Chinese Medicine History and Contemporary Practice in the West

David Publishing Company
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Health Science, 2014, 2 pp. 284 - 290 (7)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
In the health care professions today, research guides best clinical practice. Yet, the methodological constraints required by the two main branches of research into Chinese medicine—bio-scientific and socio-historical—rarely assist Chinese medicine students, practitioners, or clinical researchers with treatment and practice issues. A great deal of bio-scientific research assumes that it must be possible to utilise and test Chinese medicine from within a biomedical framework. However, by isolating therapeutic techniques and substances and standardising treatment protocols, bio-scientific research removes Chinese medicine’s inbuilt flexibility and responsiveness to clinical instances and changes. While researchers in the historical and social sciences can reveal the sophisticated discourses built around Chinese medicine’s distinctive approach to knowing the world and the body–person, they normally do not discuss the implications of their work for contemporary clinical practice. The paper advocates a synthetic approach using multidisciplinary sources within and adjacent to the field of Chinese medicine. Multidisciplinary researchers contest the simplified and biomedicalised version of Chinese medicine generally available in English speaking countries today. They can assist English speakers to approach Chinese medicine’s traditional perspectives, demonstrate their relevance for contemporary clinical practice and help restore the traditional connectedness between Chinese medicine’s theoretical concepts and its treatment methods.
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