Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States

Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States : In Search of Spiritual Meaning and Ultimate Health

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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated from the traditional medical system in the Chinese civilization, with influences from the Daoist and Chinese folk traditions in bodily cultivation and longevity techniques. In the past few decades, TCM has become one of the leading alternative medical systems in the United States. This book demonstrates the fluidity of a medical ideological system with a rich history of methodological development and internal theoretical conflicts, continuing to transform in our postmodern world where people and ideas transcend geographic, ethnic, and linguistic limitations. The unique historical trajectories and cultural dynamics of the American society are critical nutrients for the localization of TCM, while the constant traffic of travelers and immigrants foster the globalizing tendency of TCM. The practitioners in this book represent an incredible range of clinical applications, personal styles, theoretical rationalizations, and business models. What really unifies all these practitioners is not their specific practices but the goal of these practices.
The shared goal is to strive for health, not just health in terms of the lack of illness but the ultimate health of achieving perfect balance in every aspect of the being of a person-physically, mentally, spiritually, and energetically.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 244 pages
  • 254 x 370.84 x 27.94mm | 498.95g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white tables
  • 0739173669
  • 9780739173664

Review quote

Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States is an insightful and captivating ethnography of Chinese medicine practitioners in the San Francisco Bay area, one that reveals their socialization as students and experiences as clinicians into a world where East meets West perhaps more so than in any place in the United States. Religious studies scholar Emily S. Wu has written a masterful cultural interpretive or phenomenological examination of both Asian American and European American practitioners who have sought to adapt the psychic, spiritual, cultural, and environmental insights of an ancient medical tradition to a post-modern society where many people have sought meaningful alternatives or complements to Western biomedicine which all too still remains reductionist in its treatment of illness and the healing of the body politic. Her book makes an important contribution to the study of medical pluralism and complementary and alternative medical systems in American society. -- Hans Baer, University of Melbourne Emily Wu's Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States makes a key contribution to the growing body of literature on Chinese Medicine in the United States, with a focus on San Francisco. This highly readable work takes us through the world of the city's practitioners, while deftly tracing the history of the medicine in California and the impact of such cultural factors as racial politics, steps taken to establish the medicine's legitimacy, the impact of HIV/AIDS, and new developments like the Community Acupuncture movement. The transmission of the tradition in its different forms and branches, the fluctuating relationships with biomedicine, the fluid understandings of science, and practitioners' different approaches to the spiritual dimension of human existence and self-cultivation practices combine to further enrich Wu's discussion. An excellent addition to the field. -- Linda L. Barnes, Boston University
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About Emily S. Wu

Emily S. Wu is a college instructor in the San Francisco Bay area and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Asian religions and cultures. Her current research primarily focuses on Chinese and Chinese American religious practices and beliefs that intersect with medicine, healing, and understandings of the human body.
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Table of contents

Preface Personal Beginning Introduction Chapter 1: Contextualization Chapter 2: History of Local TCM Chapter 3: Medical Training and Identity Formation Chapter 4: TCM Healers in the Chinese Community Chapter 5: TCM as Complementary Medicine Chapter 6: TCM as Alternative Medicine Chapter 7: Creating a Space for Psychic Healing Chapter 8: Going to the Culturally Authentic Chapter 9: Environmentalism and Lifestyle Changes Chapter 10: The Happenings in an Acupuncture Clinic Chapter 11: The Embodied Spirituality of Qi Chapter 12: Ideal Body and the Concept of Health Chapter 13: Concluding Analysis
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