I was approached in around 1990 by a publisher who wondered if I wanted to write an acupuncture points book. I declined because I thought that there were already too many on the market. Some time later I was talking to a friend who pointed out that the fact there were so many meant that there was a significant demand. I then began to conceive the idea of a book that offered much more than anything I’d yet seen.
The next step was to assemble a team. I ended up working with my close friend Mazin Al-Khafaji on the Chinese medicine part of the book and with a friend and colleague – Kevin Baker – on the point locations and illustrations. Mazin translated classical point indications from a variety of textbooks, as well as any commentaries and quotations (he had to educate himself in classical Chinese to achieve this) and together we wrote the point commentaries which are at the heart of the book. We met just about every week for eight years. The work that Kevin and I did was similarly exacting – again consulting numerous books and deciding on the best way to describe the point locations, followed by the careful commissioning of core illustrations. I later spent many hundreds of hours in front of the computer, turning these core illustrations into the point illustrations. As the book neared completion, I devoted myself full time to it for about a year – writing the introductory chapters, choosing the typography style under the guidance of John Chippindale, as well as deciding on paper, binding, cover etc. We tried to be equally fastidious about every single aspect of the book (for example spending a long time on layout to try and ensure that wherever possible the point location and point illustration were on the same page).
Within a year or two of its publication, A Manual of Acupuncture became the standard points text throughout the English-speaking world. As well as the textbook (now also translated into German, French, Italian and Portuguese) it is currently available as a Point Cards Set, a Multimedia DVD and an iphone app (from the Apple app store).