Reviewer: Robert E Burke, MSN, MPS, BSN (Pace University)
Description: This book provides physicians and other health professionals with an overview of pain progression and management through a form of acupuncture they refer to as neuromodulation.
Purpose: The authors state that this book was designed to demystify acupuncture and explain it in anatomical terms. It is also intended to provide the reader with a greater understanding of pain progression and management throughout an individual's lifetime. These objectives are appreciated; however, to aid in achieving their goals the authors have abandoned the World Health Organization's international standards of acupuncture nomenclature (WHO, 1999) and opted to create a system of their own.
Audience: The authors state throughout that this book is intended for physicians who have an interest in learning and incorporating acupuncture ("neuromodulation") into their scope of practice. I feel that other healthcare professionals, such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists may also find this book interesting. All three authors are credible, each having different levels of experience. Dr. Houchi Dung, author of Anatomical Acupuncture (1997), taught and practiced acupuncture for over 30 years. During his career he explored the scientific basis of acupuncture and promoted its use in medical education. His son is Dr. Joeming Dunn, a physician who limits his practice to anatomical acupuncture. Dr. Curtis P. Clogston, a physician who specializes in preventive and occupational medicine, learned acupuncture in 2000 and incorporates it in his private practice for pain management and allergies.
Features: The book opens with a brief and simplistic history of acupuncture and review of current medical literature regarding its efficacy. The reader is then provided with an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of acupoints and Dr. Dung's method of pain quantification. The remaining chapters explore the method of locating these points and the safe and proper technique of needling them to treat a variety of conditions. The most interesting section of the book is its discussion of the four categories of acupoints. Coupled with Dung's method of pain quantification, practitioners are provided a unique appreciation of pain evaluation and management for clients. The book has many shortcomings. Many of the references are outdated with over half of them dated before 1990. The authors describe a method of needling (pp. 81-2) that is inconsistent with the aseptic technique supported by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1999) and United States standards of clean needle technique (NAF, 2004). They support the outdated method of autoclaving and reusing of acupuncture needles because of the tedium of unwrapping new packages (p. 73). Furthermore, it is questionable that the authors' suggest that physicians recast acupuncture as neuromodulation in order to bypass state laws that restrict them from practicing acupuncture without formal education or as a way to bill insurance companies for reimbursement (p. 159).
Assessment: In my professional opinion, this book is only useful in its overview of pain quantification and the phases of acupoints; however, the shortcomings greatly overshadow the positive qualities of the book. At its cost, I would only recommend readers to borrow it through the library if they have any interest in reading it for themselves. For any healthcare provider interested in learning about the scientific basis of acupuncture, I would suggest any of the following texts: Basics of Acupuncture, 5th edition, Stux et al. (Springer-Verlag, 2003), Clinical Acupuncture: Scientific Basis, Stux and Hammerschlag (Springer-Verlag, 2001), and/or Neuro-Acupuncture, Vol. 1: Neuroscience Basics, Cho et al. (Q-puncture, Inc, 2001).
National Acupuncture Foundation (NAF) (2004). Clean Needle Technique Manual for Acupuncturists, 5th ed.
World Health Organization (WHO) (1999). Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Acupuncture. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/medicines/library/trm/acupuncture/who-edm-trm-99-1/who-edm-trm-99-1en.shtml