Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine

ISBN 9780415830645
Published June 20, 2022 by Routledge
796 Pages 95 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine is an extensive, interdisciplinary guide to the nature of traditional medicine and healing in the Chinese cultural region, and its plural epistemologies. Established experts and the next generation of scholars interpret the ways in which Chinese medicine has been understood and portrayed from the beginning of the empire (third century BCE) to the globalisation of Chinese products and practices in the present day, taking in subjects from ancient medical writings to therapeutic movement, to talismans for healing and traditional medicines that have inspired global solutions to contemporary epidemics. The volume is divided into seven parts:

  • Longue Durée and Formation of Institutions and Traditions
  • Sickness and Healing
  • Food and Sex
  • Spiritual and Orthodox Religious Practices
  • The World of Sinographic Medicine
  • Wider Diasporas
  • Negotiating Modernity

This handbook therefore introduces the broad range of ideas and techniques that comprise pre-modern medicine in China, and the historiographical and ethnographic approaches that have illuminated them. It will prove a useful resource to students and scholars of Chinese studies, and the history of medicine and anthropology. It will also be of interest to practitioners, patients and specialists wishing to refresh their knowledge with the latest developments in the field.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

Table of Contents

Part 1: Longue Durée and Formation of Institutions and Traditions

1. Yin, Yang and Five Agents (Wuxing) in the Basic Questions and Early Han (202 BCE–220 CE) Medical Manuscripts

Chen Yun-ju

2. Qi 氣: a Means for Cohering Natural Knowledge

Michael Stanley-Baker

3. Re-envisioning Chinese Medicine: the view from archaeology

Vivienne Lo and Gu Man

4. The Importance of Numerology, Part I: state ritual and medicine

Deborah Woolf

5. The Importance of Numerology, Part II: medicine: an overview of the application of numbers in Huangdi neijing

Deborah Woolf

6. Therapeutic Exercise in the Medical Practice of Sui China (581–618 CE)

Dolly Yang

7. The Canonicity of the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic: Han through Song

Stephen Boyanton

8. Pre-standardised Pharmacology: Han through Song

Asaf Goldschmidt

9. Chace, C. ‘Developments in Chinese Medicine from the Song through the Qing’

Charles "Chip" Chace

Part 2: Sickness and Healing

10. Ancient Pulse Taking, Complexion and the Rise of Tongue Diagnosis in Modern China

Oli Loi-Koe

11. Case Records Yi'an

Nancy Holroyde-Downing

12. Acupuncture Illustrations

Huang Longxiang and Wang Fang

13. Anatomy and Surgery

Li Jianmin

14. History of Disease: pre-Han to Qing

Lu Di

15. Pre-modern Madness

Chen Hsiu-fen

16. Late Imperial Epidemiology, Part 1: from retrospective diagnosis to epidemics as diagnostic lens for other ends, 1870s to 1970s

Marta Hanson

17. Late Imperial Epidemiology, Part 2: new material and conceptual methods, 1980s to 2010s

Marta Hanson

18. Folk Medicine of the Qing and Republican Periods: a review of therapies in Unschuld's Berlin Manuscripts

Nalini Kirk

Part 3: Food and Sex

19. What not to Eat – How Not to Treat: medical prohibitions

Vivienne Lo and Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira

20. Chinese Traditional Medicine and Diet

Vivienne Lo

21. Food and Dietary Medicine in Chinese Herbal Literature and Beyond

Paul D. Buell

22. The Sexual Body Techniques of Early and Medieval China: Underlying Emic Theories and Basic Methods of a Non-Reproductive Sexual Scenario for Non-Same-Sex Partners

Rodo Pfister

23. Sexing the Chinese Medical body: pre-modern Chinese medicine through the lens of gender

Yishan Wang

24. Gynaecology and Obstetrics from the Tang to the early 21st century

Yi-Li Wu

25. The Question of Sex and Modernity in China, Part 1: from xing to sexual cultivation

Leon Antonio Rocha 

26. The Question of Sex and Modernity in China, Part 2: from new ageism to sexual happiness

Leon Antonio Rocha

Part 4: Spiritual and Orthodox Religious Practices

27. Daoism and Chinese Medicine

Michael Stanley-Baker

28. Buddhist Medicine: overview of concepts, practices, texts and translations

Pierce Salguero

29. Time in Chinese Alchemy

Fabrizio Pregadio

30. Daoist Sexual Practices for Health and Immortality for Women

Elena Valussi

31. Junqueira, L.F.B. Numinous Herbs: stars, spirits and medicinal plants in Late Imperial China

Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira

Part 5: The World of Sinographic Medicine: a diversity of interlinked traditions

32. Transmission of Persian Medicine into China across the Ages

Chen Ming

33. Vietnam in the Pre-Modern Period

Leslie de Vries

34. History and Characteristics of Korean Medicine

Yeonseok KANG 

35. Chinese-style Medicine in Japan

Katja Triplett

36. A Brief History of Chinese Medicine in Singapore

Yang Yan

37. Minority Medicine

Lai Lili and Zhen Yan

Part 6: Wider Diasporas

38. Early Modern Reception in Europe: translations and transmissions

Éric Marié

39. The Emergence of the Practice of Acupuncture on the Medical Landscape of France and Italy in the Twentieth Century

Lucia Candelise

40. Entangled Worlds: Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States

Mei Zhan

41. The Migration of Acupuncture through the Imperium Hispanicum: case studies from Cuba, Guatemala and the Philippines

Paul Kadetz

42. Long and Winding Roads: the transfer of Chinese medical practices to African contexts

Paul Kadetz

43. Translating Chinese Medicine in the West: language, culture, and practice

Sonya Pritzker

Part 7: Negotiating Modernity

44. The Declaration of Alma Ata: the global adoption of a Maoist model for Universal Healthcare

Paul Kadetz

45. Communist Medicine: the emergence of TCM and barefoot doctors, leading to contemporary medical markets

Xiaoping Fang

46. Contested Medicines in Twentieth-Century China

Nicole Elizabeth Barnes

47. Public Health in Twentieth-Century China

Tina Phillips Johnson

48. Encounters with Linnaeus? Modernisation of Pharmacopoeia through Bernard Read and Zhao Yuhuang up to the Present

Lena Springer

49. Dear, D. ‘Yangsheng in the Twenty First Century: embodiment, belief and collusion

David Dear

50. Butler, A. Liquorice and Chinese Herbal Medicine: an epistemological challenge

Anthony Butler 

51. Heinrich, M., Ka Yui Kum and Ruyu Yao ‘Decontextualised Chinese Medicines: their use as health foods and medicines in the ‘global North’

Michael Heinrich, Ka Yui Kum and Ruyu Yao

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Vivienne Lo 羅維前 is Professor of Chinese History at University College London. She has published widely on the ancient and medieval history of medicine in China and in diaspora. Her research interests include medical manuscripts, medical imagery and the history of nutrition.

Michael Stanley-Baker 徐源 is Assistant Professor in History at the School of Humanities, and of Medical Humanities at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. An historian of Chinese medicine and religion, particularly Daoism, he works on the early imperial period as well as contemporary Sinophone communities. Currently completing a monograph on medicine and religion as related genres of practice in China, he also produces digital humanities tools and datasets to study the migration of medicine across spatio-temporal, intellectual and linguistic boundaries.

Dolly Yang 楊德秀 is a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She received a PhD in 2018 from University College London for her investigation into the institutionalisation of therapeutic exercise in Sui China (581–618 CE). She has a particular interest in examining the use of non-drug-based therapy in early medieval China, allied to a passion for translating and analysing ancient Chinese medical and self-cultivation texts.