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November 1972

The Chinese Art of Healing

Arch Surg. 1972;105(5):807. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180110124040

Stephan Palos is a Hungary-born Buddhist now living in a Tibetan monastery exile in Switzerland. The book, originally published in Hungarian in 1963, was written in two parts.

Part 1 deals with the general principles and philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine. It begins with a succinct account of the historic development of Chinese medical thoughts, including an impressive listing of ancient medical classics. This short, promising beginning is followed by rather disappointing chapters delving into the principles of Yin and Yang, the five elements, the influence of climate and phases of the moon, in a vain attempt of systematization and rationalization. It should be pointed out that there was never any clear formulation of these principles in any of the traditional Chinese medical classics. The interpretation of these texts, because of the inherent difficulty of the language, is relatively vague, going largely on tradition. The result of attempting to explain,