The central theme of this work is expressed through three distinct elements that comprise the theoretical development and the practical growth of Chinese medicine.
The first is magical correspondence. The second is empirical, practical medicine-the folk knowledge of herbs and substances that aided in the treatment of disease. The third is the professional knowledge of the pharmacist or acupuncturist, a medicine of systematic correspondences. Unschulds work teaches us that medicine is heavily influenced by the society in which it is practiced. The perspectives he offers, and the models he explains, help the reader to develop a broad understanding of Chinese medicine and recognize the antecedents for modern ideas. He provides a means by which we may recognize when we can or cannot call upon the long experience of Chinese medicine to validate our own adaptations. His translational and academic rigor allows the conceptual integrity of Chinese medicine to be preserved, thereby opening up to the reader a gateway to an understanding of a large and illustrious body of classical literature.