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on April 27, 2013
The translations of the point names are inspiring. I have studied classical Chinese, and she backs up most of her translations very well. I have used many of these translations in talking to my acupuncture patients about their treatments, and I think Kaatz brings out excellent nuances in the meanings of the points.

One of the reasons that I bought this book for Kindle was so that I could quickly find a point in the clinic. The lack of a table of contents function means that I can't quickly get to a given meridian or point. The only way to find a particular point is to search for it by typing it into the search box, which takes more time. So the book is less useful in clinic than I had hoped. The addition of the ability to click on a list of the points to get to the point you want would be a very valuable addition.
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on January 4, 2015
I'm always looking for books that describe the acupuncture points in the way they were originally described and for the reasons that they were described in that particular manner. This is a wondrous book and worth being on every acupuncturists shelf, especially since Mao Tse Tung in the Communist turned true ancient alchemical medicine into TCM, which in my opinion is a load of crap that a monkey could learn. Anybody can learn to put in a needle and where to do it and for what reason but not everybody has the "Golden needle of legendary status" this book is such one
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on January 13, 2016
This book is so poetic and puts the essence and soul into points. I love to read it before treating patients to keep me in the song of the
body. I so wish it had been less costly and have no idea why it is out of print. I would encourage printers to do a reissue. I got this for a graduation present-best gift for the journey!!
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on December 12, 2009
This is a relatively new text, valuable to me on several levels:

1. It is a needed alternative to Grasping the Wind (Paradigm title), a 1989 title which is in serious need of correction and revision (please see my review of this text).
2. It is written in an engaging conversational manner from the heart of a 5-elements practitioner as if she is speaking directly about a topic she loves to either her students or her clients. It is appropriate for both but avoids technical jargon/charts. One page is devoted to each of the standard points, as well as some additional information about the primary and extraordinary meridians and the relevance of each of the elements.
3. The calligraphy is beautifully done by an accomplished and well-recognized chinese calligrapher (Harrison Sinshi Tu) and is quite clear for persons who might undertake their own study of these characters.
4. It is a summation of focused meditative study and practice which the author brings from her particular school -- thus likely to be most relevant to 5-Elements practitioners and those interested in psyche, spirit and emotional healing. It may be less intriguing to those who favor symptom-oriented, neuroanatomical acupuncture or traditional pattern diagnosis.
5. It attempts to include useful and plausible cultural informaton to expand the context for a point -- such as BL 60 (Kunlun) and GV 20, (Bai Hui). There is a welcome richness and artistry to the meanings she provides.

For example:

Grasping the Wind (Paradigm title)

says of BL 60: kun = first half of the name of a mountain range; lun = second half of the name of a mountain range. It mentions that the alternate name refers to lower Kunlun mountains. For explanation it points to the resemblance of the exterior (lateral) malleolus to a mountain.


it says for GV20: bai = one hundred; hui = meeting, convergence. Alternate names: three yang, five fold convergence, linking convergence, mountain or ridge top, celestial fullness and Mud Ball Palace. For explanation it quote 2 ancient classics as saying:
a. Classic of Difficult Issues - "yang converges at the head". Thus it is the intersection jiaohui pont of the six yang channels and the governing vessel. In chinese the number 100 stands for many -- thus the meeting of many channels is called Hundred Convergences. Further, the numerous bones of the skull all meet at this point."
b. Taoist Storehouse "refers to the head as the most important part of the body and further states that it is the meeting place of the 100 spirits. As the uppermost point on the head GV20 reprsents the place of convergence of the hundred spirits, or Hundred Convergences."


In contrast, Debra Kaatz in Characters of Wisdom

says of BL 60: Kunlun, The mythological Kunlun Mountains, and goes on to expand as follows:

"The sacred mountains of Kunlun form rugged peaks stretching to the skies. They are reflected in the vermillion lake that lies in the valley below and are particularly spectacular during the scarlet sunrises and sunsets (it is a fire point). The beaches of the vermillion lake are said to contain precious gems. The Kunlun mountains are said ot be the pillars that separate heaven from earth. It is also said that after the great flood, it was here that yin and yang copulated to rekindle the human race. It remains a place where the power of this union is radiated through the expression of the five elements on earth. It is said to be the place of the Tao and the tiger spirit and is where all spirits pass on their way from earth to the great immortal heavens.

This is the fire point of the bladder meridian bringing warmth and love to mature our relationships. It gives quality and warmth to our energy. Here is the strength of union with the Tao and with others. It is said that no matter how far we stray along our path or from our original nature there is always the possibililty of returning ot our deepest source. Kunlun are these great mountains..."

says of GV20: Bai Hui - Meeting in Grand Unity, and goes on to expand as follows:

"Everything is a part of the whole and this is the meeting place of that unity. It is the point of balance between the posterior and anterior, the yin and the yang, and the light and the dark. It is where everything can be directed from a place of wholeness and the one. Here is where all the rivers and seas can be directed and guided from the original source of all life. The grand unity for the Chinese was the number one hundred called Bai and drawn as the number one over the sun. Hui is a meeting of words brought together and is drawn as words under a roof. It means to meet, assemble, collect, co-operate, to understand and to be in the habit of. This point is also one of the points of the sea of bone marrow giving an inner strength of vitality to the system...
...This point is a place that calls on the wisdom of the ancients to bring the entire life of the individual back into harmony so that all can work together again. Here is where our ancestors reside. It is the point at the top of the head nearest to the heavens who direct and inspire all life. In ancient times the Emperor would go to the gods and his ancestors at times of upheaval or natural disasters for advise and to pray for harmony and balance to return. This is just such a place in times of extreme disharmony to open a person's own inner wisdom and recreate the calm and harmony of balance within. This point is a place of council where all the meridians are called together to bring harmony to all of the mind, body and spirit ...

