Traditional Chinese Medicine

Heritage and Adaptation

Paul U. Unschuld. Translated by Bridie Andrews

Columbia University Press

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Pub Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780231175012

184 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $20.00£14.95

Pub Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780231175005

184 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780231546263

184 Pages

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List Price: $19.99£14.95

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Heritage and Adaptation

Paul U. Unschuld. Translated by Bridie Andrews

Columbia University Press

A leading authority explains the ideas and practice of Chinese medicine from its beginnings in antiquity to today. Paul U. Unschuld describes medicine's close connection with culture and politics throughout Chinese history. He brings together texts, techniques, and worldviews to understand changing Chinese attitudes toward healing and the significance of traditional Chinese medicine in both China and the Western world.

Unschuld reveals the emergence of a Chinese medical tradition built around a new understanding of the human being, considering beliefs in the influence of cosmology, numerology, and the supernatural on the health of the living. He describes the variety of therapeutic approaches in Chinese culture, the history of pharmacology and techniques such as acupuncture, and the global exchange of medical knowledge. Insights are offered into the twentieth-century decline of traditional medicine, as military defeats caused reformers and revolutionaries to import medical knowledge as part of the construction of a new China. Unschuld also recounts the reception of traditional Chinese medicine in the West since the 1970s, where it is often considered an alternative to Western medicine at the same time as China seeks to incorporate elements of its medical traditions into a scientific framework. This concise and compelling introduction to medical thought and history suggests that Chinese medicine is also a guide to Chinese civilization.
This small volume by one of the most distinguished living historians of traditional Chinese medicine is a tour de force of specialist knowledge. Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania
​[Unschuld is] the West’s leading authority on ancient Chinese healing practices. One of the first Western scholars to tackle Chinese medicine in a systematic and serious way, Dr. Unschuld has seen his subject more as a way to interpret Chinese civilization than as a New Age answer to modern medicine. New York Times
What exactly is traditional Chinese medicine and how did it develop? In this synoptic overview composed for a general audience, Paul Unschuld draws upon his deep knowledge of the history of medicine in China to offer an extraordinarily vigorous and trenchant critique of the popular myths and misconceptions surrounding traditional Chinese medicine. Shigehisa Kuriyama, Harvard University
Preface to the English Edition
Introduction
Part I: The Historical Foundations
1. Origins and Characteristics of Chinese Medicine
2. The Lack of Existential Autonomy
3. The Longing for Existential Autonomy
4. Quotations from the Medical Classics
5. The Banality of Violence
6. The Mawangdui Texts
7. Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology in the New Medicine
8. Deficiencies in the Credibility of the New Medicine
9. The Alternative Model: The View from Illness
10. Radical Healing: Life as a Form of Disease
11. Between Antiquity and the Modern Age
12. Two Medical Authors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
Part II: Modern and Contemporary Times
13. The Confrontation with the Western Way of Life
14. The Persuasiveness of Western Medicine
15. The Opinions of Intellectuals and Politicians
16. The Selection
17. The Surprise
18. The Creative Reception of Chinese Medicine in the West
19. The Objectification of the Discussion: Opportunity and Challenge
Epilogue
Notes
Index

Winner, 2017 Special Book Award of China

About the Author

Paul U. Unschuld is the director of the Institute for the Theory, History, and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences, Charité-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin. His books include What Is Medicine? Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing (2009) and The Fall and Rise of China: Healing the Trauma of History (2013).