Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated from the traditional medical system in the Chinese civilization, with influences from the Daoist and Chinese folk traditions in bodily cultivation and longevity techniques. In the past few decades, TCM has become one of the leading alternative medical systems in the United States. This book demonstrates the fluidity of a medical ideological system with a rich history of methodological development and internal theoretical conflicts, continuing to transform in our postmodern world where people and ideas transcend geographic, ethnic, and linguistic limitations. The unique historical trajectories and cultural dynamics of the American society are critical nutrients for the localization of TCM, while the constant traffic of travelers and immigrants foster the globalizing tendency of TCM. The practitioners in this book represent an incredible range of clinical applications, personal styles, theoretical rationalizations, and business models. What really unifies all these practitioners is t their specific practices but the goal of these practices. The shared goal is to strive for health, t just health in terms of the lack of illness but the ultimate health of achieving perfect balance in every aspect of the being of a person-physically, mentally, spiritually, and energetically.
Emily S. Wu is a college instructor in the San Francisco Bay area and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Asian religions and cultures. Her current research primarily focuses on Chinese and Chinese American religious practices and beliefs that intersect with medicine, healing, and understandings of the human body.