By Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)
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Additional info for Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine
After I had reflected on what I had done I found my notions hit with the Chinese Practice, about which I consulted many printed Travels . 53 As this passage suggests, almost every description of China available in Floyer's time contained some mention of pulse medicine; it was the subject of intense curiosity particularly in this period, following the European discovery of the circulation of the blood. For Floyer, the ancient use of the pulse as a diagnostic tool, and the great efficacy 32 Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine attributed to Chinese medical practice by the Jesuits validated the idea of relying on a physical sign, while the intractable source of Chinese expertise ± long experience, rather than any particular depth of anatomical knowledge ± offered a reason for turning to a mechanical aidede-camp, in the form of a pulse-watch and a set of tables.
25 In Britain ± with its established distaste for scholasticism and its new fondness for dissection ± medical professionals were even more critical of Chinese medical knowledge. Drawing upon the scholarly texts produced by medical men posted in Asia as well as general works on China and Japan, one medical commentator, Dr R. James, described Chinese practice as composed essentially of obscure texts and straightforward simples. This version of Asian medical practice noted the points which so surprised Staunton and Barrow in Chusan, but with a difference in emphasis: They acquire a knowledge of diseases by a long and tedious observation of the pulses .
However, `scientific' medicine gained ascendancy only in stages, and the case of Ho-Shen also reveals the continuing tradition of systemic relationship between the health of the body and the state of its environment in western medicine. Consider what were seen to be appropriate diagnostic procedures, as illustrated by Gillan's interview with the Colao. The central argument he made in his report was the importance of questioning the patient directly. The answers he recorded from this direct questioning do illuminate the importance of establishing the exact physical symptoms experienced by the sufferer, but they also demonstrate an exploration of the potential connections between those physical signs and their natural and social context.
Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine by Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)