Applying Stems and Branches Acupuncture in Clinical Practice,

Dynamic Dualities in Classical Chinese Medicine

By Joan Duveen

Here are some reviews:

‘Joan Duveen masterfully explains the complexities and subtleties of this ancient system
that lies at the heart of Chinese medicine. He smartly unfolds the workings of the
heavenly stems and earthly branches, allowing practitioners to utilize this effective
information in their personal cultivation and clinical practice. I highly recommend this
book to people looking for understanding of the universal qi flow.’
– CT Holman, author of Treating Emotional Trauma with
Chinese Medicine and Shamanism in Chinese Medicine

‘The theory and practice of stems and branches belongs to the oldest, most complex
foundations of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Few acupuncturists know and
master this ancient theory of ‘‘the rhythm of the laws of qi’’ as well as Joan Duveen. In
this book, he has succeeded in explaining this difficult subject in a clear, structured and
pleasantly readable way, so that it can also be applied in daily practice. It is a book that
should be a standard part of every acupuncture course, in order to understand what
Chinese medicine is all about.’
– Yan Schroën, practitioner, lecturer and researcher of Chinese medicine

‘‘‘Mind-blowing’’ was my first impression of Joan’s teachings, almost 30 years ago…
‘‘Mind-blowing’’ is my impression again, upon laying down this fascinating book. With
love, compassion and humility, Joan shares with us his knowledge – gained through
decades of diligent study, clinical experience and personal development. This is a
book about constitutional acupuncture and healing; but even more so, it is a book of
humanity and humaneness, written by a master acupuncturist and a truly inspiring
teacher. I believe it will be a cornerstone for deeper understanding and an inspiration
for generations of acupuncturists to come.’
– Rani Ayal, constitutional acupuncturist and teacher

‘Chinese medicine, as defined by the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, embodies a
holistic system of scientific knowledge that regards the human body as a microcosm
in the context of an all-encompassing cosmic environment. It represents one of the
world’s most time-honoured alchemical traditions, examining the phenomenon of
human existence in the process of its continuous fusion with heaven and earth. At a
time when the limits of the monodimensional approach of materialist science and its
repercussions in the field of modern medicine have become more apparent than ever,
Joan Duveen’s excellent introduction to the intricate macrocosmic background sciences
of Chinese medicine is cause for celebration. His monograph on the stems and branches
system of cyclical energy calculation not only honours the lineage of J.D. van Buren,
one of the first European master teachers of this wisdom tradition, but also makes
this once hermetic information approachable by enriching it with a lifetime of clinical
insights from a senior practitioner of acupuncture. I highly recommend this book for
every student and practitioner of Chinese medicine!’
– Heiner Fruehauf, PhD, Lac, founding professor, College of Classical Chinese Medicine,
National University of Natural Medicine, Portland, Oregon

‘I have read this book with pleasure and at times could not put it down, which is rare
for a study book. Joan is able to grip the reader and explain the different aspects of the
stems and branches theory in a concise and understandable way, which will help many
who read this book.
Furthermore, he forces the reader to look at their personal development, which to
my mind is irrevocably linked to this theory. You cannot work with this material without
looking at yourself. Then it will grow and you can make it your own. I believe that has
always been the aim of Dr van Buren. It is wonderful to see little aspects of ‘‘the great
master’’ mirrored in Joan’s words and attitude.
Joan also makes it very clear that you have to read the pulses correctly and to the
best of your ability to be able to apply stems and branches. That was something Dr van
Buren was a master at. He would always listen to the pulses above all else and adapt
his treatment accordingly. He always said ‘‘stems and branches mean nothing if it does
not fit the pulses’’.’
– Pauline van Buren, wife of Dr J.D. van Buren (deceased) and former principal of the
International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM)

‘In a subject where written works are few and the original texts in the Neijing Suwen
give little guidance on their application to clinical practice, Joan Duveen’s mature and
thoughtful book is a welcome addition to the literature, backed as it is by years of
clinical and teaching experience. If you have been curious about stems and branches
acupuncture but don’t know where to begin, this book provides an excellent entry point
into that world.’
– Peter Firebrace FBAcC, acupuncturist, writer, lecturer, director of Guan Academy, past
principal of the International College of Oriental Medicine (UK)

‘The heavenly stems and earthly branches (GanZhi), a rich and multi-layered system with
roots soundly embedded in the ancient Chinese cosmological sciences, has been used
for thousands of years to codify the patterns of life. The GanZhi are the building blocks
that allow us to dive ever deeper into the arts of Chinese astrology, Chinese cosmology,
classical Chinese medicine and more. In this work, Joan Duveen shares decades’ worth
of study and clinical experience to guide practitioners in learning how to use the GanZhi
to both gain insight into the constitutional patterns that shape a person’s health and
wellbeing throughout their life stages, and to guide effective treatment. Demonstrated
through valuable case studies, this book is an important manual for Chinese medicine
students and practitioners and all those who are interested in the practical application
of the time-honoured GanZhi arts.’
– Master Zhongxian Wu, lifelong Daoist practitioner and author of
15 books on Chinese wisdom traditions

‘Joan Duveen is a leading practitioner and scholar of Chinese medicine. His new text,
Applying Stems and Branches Acupuncture in Clinical Practice, takes us on a deep dive into
an important, and often neglected, dimension of clinical practice. Joan presents Chinese
medicine in an ecological context, embracing a deeply compassionate and integral view
of the self. This work should improve our grasp of the subtleties of physiology and the
relationship between constitutional endowment and life experience in the evolution
of the self. I have waited 20 years for Joan to complete this work and am delighted with
its depth and humanity.’
– Lonny Jarrett, practitioner, scholar and author of Nourishing Destiny, Clinical
Practice, and Deepening Perspectives on Chinese Medicine