Clinical Pearls was kindly donated by Giovanni Maciocia and has gone into the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc library.
The book is published by Su Wen Press and the ISBN number is 978-0-9888834-1-3. Giovannis’s catch for the book is “A Collection of Insights into the Theory and Practice of Chinese Medicine” and this is indeed an accurate assessment of the 300 plus pages. This book strays away from the large glossy hardback text book approach of his former books released through Churchill Livingstone Press. It is a medium sized paper back complete with colour diagrams, lists and diagrams.
Don’t expect this book to be methodical and organized like his other text books, as it appears to jump from one topic to another. It is also the type of book, where some chapters won’t resonate with you but you will be able to skip to find something else useful. It is not as if he has missed some topics deliberately, but he has just put in information that was of significance to him at the time of writing. There is a chapter of the heart channel but none on any other channels. I can see a future Clinical Pearls 2 and 3 coming out and I would rather have this book now as to wait a few more years for a more complete book.
For me there a few stand outs in the book, such as the section on The Triple Burner and the book is worth it just for that.
Everything through out the book is in typical Giovanni style, and is backed up by his translations from the classics and then adding his suggested treatments or why certain points and herbs are selected.
Over the years, if there is one thing I have learnt, is that acupuncture practitioners have their favorite points, often passed on by the teachers that taught them or what they have picked up attending seminars. Giovanni’s favorite points are Du-24, Lu-3 and GB 13 and it is great to see that there are other points apart from Liv 3 and LI 4 being used in the world. But will I be adventurous enough to start using some of these new Giovanni points, time will only tell.
Some of the chapters in this book overlap with some of the material from his other books. But this is not a bad thing. Such as a chapter on tongue diagnosis, however I believe he reports more on his own clinical experience and brings to attention a few common scenarios and discusses them. Of particular interest is his discussion on the breast area of the tongue, and the potential for breast cancer if a purple colour is observed there.
Other chapters of the book be them interesting are too brief to be clinical useful. For example, there is a chapter on case histories and I personally feel this is an area in western TCM literature that is severely lacking. There is no shortage of books describing the signs and symptoms of zang fu disorders and their text book treatments but not much beyond that. In Clinical Pearls, unfortunately the case histories are few and brief and those practitioners not familiar with herb formula names like “Precious Sea” pills, will have to work out what it is.
In contrast, another chapter is only 1 page long but extremely useful and interesting, that being The View of Tobacco in Chinese Medicine. I will be quoting from section, next time I wrote a post about acupuncture and smoking for my website. Thanks Giovanni!
I have tried not to regret that this copy was intended for the New Zealand register of Acupuncturists Inc library and not destined for my own personal TCM library.
Giovanni has a section on emotions and within it is a quote from the ancient Daoist text Nei Ye that obviously was intended for me.
“If you are tranquil, you will attain the Dao. If you are agitated, you will lose it”
So yes, Giovanni’s Clinical Pearls is on the list of my must have TCM books. You can order Clinical Pearls from Amazon.