Thus, in general I can readily recognize the major threads and why they are woven into the fabric of her stories. They feel substantially accurate, moving from standardly recognized point associations and what she has further fleshed out of these meanings (i.e. from moving form the point associations cooborated in other texts such as Grasping the Wind, Peter Deadman's Manual of Acupuncture, Giovanni's works. These list the basic elemental classifications, transport points, he points, connecting points, meeting points, etc).

However some of the content requires that I would have to take a few things on faith -- as its pretty "uncluttered" in the way of documented references. To her credit, the author clearly indicates in her introduciton that she has collected stories, Daoist and otherwise, all of which she has synthesized with her own study, meditation, experience and literary intuition. It is what it is...and thus far I have liked it. Sinologists may need to grapple with the details and tell us whether they are reliably accurate in essence.


I would like to see her develop a supplemental disk program or at least a website for authorized purchasers of the book (hopefully free or not more than a minimal subscription cost) through which we could copy one of two handouts types to give to clients --

1. A very brief summation card that would be the size of business card and include the character, the chinese and english point names she uses and the most essential feature of connecting with this point.
2. The second option would be longer and customizable for a larger sheet of paper, include the above information but offer the option to add in some additional portions of her text (or the whole thing) and for the practitioner to write in any additional instructions or commentary.

As I see it, the value of these options would be to facilitate engaging the recipient as an active participant in learning about their body, their needs; the ability to meaningfully ask again for treatment points they found particularly helpful; and tO carry the acutherapy session into their home and into their world; in some cases for them or a family member to continue the interaction with selected points by placing seeds/magnets on them and while breathing or meditating at home; and to assist in focusing consciousness on a particular point or meridian. Kaatz's book is one of the first I've seen with point explanations that are comprehensible and attractive to clients -- thus would be easily adapted to an idea such as this. Furthermore, I suspect several clients after receiving them, might find they wanted to purchase the whole book.
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on April 28, 2018
I have enjoyed Debra's books. The stories are so good for each point and helps to remember them.
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on January 4, 2015
I purchased this book when I started receiving acupuncture treatments. The acupuncturist read several passages to me describing the treatment I was about to receive. They were so beautiful and inspiring, I wanted a copy of the book for myself. The paper version was over $400; the Kindle version was $9.99. This was a no-brainer for me!
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on February 1, 2013
For a look into the ancient practice of Chinese medicine through the lens of 5 element acupuncture this is a must have. You can tell she was trained in TCM as well as being taught at one of JR Worsley's schools. The way the author explains the spiritual aspect of the points the physical indications would make more sense as well as why the points are named what they are. This book has been very helpful to understand the points chosen by my 5 element practitioner and also helps give me deeper insight when I treat my clients mind, body and spirit
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on February 4, 2016
Totally off the mark. Too much ethereal stuff, not useful for use in the field of acupuncture. Very disappointed.
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on May 29, 2010
I'm a layman; amateur self-acupressure tai chi player.
But I have also self-studied Deadman, Grasping the Wind and Foundations of Chinese Medicine.

This book puts spirit and meaning into each acupoint.
Simply marvelous.

One of my students wears a jade pendant on a necklace.
She was elated when I showed her the description of REN-18 & 21
("Ancestral Hall of Jade" and "Jade within the Pearl.")
Compare a strict, literal translation of REN-21, "Jade Pivot," with "Jade within the Pearl" as our pearl that shines with beauty, our precious inner gem from the great oceans of life.

Kaatz revisited a year and a half later:
If I could, I'd add another 3 stars.
I've used her book daily since I received it.

Her unique description of each point is marvelous; its application goes way beyond any literary or clinical benefit.
Consider her dynamic description of KI-1 as a fine example: "A Burst of Vibrant Spring Waters."
This is much more dynamic than the standard labels, "Gushing Spring" or "Bubbling Spring."
Her description captures the actual taiji/bagua function of the point which connects with re-bound energy from earth's energy vortex to power the flow of Qi upward to fill a posture or deliver fajing.
She writes, "As springs bubble out of the ground they rush forth with great strength and vitality."
This comports with non-effort, non-doing.
So instead of carrying the Self forward with effort to this point (egocentric delusion),
her view describes a holographic place unto itself which embraces and vitalizes all other points, illuminating the Heart/Mind--a vast traceless enlightenment.
No kidding!

The only recommendation I'd offer is to add an appendix with a Deadman-like description of the location of each point.
So in the middle of the night I don't have to wrestle with the bulky, heavy tome, Deadman on "Acupuncture."
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on December 21, 2013
This book is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Describes the esoteric meanings of the five elements and the acupuncture points. I can only say it's a rare treasure and a joy to read. A journey through an inner world.
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