treatment, and one or more herbal prescriptions. There is an explanation of the application of each acupoint and each the medicinal substance. The treatments are further supplemented by case historiesfrom the author’s practice, a commentary on prognosis and prevention, and, where appropriate, discussions of related Western diseases. There are also clinical insights, hints and translations of acupoint prescriptions from ancient sources. Acupoints are listed in alphanumerics and Pinyin; herbs appear in Pinyin and pharmaceutical Latin with dose in grams. Formulas are presented in Pinyin and English translation.
Although those who trained with the author’s Practice of Chinese Medicine will more greatly appreciate the continuity of presentation, any clinician will find these discussions accessible and immediately applicable.