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The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,637 ratings  ·  117 reviews
The Web That Has No Weaver is a classic and comprehensive volume that discusses the theory and practice of Chinese medicine. Kaptchuks book is an invaluable resource in the field and an authoritative guide that helps readers understand both Western and Eastern healing practices. Here in the revised edition is further research into ancient Chinese practices as well as ...more
ebook, 528 pages
Published November 29th 2010 by RosettaBooks (first published January 1st 1983)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hypochondriana
As a dyed in the wool WASPy westerner, I once struggled with the whole eastern medicine concept. And then I had my gall bladder out, in a modern American hospital, with all the amenities and twice the pain, at which point, I started struggling with the whole western medicine concept.

In order to contain the waves of nausea and continued right upper quadrant pain that followed my surgery (I can still see the surgeon smiling and shrugging as I described my misery), I went in desperation to an
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in Chinese medicine
This is hands down the best book for an English speaking person who is interested in Acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It is very well written and highly informative. Many concepts of Chinese medicine are difficult to express in English and the true meanings become lost in translation. Futhermore, the concepts are far beyond a Western person's mindframe capacity. Dr. Kaptchuk does an incredible job of opening up the concepts to a Western person (such as myself), therefore allowing us to ...more
Tom Gonzalez
Apr 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People interested in Chinese Medicine
I read this thoughtfuly written book while I was soul searching, for I had considered becoming an Oriental Medical practitioner and had given up on Western Medical practices. To me, the fall of medicine in the west was as a result of having lost its way from the compassion centered healing that has been the root of its art, to what now has become a techno-pharmaceutical monstrosity, incestuously merged with managed care and insurance. As a result, sadly, modern physicians no longer touch ...more
Moira Burke
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
An accessible overview of Chinese medicine (primarily acupuncture and herbs) written by a Western physician. It covers the basic philosophy and systems of traditional (Chinese) medicine, and how that differs from biomedicine (Western medicine based on anatomy and modern drugs). My favorite chapters dealt with various kinds of pulses and examining signs on a persons tongue. These techniques reveal a surprising amount of detail about whats happening in the body. My acupuncturist noted that pulse ...more
Jigme Datse
This book was recommended to me by one of my Acupuncturists. Who I can't remember unfortunately. It's really good, gives a good overview of Chinese Medicine, and allows you to understand a bit better the possibilities of what a diagnosis means.

A diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is not the same as in western medicine. For example six people who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia could quite easily have six different diagnoses. The diagnosis is one of what is "causing" the issue much more so than
Jan 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This gets an extra star for being my introduction to Chinese medicine. In truth this is many people's introduction to the medicine, and deserves a lot of credit for that. Certainly worth reading as a first book, especially for those of a very western/scientific mindset. I think if I had read Lonny Jarrett or J.R. Worsley first I would have been thrown off by their language. This book allowed me to move into the idea of the medicine before I needed to understand the origins. For someone with a ...more
May 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-fiction-whoa
I'm really interested in learning about Traditional Chinese Medicine, and this book was recommended to me by my acupuncturist. But, I have to say, I'm getting annoyed by the repetitive style of the author. I think he's so convinced that Westerners won't "get" it that he says things a million times. And maybe I won't "get" it, but the repetition isn't helping.

Ok, I finished it, relatively speaking. I got impatient and started skipping to parts that seemed like they would be relevant to me. Yeah,
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Terry by: Andrea Johanson
Shelves: health
I read this interesting book after my first visit to an accupuncturist. The book was written initially as a laymen's guide, but turns into something pretty technical. It convinced me that Chinese medicine is a valuable tool particularly in addressing disorders which Western medicine does not understand; even better, the accupuncture I recieved helped me get over severe back pain.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much THE book on Chinese Medicine. Not a book to read if you just want to know herbs and folk remedies. This is a book for someone wanting to understand Chinese Medicine, whether to know how to use it, or if you are planning on studying it. It does an excellent job of explaining why Chinese Medicine is not some mystical idea, but an actual art and science just like Western medicine.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting and well-documented book. It's not easy to find someone that can bridge and understand both West and Eastern philosophies. I was looking for a good introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the concepts behind it. This was the right book for it. It gives a broad but very thorough perspective on the matter while maintaining a very neutral and non-judgemental approach, which is, very refreshing.

