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

By Roberta E. Bivins (auth.)

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One would be apt to believe, that of all the nations in the world, the Chinese must be the most ingenious and learned. However a small acquaintance with them will most swiftly undeceive one. 'Tis true, we must acknowledge that the Chinese have a great deal of wit: But then is it an inventive, searching, profound wit? 23 DuHalde certainly did not condemn Chinese medical practice, and indeed was impressed by the diagnostic pulse-reading of their finest practitioners (`I speak not here of those quacks who profess the art merely to get a livelihood, without either study or experience: But of the skilled physicians, who, it is certain, have acquired a very extraordinary and surprising knowledge in this matter .

According to their ideas, every part of the body has a pulse particular to itself, which indicates what part of the system suffers. Expectations and Expertise 25 They considered the pulse as a general interpreter of animal life . . 35 While the impression given in Staunton's text is that the Colao's case was in fact handled in this way, Gillan was actually discussing the typical claims made by Chinese healers, rather than the behaviour of the physicians in any particular case ± his narrative speaks more of bedside arrogance than ignorance.

52 In fact, Floyer used the Chinese science of the pulse to provide historical roots and justifications for his own innovation, the `physician's pulsewatch'. After by my pulse watch I had found the most healthful pulses, I easily discern'd what were the exceeding and the deficient pulses. 'Twas easie for me to take Indications from the hot or cold pulses . . After I had reflected on what I had done I found my notions hit with the Chinese Practice, about which I consulted many printed Travels .

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