Atlas of Acupuncture.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Larmer, Peter
Pub Date: 07/01/2010
Publication: Name: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Publisher: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists ISSN: 0303-7193
Issue: Date: July, 2010 Source Volume: 38 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Atlas of Acupuncture (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Focks, Claudia
Accession Number: 263992607
Full Text: Atlas of Acupuncture. English First edition 2008. Focks, C 2008. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. ISBN-10:0443100284. Hardcover: 733 pages

The Atlas of Acupuncture edited by Dr Claudia Focks is a comprehensive pictorial anatomical atlas. This large hardback atlas has been translated into English by J Schuster from the German Atlas Akupunktur and has contributions from U Marz and I Hosbach. The naming and description of the acupuncture points follows the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) format.

A key component of any anatomical atlas is the quality of the illustrations. While the anatomical photographs are in black and white they have been professionally taken and are clear and easily viewed. The lack of colour does not detract from the quality of the illustrations. A number of the photographs have been overdrawn to emphasise the proximity of structures that lie under the skin. These drawings have been made in clear fine print and enhance the understanding of the anatomical structures. Aside from the anatomical photographs, additional drawings are in a combination of blue, black and white. This remains consistent throughout the book and all illustrations are of an excellent quality.

The first three chapters offer an introductory overview to TCM. The first chapter provides a broad explanation of the channel systems and energy flow. This description is based on the TCM philosophy. The second chapter provides a detailed description of the measurement system used in acupuncture. The third chapter presents an anatomical orientation to the body. While this may be a useful refresher, most physiotherapists are likely to find this chapter of limited value.

The fourth, fifth and sixth chapter present the major theme of this book; the anatomical presentation of each acupuncture point. A channel description and clinical relevance of the channel is provided prior to a description of each acupuncture point along the described channel. There is a full page devoted to each acupuncture point. Each page has three distinct sections, the anatomical photographic section, the description section and a legend section. Often two or more photographs are presented to assist in exact point location. These are always clear and well labelled. The text description of each point offers the reader the Chinese name and English translation, an anatomical location, a description of how to find the point, a needle direction guide along with actions, indications and special features of the point. Along the side of the page is a handy pictorial legend that highlights seven key features of each point. The legend provides a quick reference for important aspects of the acupuncture point. An example is a picture of the lung with an exclamation mark over the lung indicating where care needs to be taken when needling due to the lung lying under the acupuncture point. In summary the presentation of each acupuncture point is comprehensive and of value to practitioners who are new to acupuncture.

Chapter seven provides an additional sectional anatomical illustration of the major points according to body location. Chapter eight describes the acupuncture points according to their traditional orientation and continues the standard of high quality illustrations. Chapter nine, the final chapter presents a narrative description of scientific studies of specific acupuncture points, but not acupuncture treatments. This chapter provides a quick reference guide to studies involving individual acupuncture points. However a more detailed critical review of the studies would be needed before an appreciation of the effectiveness of the results could be made.

The book contains a one page appendix that identifies some inconsistencies related to different interpretations of TCM. The Bibliography fails to include studies identified in Chapter nine, the research chapter. This omission is a significant error in the book and I am unclear why this has been made. Finally a comprehensive index lists all acupuncture points with both the numerical and Chinese names as well as a list of the conditions contained in Chapter nine.

In conclusion this well illustrated anatomical text may appeal to beginner acupuncturists with an interest in the traditional philosophies of acupuncture. However for physiotherapists requiring a Western Acupuncture approach this anatomical atlas is likely to be of limited value. Specifically there is a lack of information regarding neurophysiology and in particular the nerve supply of acupuncture points. These are key concerns for Western acupuncturists. Fortunately there are a number of acupuncture anatomical atlases that already provide this necessary information.

Peter Larmer

MPH (Hons), MNZSP, Dip MT, Dip Acup, Senior Lecturer in Western Acupuncture, Department of Physiotherapy

School of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies

Auckland University of Technology

Private Bag 92006

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