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by Damo Mitchell, Spencer Hill
This is like a complete course in Chinese medicine in graphic novel form. It's mostly in full color and explains the correspondences between ailments of internal organs and symptoms that might be in physical form or personality clues in a sort of parable form.
The book explains meridian point locations according to Traditional Chinese medicine as well as other esoteric terms including Zang Fu syndromes. While I've never been sure what I thought about Chinese medicine and its growing popularity in the west, this at least explains it in a simple and even amusing form.
The Preface explains that Chinese medicine is largely about identifying underlying causes of disharmony in the body. It also explains that the book illustrates 78 Zang Fu syndromes and that anything else that might be out of balance can be assessed once these are learned.
The cartoon characters who take us through the book include the Monkey Emperor, which should be a familiar idea to anyone who has followed any Chinese literature, and a wise bee. We also have a pig, a dog, a donkey, a horse, a duck, a goat, a snake, a rat, a dragon and various other creatures like a sheep and a couple of bovines.
Bee Bo explains to the Monkey Emperor the basic concepts of Chinese medicine is a straight forward way that anyone could follow and absorb. Through the Monkey Emperor asking questions, the reader will learn a lot about the basics in very little time. About 15 pages in, it becomes more visual with cartoon images of our animal characters.
The books reads fast from this point in full graphic novel form. It's entertaining and holds attention, yet many concepts are explained in this simple and visual form. The emphasis is on symptoms, including behavioral and mood symptoms in concert with the physical, and in dianosis. While herbs and acupuncture needles are referred to as treatment, no detail if given about these cures.
The book is divided into sections based on seasons which are relevant to the ailments they cover. I found it both interesting and entertaining, though I had hoped for information on what herbs might be used for the conditions and maybe even accupressure points. It is meant to be a starting point and in that it succeeds. I have a much better idea of what Chinese medicine is about for having read it and I enjoyed the humor along the way.