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Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine Paperback – June 30, 1992

4.4 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For anyone seriously interested in learning about Chinese medicine, Beinfield and Korngold provide a comprehensive, though technical, look at it. The book is divided into three parts: theory; the psychology of Chinese medicine and therapy; and such treatment methods as acupuncture, herbs and diet. Licensed acupunturists, Beinfield and Korngold stress that the models of Eastern and Western medicine are significantly different. Consequently, so are methods, emphases and outcomes. Chinese medicine, they claim, readjusts the body's balance and enhances self-healing--while Western medicine, in contrast, stresses suppressing and eliminating pathological phenomena, and crisis-intervention. The authors don't discount the need, in some instances, for Western medicine. In fact, they bring this issue up poignantly with an event close to home: their son was born with a heart deformity that required specialized surgery. To help maintain his health, his parents incorporated herbal remedies in his diet. A particularly interesting concept is "culinary alchemy" or kitchen medicine, based on the Chinese tenet "Who we are determines what is most beneficial for us to eat." The authors provide an extensive, cross-referenced compendium of herb names, as well as information on using Chinese patent medicines and formulas for general health problems.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Chinese medicine uses a variety of diagnostic techniques, such as observation, pulse-taking, and questioning, to determine a patient's type and optimal therapy. Here, two Western practitioners describe for Western lay readers philosophy, diagnostic techniques, and possible treatments. They also show how an understanding of the five Chinese elements--wood, fire, earth, metal, and water--enables one to begin to understand one's own patterns of physical and emotional health. Beinfeld and Korngold have done a handy job of explaining this esoteric and frequently misunderstood modality. For New Age health collections in public libraries.
- Judith Eannarino, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345379748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345379740
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rocannon MacGregor on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the most involved and lucid explanation of the Five Phases that I have found. I refer many of my patients to this book when they come for their initial session. It has numerous drawings, charts and graphs to support the written text. The Five Phase Theory, as presented in this book, can assist practicing acupunturists or students of Oriental Medicine in deepening their understanding of how to successfully handle the myriad problems and dis-eases presented by their patients. In my 25 years of practice I found extremely few books so well written and organized for everyday use and review.
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Format: Paperback
What a great book...If I had to be marooned on a desert island, etc., etc., with just one book on acupuncture, helpful for understanding the human condition, this would be the book, and there isn't even a close second that comes to mind. The authors were **the** people who brought an understanding of Chinese medicine to the U.S. in the 1970s, and this book is a heroic attempt to educate us and interest us at the same time with what they had found. It's hard to tell whether they're classic five element practitioners (I've heard differing points of view on this) but they do a FABULOUS job on breaking down what's involved with that unique, and very hard to find out about, form of acupuncture. Although practitioners will say that they can only figure out your type from actually diagnosing you in person, I found that when I put my husband and me through the written "tests" in the book, very comprehensive, we actually came out ahead: and figured out "what" we were, 1.5 years ahead of the acupuncturist so doing. That gave me even more confidence in the book. Not to mention, reading and thinking about what the test revealed about us HUGELY promoted our understanding of ourselves and each other, and made for a fun adjunct to a vacation weekend. This is a great book, and I find myself referring to it again and again, though I've also read--and own--many of the other now classic books in the field. Simple enough for a lay reader, but definitely able to communicate the elegance of the practice. Go authors! :-)
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By A Customer on May 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has been a valuable resource to me as a person seeking healing through various alternative medicines. While I found Chinese Medicine helpful I didn't understand why, and I now feel as though I can take an active roll in discussions with my provider about various treatments. I do not have a long attention span when it comes to dry manuals, but this book was written to be understood and will hold your interest. The only part of the book I found lacking was the index. As I tried to put together a 'treatment plan' for myself, I had difficulty finding specific topics/herbs again.
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Format: Paperback
For anyone looking for a basic, easy to understand introduction to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I can highly recommend this book. It focuses mainly of the five element theory of TCM, and it manages to explain a very complex concept in clear terms. It has nice self-test chapters to help the reader figure out their own predominant elements, and also offers good advice on simple herbal supplements and dietary advise based on the patterns.

However, it is very basic. If you are looking for more in-depth information on Traditional Chinese Medicine, or if you already have a basic understanding of the five elements, The Web that Has No Weaver is probably a better book to read, since it explains not only the five elements, but also the organ networks and their associated functions and spirits in much more depth.

I usually recommend Between Heaven and Earth to people who want to gain a basic understanding and introduction into the Chinese Taoist Philosophy that is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I think it is a great introductory text, and will make subsequent, more complexly written books much easier to understand.
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Format: Paperback
In the first glance I couldn't get the idea of information contained in this book but after spending few minutes on the contents I decided to purchase it. It doesn't not give you all the details you need yet it is one of the best introductions on chinese medicine one can have. It stirs up the interest for the further studies and itself could be one of a good reference books. Even those who read books for fun would enjoy reading it. The diagrams and the expression absorbs you in.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives a good foundation for understanding how the Chinese five elements theory is used in clinical practice. The description of five-element theory is very poetically written, so the book is fun to read. There is also a good introduction to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. The chapters on acupuncture and herbal medicine are fairly technical, so if you don't have much interest in these areas, you may find the sections boring.
The main problem with the book is it's over-emphasis on the Five Elements. From what I understand, the Chinese five element theory is not regarded as important to diagnosis and treatment in TCM as the theory of yin/yang and chi (in fact, the validity of the theory is still hotly debated in China today) so its treatment here may be a bit over-emphasized.
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