Review: A Tooth from the Tiger's Mouth
By Tom Bisio
Reviewed by Narrye Caldwell, L.Ac.
Available through Plum Publications: yes
Tom Bisio's book is a welcome addition to the literature on treating injuries with Chinese Medicine. It will be useful for practitioners of Chinese medicine, martial artists, and athletes. The detailed treatment protocols are an invaluable resource for practitioners, and make this book worthy of every clinician's shelf. The clear presentation of theory, practical approach to injury prevention, and effective first aid strategies make this book equally useful for martial artists and athletes of every sort.
The book is divided into four sections. In part I the author explains the principles of treating sports injuries, including the anatomy of injuries from both a western and Chinese perspective. Bisio gives a thorough explanation of sinew injuries and fractures, including the different stages of injury and treatment strategies for each stage. I applaud his clear and much needed explanation of why icing an injury can do more harm than good, and his inclusion of treatment methods that successfully deal with inflammation and swelling without the negative side effects of ice.
Section II covers injury prevention including appropriate exercise, diet, self-massage, and meditation. There is a helpful explanation of the problems caused by western style stretching and strength training. Bisio understands these issues, and gives alternative approaches without insisting that we give up our cultural attachment to "fitness." His section on diet and nutrition is grounded in a thorough knowledge of Chinese dietetics. He gives us a common sense approach to nutrition for health maintenence and injury prevention. He won me over with his story about the runner whose knee problems were aggravated by drinking large amounts of orange juice every day, as I've encountered this exact weird scenario in my own practice. (Of course, you'll have to read the book for an explanation of this phenomenon.)
We get the clinical meat of the book in Sections III and IV which cover treatment methods and specific protocols. Bisio gives an excellent description of cupping and bleeding techniques (not easy to explain without a demonstration but he manages it quite well,) and covers the use of liniments, plasters, poultices, soaks, acupuncture points, and herb formulas. The treatment protocols give us first aid, follow up treatments, and exercises for 33 commonly encountered injuries.
This is an accessible and authoritative book from a practitioner who knows his stuff and has plenty of practical experience. I highly recommend it for practitioners, martial artists, and athletes.