True Nature Radio

A History of Chinese Medicine in the West

December 3, 2019

Contrary to common belief, Chinese medicine came to the west long before James Reston’s New York Times account of acupuncture following his trip to China with President Nixon in 1971.

In fact, accounts of Chinese medicine practice in the Americas go back to at least the 1600’s. Heiner and Laurie interview expert Linda Barnes, PhD, who not only elucidates how, when and where Chinese medicine came to the west, but also provides insights about intercultural exchange that occurred. The discussion includes a consideration of how western understandings of medicine and the body were informed by interactions with Chinese medicine practitioners.

Dr. Linda Barnes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, and in the Division of Religion and Theological Studies at Boston University. She is also the Director of the Master of Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice programs at BUSM. Among her publications are the following: Chinese Medicine and Healing: an Illustrated History, Harvard University Press (in press), and Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing and the West to 1848, Harvard University Press, 2005. She is co-editor, with Susan Sered, of Religion and Healing in America, Oxford University Press, 2004.

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