By John Pirog
Trade paperback book
An academic, theoretical analysis combined with a practical clinical focus offers a systematic approach to treatment using the logic of meridan theory. Point categories, extraordinary vessels and distant points, are described in terms of meridian theory, which is then applied to musculoskeletal pain and vacuity patterns, attempting a comprehensive and rigorous exposition that is integrated, logical and useful.
Views are far from traditional protocol.
I love this book. It was the first book I read on my journey with TCM. The author does a wonderful job at breaking down organs and their meridians. The author goes in to great detail on antique pints which I have referred back to many times since first reading this book. This is a must read for all TCM providers.
Initially published in 1996, this is a book that has informed a generation of practitioners. Pirog begins with a practical step-by-step approach to acupuncture treatment planning. He examines the meridian system as a whole, including the six Yin-Yang pairs and Zi-Wu cycle. The next section thoroughly covers the point categories: chapters are given to each of the five shu-transport points, luo-connecting, xi-cleft, back-shu and mu-alarm, hui-meeting points, Entry-Exit, Four Seas and more. The Extraordinary Vessels are discussed over several chapters, followed by a section on treatment strategies, including use of the Meridian Sinews for musculoskeletal pain, and techniques for supplementation and drainage. A final section is devoted to the most important points on each meridian, including key indications and point combinations. Meticulously referenced throughout to classical and modern sources, the book is both scholarly and practical, and makes for a very readable text aimed at the advanced student or practitioner in search of something beyond a simple point formulary. This is a book of possibilities rather than protocols, solidly grounded in traditional theory with an eye to contemporary clinical practice.
Mary Kay K Ryan –
I have been teaching and practicing Chinese medicine for 38 years now in three countries and at six different educational institutions and I can say unequivocally that The Practical Application of Meridian Style Acupuncture is by far and away the most useful and accessible textbook for teaching and learning acupuncture available in English.
Why do I say this? We tend, in this field to teach our students out of books that are essentially encyclopedic. It is a bit like teaching someone to read by handing them Britannica. These books are incredibly valuable and I have nothing but praise for the members of our community who have produced them for us. But they often do not make good textbooks because, although they talk about point categories and their functions, the bulk of the texts are made up of every use for every point (or herb) that has ever been written in the last 1500 – 2000 years, often with very little reference to the categorical uses outlined at the outset. Thus, students are faced with memorization of vast amounts of data rather than comprehension of acupuncture within the meridian system.
Practical Application does precisely the opposite. Its primary focus is on understanding both the categorical uses of points, but how those categories derive their function by virtue of their participation in and creation of the function of an entire meridian. Why, for instance, are Jing well points called that? How do they relate to Jing river points and what do these names of well, spring, river and so on tell us about what these points do and how to use them? What exactly is a Luo point? What have the Classics said about them and what can we surmise from that about their practical use? How do the classical uses for these points, both in Five Phase terms and Meridian style terms, derive from these points within a meridian system? In this text the function of a category is explained with reference to its position within the entire meridian system. Each point then, is seen, as is true to Chinese medicine thought, as deriving its value within its context and not merely as an individual with a bunch of inherent qualities. Practical Application discusses The Distal and other important distal points; Back shu and front mu points; entry and exit points and other categories, all within this explanatory method. Its discussion of the Eight Extra Channels is the most logical and useful in any textbook.
The second half of the book provides a method for putting together points using these explanations. By approaching points as part of inter-related wholes, the rationales for the point formulas, so commonly learned in schools by rote, become intelligible and accessible to students. Students are now walked through how to use the points and create their own point formulas because they will understand how and why points do what they do, how they work with other points to accomplish their various functions and thus how to connect them in a knowledgeable way rather than merely memorizing an interminable and daunting list of point functions.
Since Practical Application came out in 1996 I have recommended it in every acupuncture class I have taught in multiple schools and countries and students have universally expressed gratitude for a textbook that makes acupuncture comprehensible and manageable to learn.