Celestial Lancets: A History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa (Needham Research Institute Series) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0700714582
ISBN-10: 0700714588
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Product Details

  • Series: Needham Research Institute Series
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700714588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700714582
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By PeacefulJeff on November 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
After finding out that what is taught in the West as `Traditional Chinese Medicine' was basically created by a Chinese Communist government committee from some but not all of the various ancient texts and practices that are available, I wanted to reconstruct Traditional Chinese Medicine (particularly acupuncture) as it actually existed prior to the Communist revolution. I came across Celestial Lancets in the process. Make no mistake, it is a tome, complete with more footnotes and references than most of us can read in several lifetimes.

"Celestial Lancets" is written by one of the top academic researchers on China, Joseph Needham, in collaboration with his Chinese wife. It is part of his encyclopedic "Science and Civilization in China" series. It is written by a serious academic, for other serious academics or practitioners of acupuncture and moxa who want to explore as deeply as possible the history and understanding of these two ancient practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are no less than three bibliographies broken down by language and dates.

Needham is neither a starry-eyed believer in TCM, nor is he a scientific disbeliever. He simply explores the history to a very great, detailed depth, and then does the same for some of the western science that has been done (this chapter alone being almost 75 pages), letting the evidence show for itself. It should be said that the goal of the book seems to be history and explanation of acupuncture and moxa, not an attempt to PROVE the system to the most skeptic of Westerners.

I like reading academic works, though I don't have even an associates degree, and I still found this book tough going, except for the last chapter on `The Lore of Vital Spots'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
The book was originally published in 1980, thirty years ago, nowadays this reprint is enriched by two writings : a short preface by Prof. Christopher Cullen and an introduction by Dr. Vivienne Lo.

At the time of the first printing Needham was 80 years old, and as happens in the case of books which have been compiled by great masters, this work is still today very valuable and has not been superseded by some other work.

It is not a book to be read in a week or in a month, it is a sound reference work that anyone who is interested in the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine and/or its history should have on its desk or on its nearest bookshelf.

This work is really precious, it fills an important gap in the Western literature, I believe that those who wish to approach these matters in a scientific way should read or refer to it frequently.

Sometimes, the reader will understand its usefulness within few minutes, in other cases he / she will be aware of it only after many years....
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Celestial Lancets: A History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa (Needham Research Institute Series)
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