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

By Nancy N. Chen

The charismatic kind of therapeutic referred to as qigong, in keeping with meditative respiring workouts, has completed huge, immense reputation in China over the last 20 years. Qigong served a serious social organizational functionality, as practitioners shaped new casual networks, occasionally on a global scale, at a time while China was once transferring from state-subsidized treatment to for-profit marketplace drugs. The emergence of latest mental states deemed to be deviant led the chinese language country to "medicalize" convinced varieties whereas championing clinical models of qigong. in contrast, qigong is still promoted outdoors 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 infrequently dramatic methods they deal with marketplace reform and social adjustments in China.

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

Sample text

In spite of technological advances in biomedicine, the impulse to seek traditional, natural, and epistemologically different systems of healing to counter lifelong problems with chronic illnesses deemed incurable or terminal diseases has fundamentally reshaped the picture of medicine in the United States as well as other countries. The official medical establishment, embodied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others, has long had an uneasy relationship with such healing practices.

For instance, mass qigong sessions were temporary gatherings, yet participants reported experiencing long-lasting effects. The transformation of spatial and temporal boundaries of the work unit, state media, and streets in China was far-reaching. The political and economic context in which qigong emerged serves not only as a backdrop but as a critical point of enquiry about body politics. Emily Martin’s (1994) analysis of the immune system provides useful clues for understanding what is at stake in contestations over the popular practice of qigong.

Though traditional Daoist cultivation practices involved rituals of breathing, meditation, and fasting, contemporary notions of cultivation can include a wider range of practices that incorporate more recent technologies of leisure and self-improvement. On daily visits to parks, one would see mostly elderly retirees walking briskly on sidewalks or leaning against fences to stretch their legs. Nearby, in pavilions or open concrete spaces, groups of middle-aged couples would waltz or tango to strains of concert music from a single tape player.

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