Next Books for New Practitioners


Students when they are leaving to graduate often ask me what is the next book they should read. This page needs updating!

I assume they have the “Benskys” Materia Medica and Formulas and Strategies. I also assume they haven’t really read them. That would be a good start.

The next book I would suggest is Steven Clavey’s Fluid Physiology. This is an incredible book that really fills in what I found missing in much of my Chinese Medicine Education. There are 2 Editions as of 2018, the second is a bit better than the first having added more acupuncture treatment ideas. Unfortunately, the book is out of print presently however there are rumors that Eastland is planning a new edition.

One cannot say enough about Applied Theory in Chinese Medicine. This book is an exploration not a method and it lays the groundwork for a new generation of thinking about Acupuncture and Chinese medical theory.

Herbs are where recent graduates feel the most confused. I suggest that they read Qin Bo-Wei’s 56 Treatment Methods by Wu Bo-Ping and Jason Blalack.


Last year a colleague from Beijing asked me to write about the influential English language books for a project she was doing. This is what I came up with:

The 20 books are just some of the influential books currently used among English language students and practitioners of Chinese medicine in the West.

Many of these books have been written by native Chinese now practicing in the West or Westerners using Chinese sources by collaborating with experienced practitioners from China. Many of these books are “classics” while others use ancient writings to create new concepts by explaining ancient texts.

1. Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine – The late Wang Ju-yi, from the first class of the Beijing Chinese Medicine School, worked for decades thinking and developing his ideas about the nature of the acupuncture channels. Jason Robertson spent several years working with Wang accumulating his lectures for this book with updated concepts of the channels which reflect ancient thinking.

2. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies -Bensky and Scheid – The English language standard for the study of Chinese herbal formulas now updated with historical references and reasoning. Any student, practitioner or scholar of Chinese herbal medicine should have this book on their desk.

3. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica – Bensky – The English language standard for the study of Chinese single herbs in Chinese Medicine. The third edition of the book updates current biomedical information while also

4. Finding Effective Acupuncture Points – Shudo Denmei’s approach is one of the innumerable Japanese styles. What makes this book so effective is how he explains his methodology and thinking making it accessible and transferable to whatever style the reader may employ.

5. Foundations of Chinese Medicine – Giovanni Maciocia’s comprehensive book is a comprehensive study used in most all English language schools and for licensing exams.

6. Live Well Live Long: Teachings from the Chinese Nourishment of Life Tradition and Modern Research – Deadman – Yang Sheng is translated as “nourishing life” and Peter Deadman has accumulated many writings and exercises into living a long, happy and healthy life.

7. Manual of Acupuncture Peter Deadman and Mazin Al-Khafaji – Although over 25 years old the Manual has remained the definitive English language resource for acupuncture location and indications as it draw on historical sources including the Systematic Classic of Acupuncture & Moxibustion. Beautiful drawings of the anatomy offer one of the best guides for finding and using the acupuncture points.

8. Manual of Dermatology in Chinese Medicine Shen De-Hui and Wu Xiu-Fen. A clear resource for the study of dermatology in Chinese medicine.

9. Medicine in China: A History of Ideas – Unschuld- Traces the history of Chinese medicine in all its complexity. The updated version explores the intersection of Western medicine in modern China.

10. Nan Jing Classic of Difficulties – Unschuld trans – This is an updated version of famed scholar Paul Unschuld 1986 with updated commentary from 20 Chinese and Japanese over the last 1700 years.

11. Obstetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine – Maciocia – One of the most comprehensive books about gynecology from Giovanni Maciocia.

12. Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine – Wiseman – An indispensable reference for Chinese medical terminology that helps bridge the gaps between various translation styles. The Wiseman book is used as a standard for many English language publishing houses.

Shu-He Wang and Yang Shou-Zhong – a faithful translation of the classic.

14. Qin Bo-Wei’s 56 Treatment Methods – Qin – Translator and editor Jason Blalack spent several years working withWu Po-Ping, a primary student of famed Chinese doctor, writer and educator Qin Bo-Wei. This book elucidates seminal writings by Qin that describes his method for constructing concise herbal prescriptions using treatment principles of Chinese medicine.

15. Shang Han Lun (On Cold Damage)- Guohui Liu trans– Of the many recent English language translations Liu’s book contains many diverse commentaries from the centuries of previous writers. Also of note is a separate “introduction” book and his earlier work Warm Pathogen Diseases: A Clinical Guide.

16. Statements of Fact in Traditional Chinese Medicine – Flaws trans – This small volume contains a trove of Chinese Medicine sayings that every student and practitioner needs to memorize and understand.

17. Systematic Classic of Acupuncture & Moxibustion – Huang Fu Mi – Written in the 3rd Century the writings in this book have endured to this day through the quotations from the Su Wen and Ling Shu.

Ten Lectures on the Use of Formulas from The Personal Experience Of Jiao Shu-De – Dr. Jiao was the influential doctor and educator whose lectures on herbs and formulas were a vital source of information for a generation of Chinese students.

19. Atlas of Chinese Tongue Diagnosis – Kirschbaum -Richly photographed and illustrated Barbara Kirschbaum’s book sets a standard for books on this subject.

20. Zang Fu Syndromes: Differential Diagnosis and Treatment – McDonald and Penner – A comprehensive study guide to acupuncture and herbs for the syndromes of Chinese Zang-Fu patterns.