I'm not a medical specialist and the enumeration of patterns eventually
Chelsea Lawson
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was torn between giving this four or five stars. If you are looking to understand Chinese medicine- the big picture philosophy (yin and yang), how physicians examine for and approach illness (patterns of disharmony), and general techniques for healing (herbs, acupuncture, and lifestyle)- this book is excellent.

You could say that Chinese medicine is more concerned with health and western medicine more concerned with sickness. Or that Chinese medicine is most helpful for healing mild health
Michael Huffman
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
traditional Chinese Medicine

This book is a very good study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's thousands of years of history, the philosophy behind it, how it fits into Chinese culture, how it compares to Western Medicine and how it can work with Western Medicine for the best of both worlds
Janet Still FNP
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic, healing
This book is superb at assisting in the comprehension of chinese/eastern medicine for the western mind. The difference between two very different seeming medical modalities can be bridged once one transcends the inflexible concept that there is only one worldview....plainly there are multiple ways of viewing ourselves and the world we live in.
I have "lost" this book to borrowers so many times I have lost count! I just buy a new one....
Bill Blocksom
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. It is an in depth look at Chinese Medicine from the view of the practitioner. I know that is has been used as a required text in Acupuncture training. After I gave up thinking I was going to remember every detail, I was able to read this a get a good sense of the subject, its artistry, and the contrast with Western medicine. I recommend this book.
Morgan Djuna Sorais Harrigan
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, health
I absolutely love this book! I read it all the way through in 2008. Now I continue to pick it up and reference it all the time!
Heather Rose
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a deep book which is considered one of the essentials for understanding the medicine taught at Bastyr University. It also has alot of appeal to the study of medical anthropology.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
maybe this was a good book, i was too bored to get thru the first chapter. i even tried to read the last but it was boring too.
Nated Doherty
Oct 27, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Pat
Shelves: philosophy
I've never gotten all the way through this, but i've gotten as much out of this as I have out of books i've read all the way through.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
My dear cousin Jill bought this for me for Christmas in a stack of other books that were perfectly calibrated to my current interests. Lucky me!

I didn't read all the way to the end page, and I didn't get through the amazingly comprehensive footnotes, but I did read the body of the book and it was fascinating and very helpful to understand more about the philosophy behind Chinese medicine, which I'd really only understood vaguely before. Folks cite this as the book for beginners wanting to learn
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have always had an interest in acupuncture and alternative health treatments, this book is fascinating I like that it has so much detail about the body . Chinese medicine and their holistic approaches are a big interest of mine, I already have a sound knowledge of Ayurveda so I can see how the overlaps are being made. Can't wait to finish reading this now, wish there was a bit more on the magnetism and magnet healing power I have a real interest in this area.
magnetic bracelet
Ann Michael
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to the differences between western and eastern approaches to health and wellness, but this book is likely to be a bit tedious for the casual reader, as Kaptchuk is quite thorough and goes into the philosophy as well as the 'medicine.' It is NOT a how-to book for people who want to try treating themselves with herbs or moxibustion! It's well-documented with hundreds of studies and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional Chinese approach to wellness and to ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best book for people wants to get more understanding out of TCM without getting lost in muddle concepts explained/ appropriated by self-styled 'gurus' out there.

This book was on our reading list for first year Acupuncture school. For someone coming from an orthodox medical science background, it was a very good bridging text.
SM Zalokar
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic opportunity to better understand the practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine through the Eastern lens. There are ALOT of notes and appendices, so unless you plan to study to be a practitioner, you might skim/skip some sections. This has been an invaluable tool to better understand my own body and the treatments recommended by my acupuncturist.
Sam  Bronstein
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great read for both someone learning how to do acupuncture and someone who wants to understand the basic theories and ideas. As someone who gets treated with acupuncture I now have a better basis of understanding in the questions and practices that happen to me.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: medical
The book was simultaneously presented to biomedical practitioners and students of Chinese medicine. It should have chosen one focus. The appendices were often the length of a chapter and should have been incorporated into the text as such.
Izumi Texidor-Hirai
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for anyone studying TCM.
Joanne McKinnon
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Satisfied my curiosity about Chinese medicine and possible side effects of Chinese Herbs.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
This is the bible for good health. It is accessible and well written. A constant resource in my life.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utterly, completely useless if you want any kind of practical application of TCM in your life. On top of that, it's extremely unclear. Don't waste your time.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The classic introduction to major concepts used in Chinese Medicine. Since writing this book, Kaptchuk has been running the Harvard center for the study of the placebo effect.
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