The authors explicate the different view of life inherent in Chinese medicine by metaphorically comparing the Chinese doctor as a gardener to the Western physician as a mechanic. Within this context, Chinese medical concepts such as yin-yang, qi, moisture and blood, organ networks, and the five phases emerge as images that readers can understand experientially, not simply as cold abstractions. Each image calls upon concepts and ideas with considerable force in modern thought: relativity, holism, models, and paradigms. From this basis, five broad character types are developed: the Pioneer, who is determined to make things happen; the Wizard, who searches for magic and excitement; the Peacemaker, who strives to harmonize the world; the Alchemist, who masters form and function; and the Philosopher, who is relentless in the pursuit of truth. Each archetype is a composite image of the strengths and weaknesses, the physical and mental qualities and attributes, that are associated with one of the five phases. The final section of the text describes acupuncture and herbal medicine therapies. One section includes fifty points for self-care, a practical selection of prepared herbal formulas, and a description of how diet can be applied to health. The whole text is thoroughly readable. While designed for the layperson, it provides a language of images that many practitioners will find irresistible and useful for discourse with patients.