Photo including the books titled "the first forty days", "an introduction to Chinese Medicine" and "nutritional healing with Chinese Medicine on a wooden background with a plant in the foreground.

Chinese Medicine Book Recommendations

Photo including the books titled "the first forty days", "an introduction to Chinese Medicine" and "nutritional healing with Chinese Medicine on a wooden background with a plant in the foreground.

Are you someone who’s curious to learn more about Chinese Medicine?


Occasionally, I have patients who are incredibly curious about the medicine and ask for book recommendations about Chinese Medicine. Obviously, nobody wants a textbook (unless you’re a student!) but something easily digestible and written for the average lay person. For general curiosities about the medicine, I like to recommend the following books (in no particular order) and have them on our lending shelf in the clinic waiting area for curious minds and spirits of this ancient healing practice!


All books listed below are linked to their respective Amazon pages so you can easily grab a copy of you’re own (or just read the actual description and other reviews about them).





The Spark In The Machine by Daniel Keown

The Spark in the Machine book cover

The Spark in the Machine was written by a medical physician who practiced acupuncture. To clarify, his degree is MBChB and this is like my MBBS degree that clearly indicates, like myself, his medical degree was obtained outside of the US. Anyways, as someone who was a doctor and was pursuing a degree in Chinese Medicine, this was the first book I ever read about the medicine! It was an incredibly great and relatable read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Whether or not you come from a medical background though, I would recommend this book!




The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuck

The Web That Has No Weaver book cover

I will admit, I had a hard time reading this book while I was in school. I haven’t given it another chance since. So, why is it on the list? Because I know plenty of other people (providers and patients alike) who have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it. It goes to say, then, that the book is one that many can certainly resonate and learn from. My difficulty with the read, I believe, was that it was a little more in depth than I was ready for at the time. It’s very likely reading this could be a different experience now. Due to availability, I haven’t been able to grab a copy for my clinic’s lending shelf yet but I plan to and – maybe someday – will find a chance to give it another chance!


Between Heaven & Earth by Harriet Beinfield & Efrem Korngold

Between Heaven & Earth Book Cover

Between Heaven and Earth was one I read while I was in acupuncture school. It is a little more advanced for the average person, though. It’s a great read for those who are interested in studying East Asian Medicine or new in school.


To be honest, if I can find some time between chasing my toddler around and running my growing practice, I’d love to give this a read again since it’s been so many years!



An Introduction To Chinese Medicine by Toby Patrick Daly

An Introduction to Chinese Medicine book cover

This is a quick read with a brief, but insightful answer, for many basic questions about Chinese Medicine. I probably read through it in 15 minutes – that’s how quick and easy a read it is! From questions like “what is Chinese Medicine?” to “does acupuncture hurt?” and “what is yang sheng?” it’s a lovely perusal for the lay person. Peek into the world of Chinese Medicine and what is happening to you while on the table (and in your acupuncturist’s brain). This is the kind of book you read contentedly while waiting for your provider to call you in for treatment.



Why Did You Put That Needle There? by Andy Wegman

Why Did You Put That Needle There? book cover

Another waiting room type of book, this aims to answer the basics of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for the lay person, similarly to An Introduction To Chinese Medicine.


P.S. The title makes use of one of the most common questions most acupuncturists are asked. This book will not answer this question for you at all – I actually saw there’s a 2 star Amazon review because this book did not specifically answer that question. Spoiler alert: it won’t! Why? Because why we put needles in various places and points is based on a medicine that’s thousands years old and a 4 year clinical masters/doctorate.




Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine by Ellen Goldsmith

Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine

The moment this book was released in 2017, I grabbed a copy almost immediately! There are some great textbooks for providers but not a lot are well written for patients (that I know of). This book is filled with the wonderful basics of Chinese Medicine nutritional theories and is plentiful in recipes!





The First Forty Days by Heng Ou

The First Forty Days book cover

If you’re pregnant and interested in learning how to care for yourself during a typical Chinese Confinement Period (other Asian cultures have similar versions of this as well), I highly highly recommend this book! I read it while I was pregnant, knowing that I had full intentions of going all out on doing a Confinement Period. This book not only gives many recipes that you can make use of, but it also goes into the basics of why this period is important for the health of the mother and some basic Chinese Medicine theory in doing so. Recipes and general guidelines for the Confinement Period are outlined here.


These are some of the most commonly talked about in Chinese Medicine circles. Have you come across a book about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine that you enjoyed? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!


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