Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Women’s Health Review
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I’ve known quite a few people who have benefited from acupuncture, but other parts of Eastern medicine have always baffled me. Dr. Kathleen Albertson explains the components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and, in particular, how it relates to women’s health issues in her book, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Women’s Health: Bridging the Gap Between Western and Eastern Medicine.

Dr. Albertson clarifies how TCM differs from Western practice, in that it focuses on the root causes and tries to detect problems early, before they become fully-formed. TCM regards each individual’s condition as unique, and therefore one treatment does not fit all. However, she does show general guidelines for treating many ailments, such as fibromyalgia, endometriosis, infertility, menstrual and pregnancy related issues, menopausal symptoms, and headaches.

She explains thoroughly how the body functions properly when Qi (life force) and blood flow freely throughout the body, as well as detailing the twelve organ systems and how each organ interconnects with other organs and possible patterns that could cause a deficiency or disease.

Though common sense tells us that acupuncture needs to be performed by a highly qualified professional, I never realized how complex TCM is and how you should never diagnose or treat yourself. Of course, health store clerks are not qualified to provide recommendations, either. Practitioners will more than likely mix various herbs together and know the correct combinations and dosages.

That said, I found most of the book too dry and complex for anyone, like me, who is convinced of the benefits of TCM and alternatives to Western care but just wants general knowledge on the subject. In fact, I found it difficult to stay focused on all of the detail and case studies. However, this book would be of benefit to someone seeking in-depth knowledge and possibly considering the professional practice of TCM.

I would also almost recommend this book for someone who is planning to consult a TCM practitioner. The problem is that one major component is missing. Though Dr. Albertson informs readers of what to expect from an acupuncturist, she doesn’t tell us how we should actually choose one. She also doesn’t mention how to choose a TCM practitioner. So how can we be sure that this person is qualified and working in our best interest?

Dr. Albertson persuades women not to give up on themselves when Western medicine has, and she provides scientific research to back up her position. She also convinces the reader that TCM is quite complex and should be left to a professional for diagnosis and treatment. Though knowledge is power, the book’s complexity leaves me wondering who, exactly, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Women’s Health is geared toward.

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