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HealthA History$
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Peter Adamson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199916429.001.0001

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Health and Philosophy in Pre- and Early Imperial China

Health and Philosophy in Pre- and Early Imperial China

(p.7) Chapter One Health and Philosophy in Pre- and Early Imperial China
(p.iii) Oxford Philosophical Concepts Health

Michael Stanley-Baker

Oxford University Press

Though there was no single Chinese term that corresponds to the English word health, there were a variety of theories about bodily ideals. This chapter follows these theories through three periods of early Chinese history. A key notion is qi, or “vital breath,” that circulates through the body to preserve health; learning methods of breath control can thus prolong life. So-called “Daoist” philosophy draws a parallel between health in the individual and good order in the state, as well as nature or the cosmos as a whole, an idea furthered in medical works of the Han dynasty.

Keywords:   China, Daoism, breath control, qi, yangsheng, ming, Governance, Practice

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