Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine by Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)

By Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)

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18 Acupuncture, Expertise and Cross-Cultural Medicine and the people of China occurred over the sickbed of the aggressively sceptical John Barrow. Encountering illness: lay expectations of Chinese medicine After a tedious passage from Macao to the Chinese mainland, Lord Macartney and Captain Erasmus Gower sent the ship's tender, the Clarence, and a small party to shore at Chusan in search of native pilots who could guide the larger ships to Tientsin. George Staunton, the Embassy's historian and Macartney's right-hand man, led this group and recorded the subsequent events: During the stay of the Clarence in Chu-san harbour, one of the persons who came in her was seized with a violent cholera morbus, in consequence of eating too freely of some acid fruit he had found on shore.

With exquisite pain to the patient . . [T]he disease continued in its usual course: but this, from the authority and information of his pulses, was entirely owing to the obstinacy of the vapour . . 42 In this passage, Staunton was ostensibly describing the specific practice and rationale followed by the Chinese physicians. He also conveyed the far more damaging impression that they diagnosed Ho-Shen according to their dogmas about the pulse rather than observation: `After a full examination of the Colao's pulses, they had early decided .

However, they also reflect a fluid and transitional stage in European medicine, especially through the particular sites of contention between European and Asian practice. The three narrators, professional and lay members of the medical community, reject or challenge the same parts of Chinese medicine. Specifically, they resist the idea that the patient can be divorced from the illness, and that the patient's unique perceptions of his or her own body can be safely discarded from the diagnostic repertoire.

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