A Spark In The Machine

Probably one of the most challenging things in Integrative Medicine is to understand the different modalities well enough for practitioners to communicate effectively and to truly integrate treatment. One book is by far the best I’ve ever read for Eastern and Western medicine to find common ground.

The following few paragraphs are from a review I wrote for Amazon on The Spark in the Machine – How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine  By Dr. Daniel Keown M.B. Ch. B., Lic.Ac.

The Spark in the Machine is a must read for acupuncturists, medical doctors, nurses and anyone else active in Integrative Medicine. For that matter, it’s a fascinating, informative and accessible read for anyone interested in the future of medicine.

What Dr. Keown has done is basically a translation of the poetic language of acupuncture into the technical language of modern medical science. What is most fascinating and eye opening is that the poetry is actually more literal than metaphoric.

For instance, he proposes that the fascia is the link between acupuncture and anatomy. The fascia define compartments in the body and the spaces between the fascia are where the internal meridians lie. Acupuncture describes the meridians as the “empty spaces”, which makes complete sense when you recognize what surgeons know, that there is an empty space between the fascia.

I especially appreciate that Dr. Keown clearly explains how neither the Gate-Control theory nor the Endorphin Theory of acupuncture espoused by the West is correct. These theories only offer a possible explanation of why acupuncture works for anesthesia. However, they can’t explain how chronic pain can go away for months or even years. If this were the explanation for the effect it would operate for only minutes after the needles were removed. Also these incorrect theories seem to relegate acupuncture to the treatment of pain and totally negate its success with such diverse issues as infertility, IBS, chronic bronchitis, migraines and insomnia, just to name a few.

Like other reviewers, I appreciate that he writes in a style that is accessible but find his style sometimes a little too “cutesy”. For instance, I think it is off putting to have the text contain a slur against Margaret Thatcher. It’s not that I disagree with his politics, it’s that it has nothing to do with the subject matter. It seems like he’s trying to be clever, which I find annoying and redundant since he is obviously brilliant. That being said, The Spark In The Machine gets five stars from me.

Disclaimer:  This blog is not intended to be a substitute for personal, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.