Download Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China by Nancy N. Chen PDF

By Nancy N. Chen

The charismatic type of therapeutic referred to as qigong, in accordance with meditative respiring workouts, has completed huge, immense reputation in China over the past twenty years. Qigong served a severe social organizational functionality, as practitioners shaped new casual networks, occasionally on a world scale, at a time while China used to be transferring from state-subsidized remedy to for-profit marketplace drugs. The emergence of latest mental states deemed to be deviant led the chinese language kingdom to "medicalize" sure varieties whereas championing medical types of qigong. in contrast, qigong remains to be promoted open air China as a conventional therapeutic perform. respiring areas brings to lifestyles the narratives of diverse practitioners, healers, psychiatric sufferers, medical professionals, and bureaucrats, revealing the numerous and sometimes dramatic methods they focus on marketplace reform and social adjustments in China.

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Additional resources for Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China

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28 Introduction While qigong in the North American context can be understood as an alternative or traditional healing practice, my analysis of this practice in a very different context hopes to offer a more nuanced understanding of the cultural dimensions of medicine. Though healing practices and beliefs may travel quickly, circulate widely, and exist simultaneously in all corners of the world, their historical contexts and political meanings can differ and matter greatly. While traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts have been practiced for over a century in the United States, qigong did not reach the North American public scene until the 1980s.

Disciplined and healthy bodies are viewed as the primary building blocks for nation building and the image of the Chinese socialist state. China’s plannedbirth policy in particular has been a key example of the production and surveillance of bodies in post-Mao China (Anagnost 1997). Susan Brownell’s (1995) ethnography of Chinese athletes explores the notion of body culture, which incorporates concepts of body techniques by Mauss, habitus and practice by Bourdieu, and micro techniques of discipline from Foucault.

Biomedicine has been imported and practiced worldwide for over a century. Complementary medicine can be viewed as a middle ground in which both biomedical and alternative medical interventions are employed by patients, often those diagnosed with terminal disease or chronic illness. Rather than choosing one system over another, patients take the pragmatic “whatever works” plural approach to treatment. It is now common for patients to undergo radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment and then seek holistic 26 Introduction alternatives to recover from the extremely toxic and iatrogenic dosages of biomedicine.

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