By Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)
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Additional resources for Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine
In relation to the pulse, the only physical sign which the professionals of both cultures accept unanimously, all three western narrators reject the wide-ranging diagnostic authority given it by the Chinese, and strip the pulse of its more subtle nuances. Strikingly, the evidence upon which Gillan's rejection is explicitly based is `scientific' and not drawn from an assessment of Chinese practice, while Staunton's rejection leans more heavily on its diagnostic failure than on its incompatibility with the new sciences of anatomy and physiology.
79 The idea that the same symptoms can be, and often are, interpreted differently depending on their context is by now a truism; its connection with the communication of medical ideas and innovations is evident (if complex), particularly in the case of Chinese medicine. A profound language barrier, heightened by abstruse medical jargon on each side, exacerbated a clash between markedly different ideas of the body, health and disease which was itself mediated by unsatisfied expectations of the doctor± patient relationship.
22 Barrow and Staunton filtered their encounter with Chinese medicine through their experiences of western medicine, but as non-practitioners, they were less constrained by existing professional assessments of Chinese practice. However, accounts of the Macartney mission also include a description of Chinese medicine written by a professional western physician observing and practising on Chinese patients. Whether his expectations were formed by the travel books and medical commentaries of the mid-eighteenth century or by the more immediate experiences of his fellow-travellers, Hugh Gillan, the Embassy's physician, anticipated no more than hide-bound traditionalism from his Chinese counterparts.
Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine by Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)