This list was compiled to help newly trained BMAS members select appropriate reading material from the wealth of available acupuncture literature. It is not intended to be fully comprehensive, but represents a selection of useful reading material from reputable sources, reflecting our current understanding of acupuncture theory and practice.
An Introduction to Western Medical Acupuncture
(includes pull out quick reference cards)
by Adrian White, Mike Cummings & Jacqueline Filshie
Foreword by Peter Baldry
This excellent, authoritative and well-referenced book is in a class of its own because it is for the first time that the recently developed Western approach to acupuncture, based on the present-day neurophysiological principles described in its pages, has been written about in such a lucid and wide-ranging manner.
All the various aspects of the subject are dealt with both comprehensively and cogently and from the information provided there can be no doubt that this particular form of acupuncture has has a sound scientific basis and that its employment for certain well-defined disorders is becoming ever increasingly evidence-based...
Basics of Acupuncture 5th edition
by Gabriel Stux, Brian Berman & Bruce Pomeranz
This is a very comprehensive text, which covers both the modern neurophysiological studies, and traditional Chinese concepts. It therefore ends up as a very useful reference work, particularly in respect of its descriptions of all traditional points, with pictures of the meridians; and its lists of points that can be used for a variety of conditions. However, its claim to combine modern and traditional approaches is not achieved in the sense that the two subjects are presented quite separately, and has different authors. A possible weakness of the book for some readers might be that it does not cover the subject of trigger points.
Acupuncture in Practice: Beyond Points and Meridians
by Anthony Campbell
This is a readable basic textbook written by a senior member of the BMAS. His approach is similar to that of Felix Mann, in that there is less emphasis on precise point location and more of a focus on acupuncture treatment areas (ATAs).
Medical Acupuncture: A Western Scientific Approach
Editors: Jacqueline Filshie and Adrian White
Edited by two prominent BMAS members, this book successfully draws together our current understanding of acupuncture, and represents one of the best general textbooks on scientific acupuncture available. With contributions from twenty highly regarded authors, this book remains very readable, although the section on neurophysiology and neuropharmacology is rather daunting. A full review by Colin Lewis is available in the May 1998 edition of the Journal, Acupuncture in Medicine.
Acupuncture, Trigger Points and Musculoskeletal Pain
by Peter Baldry
Peter Baldry is a former lecturer on the BMAS Basic Course. This book is a very detailed and methodical description of trigger points throughout the body, with excellent diagrams. It is a book which repays close study, and then will remain useful for reference. It has the drawback of appearing to argue that acupuncture only works by inactivating trigger points, and the only acupuncture points mentioned are those that are recognised as trigger points as well.
Scientific Basis of Acupuncture
by Bruce Pomeranz & Gabriel Stux
This book was written in 1988, when it offered all the major research scientists working in the field of acupuncture, the chance to summarise their findings and current state of knowledge. The result is an impressive statement of the scientific explanations of (mainly) analgesic effects; the clinical application is probably limited to the frequencies used in electroacupuncture, and how various drugs are synergistic to acupuncture.
Treating Myofascial Pain
by Chan Gunn
Dr Gunn works in Canada and the USA and has given two stimulating advanced courses to the Society. His approach differs from that of standard trigger point theory advanced by Janet Travell: he regards the fundamental lesion in chronic pain as a neuropathy which is the result of spasm of deep paravertebral muscles. He advocates deep and strong needling, at least for his patients who are chronically disabled. He makes no reference to acupuncture points, and in fact no longer regards himself as an acupuncturist. Though the book has undoubted value, therefore, it might be confusing to someone who is just learning acupuncture.
Textbook of Acupuncture
by Felix Mann
The BMAS evolved from an acupuncture society started by Felix Mann some thirty years ago. This volume is a compilation of four books he wrote when he was still pioneering acupuncture in the UK. They lean heavily on his Chinese studies, and reproduce lists of traditional treatments and concepts which were current at the time of writing. He would probably argue himself that much of the book is of historical interest, though the section on scientific aspects is well worth studying.
The Trigger Point Manual
2 VOLUMES - by Janet Travell and David Simons
This is the great classic on the subject of trigger points, although in fact the authors treat their patients with superficial cooling or local anaesthetic injections, rather than acupuncture. The introductory chapters on the general subject of trigger points are a paragon of clarity in explaining the concepts. Every muscle in the body is then described in intricate detail, with referred pain pattern, anatomy, actions, associated muscle groups, factors activating the pain, and techniques for examination and treatment. One of its strengths is its analysis of the factors which perpetuate trigger points and so make successful treatment difficult. This book will be a companion for life for anyone who wants to make a specialty of trigger points; but regrettably the cost is hardly justified for the average Doctor who uses acupuncture part-time.
The Acupuncture Treatment of Pain
by Leon Chaitow
Leon Chaitow is an osteopath who writes on a variety of alternative therapies. This book covers the body in a logical way giving a selection of local, distant and auricular points for each problem. It is well laid out in that all points are illustrated and their positions described on a single page each time they are mentioned. It is a reasonably reliable way to learn more points, and a useful quick reference when your mind goes blank. But it is definitely a "cookbook" so we prefer it to be applied as part of a more flexible approach.