This is a nicely organized book about a complex subject. It is written both for the curious person new to TCM (traditional Chinese medicine, the acronym used throughout the book) and for those who want a more in-depth look at the subject. The author/publisher says of herself that she is “compelled to write a book that integrates Western and Eastern thought, and to foster more natural and root-based patient care.” A tall order. Though she has chosen a single piece of the puzzle, the area of women’s health, the content is still challenging in its scope, encompassing nutrition, mental health, and physical remedies.
The author makes the claim that TCM herbal remedies are completely harmless, and explains that they combine the philosophical concepts of chi, yin and yang, hot and cold, etc all in a wholistic way that takes the entire body into consideration, not just an affected area.
One of the more extraordinary claims made for TCM, in my opinion, is that it offers a cure or staged total recovery from that modern malady, fibromyalgia. The author contends that this is not a purely modern phenomenon but that in fact, “TCM has been treating this constellation of fibromyalgia symptoms successfully for thousands of years, long before it had a name!” TCM, she insists, addresses the whole array of problems, starting by acknowledging that fibromyalgia may be the result of some early trauma left untreated. Those who ascribe to the TCM method will eventually not need antidepressants or pain killers. Chloe, the “real life” example cited in the book, gradually “gained her life back.” Western medicine, it is asserted, will treat one symptom after another, adding more and more pills, without getting at the root cause of the illness.
If a patient has a headache, the TCM practitioner will look at body systems, not just at the patient’s head, and may not treat the head pain at all but focus on channels within the body that are like highways with traffic blockages. Maybe the headaches are caused by poor traffic flow from the stomach, the liver, the spleen. The tongue – color, shape and coating -- is an important “reporter” of body health. The entire array of women’s ailments from menstrual cramps to hot flashes can and will be ameliorated by the various TCM solutions, including diet and acupuncture. For the patient this can require a leap of faith if she is accustomed to being given a pill that promises immediate symptomatic relief. TCM treatment may take longer, but, according to the author, promises better long term results.
This book is illustrated with many helpful charts and pictures and contains a number of case histories as well as a history of TCM itself and a useful glossary.