Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China

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Columbia University Press, Aug 5, 2003 - Social Science - 256 pages
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The charismatic form of healing called qigong, based on meditative breathing exercises, has achieved enormous popularity in China during the last two decades. Qigong served a critical social organizational function, as practitioners formed new informal networks, sometimes on an international scale, at a time when China was shifting from state-subsidized medical care to for-profit market medicine. The emergence of new psychological states deemed to be deviant led the Chinese state to "medicalize" certain forms while championing scientific versions of qigong. By contrast, qigong continues to be promoted outside China as a traditional healing practice. Breathing Spaces brings to life the narratives of numerous practitioners, healers, psychiatric patients, doctors, and bureaucrats, revealing the varied and often dramatic ways they cope with market reform and social changes in China.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Fever
35
3 Riding the Tiger
61
4 Qigong Deviation or Psychosis
77
5 Chinese Psychiatry and the Search for Order
107
6 Mandate of Science
139
7 Transnational Qigong
159
8 Suffering and Healing
185
Glossary
189
Notes
193
Bibliography
199
Index
233
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About the author (2003)

Nancy N. Chen is associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A medical anthropologist, she also teaches courses on food, ethnographic film, urban anthropology, China, and Asian Americans.


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