Between Heaven and Earth                                   


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Combining Eastern traditions with Western sensibilities in a unique blend that is relevant today, Between Heaven and Earth addresses three vital areas of Chinese medicine – theory, therapy, and types – to present a comprehensive, yet understandable guide to this ancient system. Whether you are a patient with an agravating complaint or a curious intellectual seeker, Between Heaven and Earth opens the door to a vast storehouse of knowledge.

Excerpts from Foreword

As Chinese medicine takes root in our terrain, it evolves to adapt to our environment. Does a botanist hiking along steep slopes move through the same forest as the native tribesman? Is a mountain that endures the ages the same even though climbers see variable landscapes from epoch to epoch? What the mountain means to people and how they use it changes with each traveler or caravan. Ideas, more mutable and malleable than landmasses, are even more liable to change form. The ancient Chinese had their own mythos, language, circumstances, preoccupations, and we have ours. This book represents a nexus, a point of convergence, a meeting of worlds.

Between Heaven and Earth is a cross-cultural transmission and transplantation. In transposing Chinese ideas into our own idiom, our challenge has been to bridge gaps – between mind and body, theory and practice, therapy and self-care, practitioner and patient, ancient and modern, convention and invention, East and West. We have dug into and mined the rich ore of Chinese medicine for the purpose of creating new metal, a refined alloy. Through cultural blending, we are transmuting wisdom from early China into what has relevance for us today. Welcome to an ongoing process.

We began to practice acupuncture in 1973. Since then we’ve treated thousands of Americans. One was Sam, a 36-year-old biochemist, who had an excruciating pain in his abdomen diagnosed by his doctor as gallstones. Although he felt skeptical about Chinese medicine, he was more frightened by the prospect of surgery. After two months of acupuncture, herbs, and dietary modification, Sam expelled scores of stones, and a sonogram confirmed that surgery was no longer necessary. Esther, a retired 75-year-old nurse, had severe arthritis. After a year, she was free of pain and had recovered the use of her joints and limbs. Fifteen years later, she’d had no recurrence. Yet another person was Suzanne, who at age 28, after three miscarriages and two gynecological surgeries, was unable to conceive. In the eighth month of treatment, she became pregnant and later delivered a healthy daughter, now herself a mother.


“The authors have made a worthy and important contribution. They show how the wisdom of ancient traditions still has great relevance for healing in our modern times. This book will be a valuable source for all those interested in combining the best of the East and West.” —Deepak Chopra, MD

“I have read Between Heaven and Earth with great admiration and interest. It is both encyclopedic in range and completely accessible to the lay reader. The authors have done the public an immense service.” —Richard Selzer, MD

“A fabulous and important book – well-written, profound, and practical.” —Michael Tierra
“Groundbreaking… Here at last is a complete and readable guide to Chinese medicine.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Chinese medicine uses a variety of diagnostic techniques, such as observation, pulse-taking, and questioning, to determine a patient’s type and optimal therapy. Here, two Western practitioners describe for Western lay readers philosophy, diagnostic techniques, and possible treatments. They also show how an understanding of the five Chinese elements – wood, fire, earth, metal, and water – enables one to begin to understand one’s own patterns of physical and emotional health. Beinfeld and Korngold have done a handy job of explaining this esoteric and frequently misunderstood modality.” —Library Journal

“For anyone seriously interested in learning about Chinese medicine, Beinfield and Korngold provide a comprehensive, though technical, look at it. The book is divided into three parts: theory; the psychology of Chinese medicine; and such treatment methods as acupuncture, herbs and diet. Licensed acupunturists, Beinfield and Korngold stress that the models of Eastern and Western medicine are significantly different. Consequently, so are methods, emphases and outcomes. Chinese medicine, they claim, readjusts the body’s balance and enhances self-healing – while Western medicine, in contrast, stresses suppressing and eliminating pathological phenomena, and crisis-intervention. The authors don’t discount the need, in some instances, for Western medicine. In fact, they bring this issue up poignantly with an event close to home: their son was born with a heart anomaly that required specialized surgery. To help maintain his health, his parents incorporated herbal remedies in his diet. A particularly interesting concept is ‘culinary alchemy’ or kitchen medicine, based on the Chinese tenet ‘Who we are determines what is most beneficial for us to eat.’ The authors provide an extensive, cross-referenced compendium of herb names, as well as information on using Chinese herbal medicines for general health problems.” —Publishers Weekly


You can order Between Heaven and Earth from Redwing Books or or other bookshops.
ISBN 0-345-37974-8
Published in 1991 by Ballantine Books
This book is also available in Spanish, Hebrew, Dutch, German, Russian, Polish, and Czech.