Transforming Emotions With Chinese Medicine: An Ethnographic Account from Contemporary China (Suny Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture) (SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture (Paperback))
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Chinese medicine approaches emotions and emotional disorders differently than the Western biomedical model. Transforming Emotions with Chinese Medicine offers an ethnographic account of emotion-related disorders as they are conceived, talked about, experienced, and treated in clinics of Chinese medicine in contemporary China. While Chinese medicine (zhongyi) has been predominantly categorized as herbal therapy that treats physical disorders, it is also well known that Chinese patients routinely go to zhongyi clinics for treatment of illness that might be diagnosed as psychological or emotional in the West. Through participant observation, interviews, case studies, and zhongyi publications, both classic and modern, the author explores the Chinese notion of body-person, unravels cultural constructions of emotion, and examines the way Chinese medicine manipulates body-mind connections."
the virtuosity of exemplary physicians (dayi 大医). Experienced senior physicians of the modern time invariably emphasize the relevance of Chinese medical theories (lilun 理 论) in clinical practices.⁴¹ Senior doctors sometimes complain that the younger generation of Chinese medical doctors has not paid suﬃcient attention to zhongyi theories. My zhongyi teacher claimed that the questions and even the sequence of questions he asks during a clinical consultation are not random at all; like the
associated with a particular illness and if this particular illness was considered a qingzhi disorder. To my great disappointment, despite my diligent notetaking, these two categories of information remained mostly blank in my notes. I noticed that diagnosis in terms of labeling an illness was not a necessary part of zhongyi clinical process at all, and it did not make a signiﬁcant diﬀerence in determining therapy if a given illness was a qingzhi disorder or not. Several times, I directly asked
CA’s interpretive stance toward meaning in general and examines closely the interactive features and structures of communication between a senior male zhongyi doctor and his patient in a case of stagnation of emotions. A typical conversation analysis of clinical interaction systematically examines the “interaction between doctors and patients as a topic in its own right.”⁹ The purpose of CA in such investigations is “to determine general rules governing the behavior of speakers that result in the
doctor-patient talk may be minimal. In other cases, the doctor and patient may engage in lengthy discussions. In standard zhongyi textbooks, doctors are encouraged to use appropriate language to clear out (shudao 疏导 literally “dredge”) blockages in emotion and thinking and to give suggestions (anshi 暗示) in order to accomplish the purpose of treatment.¹⁷ This approach is particularly emphasized in the case of qingzhi disorders. With a patient suﬀering a qingzhi disorder, a doctor tends to spend
1991:441. 20. Ibid., 490–492. 21. The Central National Institute was established in 1930 (Zheng et al. 1991). 22. See Zhen et al. 1991:499–528. 23. In fact, the argument to abandon or radically reform Chinese medicine was presented equally in patriotic terms if not more. 24. Quoted in Zhen et al. 1994:426. 25. See Scheid 2002:66–106. 26. The Chinese original is “Zhongguo yiyao xue shi yi ge weida de baoku, yingdang luli fajue, jiayi tigao 中国医药学是一个伟大的宝库, 应当努力发掘, 加以提高.” 27. Until 1949, all kinds of