Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China

Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China

by Nancy N. Chen
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The charismatic form of healing called qigong, based on meditative breathing exercises, has achieved enormous popularity in China during the last two decades. Qigong served a critical social organizational function, as practitioners formed new informal networks, sometimes on an international scale, at a time when China was shifting from state-subsidized medical

See more details below

Overview

The charismatic form of healing called qigong, based on meditative breathing exercises, has achieved enormous popularity in China during the last two decades. Qigong served a critical social organizational function, as practitioners formed new informal networks, sometimes on an international scale, at a time when China was shifting from state-subsidized medical care to for-profit market medicine. The emergence of new psychological states deemed to be deviant led the Chinese state to "medicalize" certain forms while championing scientific versions of qigong. By contrast, qigong continues to be promoted outside China as a traditional healing practice. Breathing Spaces brings to life the narratives of numerous practitioners, healers, psychiatric patients, doctors, and bureaucrats, revealing the varied and often dramatic ways they cope with market reform and social changes in China.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

For readers sometimes puzzled by recent mind-body movements in China and responses by central and regional governments, Chen's clear and scholarly presentation will prove most helpful. This book becomes even more important now that the movement and others like it have spread globally, including to Europe, the New World, and the US. Highly recommended.

Journal of Chinese Religions - Evelyne Micollier

The book's originality lies both in its focus on the medicalization process and psychiatry, and in a theoretically innovative approach based on the medicalization process and psychiatry, and in a theoretically innovative approach based on the concepts of body politics and spaces.... Breathing Spaces is incontestably a very valuable contribution to medical anthropology and religious studies in the context of Chinese culture, and to global cultural studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231502214
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
08/05/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,219,815
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

Arthur Kleinman

Before there was Falun Gong, there was qigong psychosis; and before that qigong was a traditional healing methodology and health enhancing practice. Nancy Chen tells the whole story, along the way connecting masters and practitioners of breathing techniques and meditation to the major cultural, political, economic, and moral transformations that China has undergone in the last several decades of economic change. But Chen's interesting and useful account is also a story of psychiatry and globalization, making for a rich and bubbling hot pot of ideas, practices, and embodied experience.

Lesley Sharp

Chen's riveting study focuses on a remarkable period in China's recent history, marked by this nation's recent reengagement with global capitalism. Chen bears witness to the shifting political significance--and vulnerability--of spiritual practitioners and healers in China, exposing how such shifts affect human experiences with enlightenment, pain, and suffering. Vivid portraits of the author's encounters render this a truly moving, poetic ethnography written in the best tradition of critical medical anthropology.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >