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...The 'Best Acupuncture Reference Software Award' goes to Acupartner, a product of the Israeli firm Bamboo Software Ltd;

it has excellent content, presentation, and ease of use. At $249, however, it is not a cheap purchase, and a textbook containing comparable information should not cost you more than $50.

Acupartner 4.1 by Bamboo Software

 Unlike most of the other software packages which are available at the moment, Acupartner has been written to a very high standard, both in terms of acupuncture content and its use of computer technology.

The package was conceived and written in Israel, and the authors are a group of Israeli acupuncture practiotioners and teachers. It includes material which would be of interest to both TCM and 5-element practitioners; as an example, there is both a complete list of jing(well) points and a list of horary points. The quality of the material in this CD is such that, although concise, it would constitute a respectable basic acupuncture textbook if it were to be produced in book form.

Installation instructions accompanying the disk are very concise but adequate; the software loaded easily onto my computer. The disk includes a 49 page user manual in electronic format which you have to locate and view or print for yourself.

Other than the manual, there is no on-line help but the product has been so carefully designed that this is not a loss. In all of the screens, it is very easy to understand the information which is being presented and to see what options are available for further navigation.

In purely visual terms, the design of the package, the layout of the screens, and the choice of background colours is attractive and harmonious. The anatomical illustrations are in pleasant pastel colours and make no attempt to show anatomical structures other than bones, which means that they are not as useful as, say, a good quality wall chart.

Acupuncture points are listed according to meridian and nature (e.g. source point), each with an illustration and notes. The point information is of good quality and solidly based on classical texts, and so omits some practices which appear to be of more recent origin, such as application of moxa on Bl 67 zhi yin  to turn a breech baby. There are no warnings about the risks of needling points like St 9 ren ying which are above delicate anatomical structures.

There is a very clever animation effect on the meridian illustrations - each point is illuminated in turn along the course of the meridian, and you can click at any point in order to get full information about it

A section called “Disease” allows you to to come up with a list of TCM syndromes which may relate to a particular symptom. For example it is possible go from Neurological -- Headache -- Blood Deficiency. There is a lot of detail at this level, and the list of symptoms and points presented is appropriate. A comprehensive set of search functions which will enable you to locate information on any symptom, point, or organ. It is also possible to add to or change the information presented, although the original data can always be restored.

At the moment, Acupartner is the only product from Bamboo, although there is the suggestion that practice management, herbal, and diagnostic software may be following on. If the standard is the same as that of Acupartner, then they will be very interesting products indeed.

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