Zhang Yanhua

Transforming Emotions with Chinese Medicine

An Ethnographic Account From Contemporary China

  • ISBN: 9780791470008
  • 2007, 191 pages


Delivery time: undetermined, app. in 2018, order is booked


The author conducted a 12-month ethnographic field study on emotion-related disorders in various Beijing clinics and hospitals of Chinese medicine.
His book brilliantly illuminates this TCM construct for Western readers who may be conceptually hampered by linear models of biomedical diagnosis, unable to sort through a chaos of symptoms to derive a treatable pattern of illness.
It conveys emotion-related disorders as they are understood, experienced, and treated in the zhongyi (TCM) clinics in contemporary China.
We see that emotion-related disorders are not directly correlate to emotional disorders or mental disorders in Western psychiatric conceptualization.
The TCM construct is used loosely to include a group of illness patterns originating from internal damage attributable to excessive emotions and marked with certain configurations of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
This meaning reflects ongoing social and political dynamics in contemporary Chinese society and changes in the profession of Chinese medicine through decades of state-sponsored TCM modernization.
The way in which a TCM disorder is conceptualized, experienced, diagnosed, and treated remains permeated with culture and tradition.
This work covers an extensive range of complex ideas in a heady but accessible manner, offering a rich array of material for cogitative assimilation.
Part of the SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture by editor Roger T. Ames.

… a comprehensive account of the Chinese medicine physician’s practice of mental care.
— Asian Anthropology

… carefully prepares the reader for the ethnographic encounter with an excellent introduction to the history and contemporary practice of Chinese medicine that draws on current textbooks, classics of Chinese medicine, the author’s own fieldwork and secondary literature … this exquisitely crafted book sets a new standard in the anthropology of Chinese medicine.
— Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

The author has covered an amazing range of complex ideas in a reader-friendly format, increasing our understanding of both Chinese and conventional Western models. I know of no other book within the English language literature that accurately and comprehensively addresses traditional Chinese ideas of health psychology.
— Paul Pedersen, University of Hawaii


Zhang Yanhua

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