Chinese Traditional Ideas and the Treatment of Disease: Two Examples from Hong Kong

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
Chinese Traditional Ideas and the Treatment of Disease: Two Examples from Hong Kong

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This chapter is based on data obtained during a study of child-rearing in Hong Kong and deals with problems in the perception, conception, and treatment of two human disorders by Chinese traditional methods. The disorders are measles, and an emotional complaint called haak-ts'an (“injury by fright”). Data were obtained mainly by in-depth interviews with twenty women living in urban Kowloon, and all the women considered the disorders common in childhood and made use of traditional ideas and treatments. The more general aim of the chapter is to present new material on a subject much neglected by anthropology. Part of the analysis concerns the relationship between medical and ritual treatments and its basis in terms of the conceptual material; and it in part deals with the ritual treatments themselves and their further relationship to a wider system of ritual and ceremony.

Keywords: child-rearing; Hong Kong; treatment; human disorders; Chinese traditional methods; measles; haak-ts'an; injury by fright

Chapter.  10510 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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