Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States

Linda L. Barnes

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI:
Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States

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Following a front-page story in the New York Times in 1972 by James Reston about his experiences with acupuncture in a Chinese hospital, virtually every article on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in United States media has featured this modality as CAM's poster child, with the patient presented as a wide-eyed face bristling with needles. To a lesser degree, Chinese herbs have made the news as well. This chapter examines constructions of race in the United States; the ways that Chinese healing practices interface with issues of religious identity and expression for Chinese American practitioners; tensions between conversion and appropriation, particularly as both pertain to European American practitioners; and a different aspect of acculturation, the phenomenon of medicalization. These issues are reviewed in relation to broader issues of cross-cultural transmission in the context of globalization.

Keywords: United States; Chinese healing practices; race; complementary medicine; alternative medicine; acupuncture; herbs; medicalization; religious identity; healing; conversion

Chapter.  10419 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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