This book is, sadly, a mainstay in Chinese medicine colleges across the U.S., for the sole reason that specific passages from it are tested on the National and various state board exams. It's hard to imagine how a basic textbook could be worse than this one. The terminology used is unclear, unglossed, and totally non-standard. The quality of the writing ranges from marginal to completely unintelligible. Many basic essentials of acupuncture theory go unmentioned or covered in such an obscure and cursory manner as to be of no value to beginning students, for whom the book is supposedly intended, which is all the more ironic considering the book's title in earlier editions was "Essentials of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion." We wrestled with this book when I was a student, trying to glean something of value from it, and now my own students are faced with the same struggle. It's a shame this book is still considered a standard, since virtually all of its competitors are in every way superior. Ellis, Boss, and Wiseman's Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture is far better as a basic English-language textbook on this subject, since it is comprehensive, understandable, and inexpensive.
Unfortunately, I couldn't choose zero stars. This is a pretty bad translation from Chinese authors. It's been the standard for a long time. The needling depths, etc. are essential... but can be found in other books like Deadman's Manual of Acupuncture. Particularly nice are the meridian pathway full-color pictures with the asian man in his underwear. What were they thinking? It's not all bad, but I wish someone would edit it or write a better reference! No wait, Peter Deadman already did! Maybe we could get rid of CAM and replace it with the Manual of Acupuncture... please!