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Religion and Healing in America$
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Linda L. Barnes and Susan S. Sered

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167962

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.001.0001

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Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States

Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States

(p.307) 19 Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States
Religion and Healing in America

Linda L. Barnes

Oxford University Press

Following a front-page story in the New York Times in 1972 by James Reston about his experiences with acupuncture in a Chinese hospital, virtually every article on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in United States media has featured this modality as CAM's poster child, with the patient presented as a wide-eyed face bristling with needles. To a lesser degree, Chinese herbs have made the news as well. This chapter examines constructions of race in the United States; the ways that Chinese healing practices interface with issues of religious identity and expression for Chinese American practitioners; tensions between conversion and appropriation, particularly as both pertain to European American practitioners; and a different aspect of acculturation, the phenomenon of medicalization. These issues are reviewed in relation to broader issues of cross-cultural transmission in the context of globalization.

Keywords:   United States, Chinese healing practices, race, complementary medicine, alternative medicine, acupuncture, herbs, medicalization, religious identity, healing, conversion

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