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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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TCM: Western Fears, Chinese Set Pieces

TCM: Western Fears, Chinese Set Pieces

Chapter:
93 TCM: Western Fears, Chinese Set Pieces
Source:
What Is Medicine?
Author(s):

Paul U. Unschuld

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0093

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has had a reassuring effect on Western nations, came from China and some parts of Japan and Korea. The Chinese were needed as technicians in Western private clinics. There, they were skilful helpers. However, the fears of the citizens of industrialized Western nations were foreign to them. Tailoring so-called Chinese medicine to these fears is something they could not and perhaps still cannot manage. Modern immunology offered enough of war in the humans' bodies, not so much by the immunologists themselves, but by their interpreters: science journalists. For most people, the encounter with a potentially fatal illness is the most existential threat there is. No one wants to experience war in their own house, much less in their own body. At a time of existential fear, what is wanted is to feel warmth, empathy, and harmony. This is what TCM offers. It seems reassuring.

Keywords:   traditional Chinese medicine, Western nations, Chinese, modern immunology, war, harmony

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