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  • Writer's picturePhilip Niño Tan-Gatue

Book Review: Adventures in Chinese Medicine by Jennifer Dubowsky

This review was first published online on (link).

Perfect for Patients

The title alone would suggest one important thing: “Adventures in Chinese Medicine” is obviously not meant to be a reference book in a practitioner’s library. It was written with the curious patient in mind. Jennifer Dubowsky – acupuncturist, herbalist, blogger – knew what she wanted to do, and did it magnificently.

Adventures in Chinese Medicine by Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac.

The Book Cover.

Condemnant Quod Non Intellegunt

So what was it that she did? She realized that, as a practitioner, many people in western cultured societies (my Philippines included) have a hard time grasping the concepts that Traditional Chinese Medicine folks spout and talk about all the time. Sure, everyone has heard of terminology such as Qi, Blood, the Heatiness and Coolness of foods and herbs, and the like. The general public has barely scratched the surface about acupuncture and herbal formulas. Thus, society is vulnerable to misunderstanding the vocabulary, concepts and culture behind TCM because of the lack of this awareness. This misunderstanding, in my opinion as a practitioner myself, is often the root of skepticism. In Latin, “condemnant quod non intellegunt” – they criticize what they don’t understand.

The Good Book

Jennifer Dubowsky then set out to rectify this situation. “Adventures in Chinese Medicine” is written in a straightforward, easy to read, flowing manner. The reader will not be turned overnight into an expert in Chinese culture and TCM concepts, but the text serves as a key into opening one’s mind to what Chinese Medicine is all about. The result of this is that the communication gap between practitioner and client is bridged, and a more thorough exchange of ideas is possible.

There have been other attempts to write TCM concept books for laymen, but the difference with “Adventures in Chinese Medicine” for me is the preponderance of practical examples to illustrate points being made. Let’s just say that I thought I was good with using analogies to explain TCM theory to patients, yet I find myself having eureka moments myself while reading Jennifer’s magnum opus. I have the kindle version, and I find myself bookmarking it and showing to patients when I want to explain trickier concepts (usually the heat or cold foods).

Jennifer Dubowsky with her book.

Jennifer Dubowsky with her book.

Of course, there are some concepts and ideas where I may disagree slightly with Ms. Dubowsky, but such differences are tantamount to theologians arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and thus is inconsequential to the purpose of the book.

All in all, this book should be in the waiting room of every oriental medicine clinic. I have no hesitations in giving this work five stars.

Disclaimer: While Ms. Dubowsky is a friend of mine, I was not compensated for this review in any way.  I had purchased the book via kindle and decided to review it on my own.  Visit her blog at

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