Barefoot Doctor (aka Stephen Russell) has been in healing practice since 1983. Described as a modern-day hero of Taoist folklore, he has studied with R D Laing, F B Kramer and was apprenticed to a doctor of Chinese medicine for three years.
Whether or not he's actually a doctor (a passage on the author's credentials makes no mention of a Ph.D., much less an M.D.), British healer Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Handbook for Heroes) boasts two decades as an acupuncturist, martial-arts expert, practitioner of "Wayward Taoism" and alternative health columnist for the London Observer. Forewarned from the first page that the author will not watch his language (no cold clinical terms here) and that he will candidly share his vast personal sexual experience, readers are led into a hip, irreverent romp through "Taoist sexology" lessons. The cheeky Russell explains activities with names like "The Big Squeeze," "Whooshing the Chi" and "Scoopin' the Loop," as well as covering more predictable practices, from French kissing to condoms. However, the subtitle may be misleading, as Russell's brand of "spirituality" should not be confused with ethics or "moral codes," which he personally eschews and mocks as culturally variable. Russell also risks alienating a sizable portion of his potential audience with his vitriolic attitudes toward marriage ("this extreme form of bondage") and his more puzzling assertion that "there is in reality no such thing as a relationship." At the same time, he leaves out dated free-love rantings, tailoring this merry sex manual for millennial readers. (Aug. 14) Forecast: Despite Russell's unusual views, his prose style, free of the earnest tedium that mars so many books about Eastern practices, should appeal to some seekers. One of his previous books, The Tao of Sexual Massage, has sold 500,000 copies worldwide. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"As a Taoist healer/teacher, the Barefoot Doctor's aim is to demystify arcane Eastern wisdom for the modern layperson . . . the ultimate goal is to enter sexual nirvana, a state of undifferentiated bliss where two become one."--"Shape" (UK) "This is a highly entertaining, new age, free-love, anything-goes guide to Taoist sexual secrets."--"The Independent" "A contemporary survival guide that [cuts] a rude, ribald dash through the minefield of modern love." --"Time Out" (London)