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

By Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)

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61 He then described the prescription of specific diets and exercises as a part of their treatment for venereal diseases, without noticing any contradiction. These restrictive diets surely were indicative of a systemic approach ± certainly, Gillan did not argue that the Chinese believed that vinegar, wine or oil caused the lues venera. But diets clearly did not fit Gillan's idea of a remedy, or his model for systemic therapy, probably because the archetypal systemic remedy was blood-letting, with purging and vomits close behind.

In the process, he revealed that the accredited observers (the `gentlemen') of the mission defined science in narrow and specific terms: Expectations and Expertise 43 It is a matter of doubt, whether natural history, natural philosophy, or chemistry, be, as sciences, much more improved than anatomy in China. There are several treatises, indeed, on particular subjects in each. The Chinese likewise possess a very voluminous encyclopaedia, containing many facts and observations relative to them; but from the few researches the gentlemen of the Embassy had leisure or opportunity to make .

Staunton repeated Gillan's description of the proposed cause of HoShen's symptoms, retaining his use of terms which to British ears would inevitably connote anachronistic superstitions, or at best a species of coarse ignorance about the body. His language suggested that either the Chinese attributed disease to malignant spirits or to a sort of shifting, self-generating flatus. Elsewhere, Staunton was even more explicit about his view that the Chinese relied on animism and superstitions in their medicine (and suggested a root cause for that reliance): There are in China no professors of the sciences connected with medicine.

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