The traditional medical systems of Asia evolved over centuries of empirical observation and diagnosis and treatment of disease. Based on a corpus of written material, they are found embedded with the symbols, concepts of the body and world views characterising the historical differences between civilisations. This is the first book to present to both general and specialist readership an illustrated guide to the main codified medical traditions of Asia from the perspective of Western scholars as well as that of physicians actually working today within each system.
An introduction by Fernand Meyer outlines how traditional medical systems reflect complex social and cultural realities which help us to understand how different societies, including our own, interpret and relate to matters of health and disease.
The main streams of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese medicine are the subject of fifteen contributions, providing a brief history of each system and a clear exposition of theory and the principle methods of diagnosis and treatment. How these ancient systems have adapted and are actually integrated today with Western biomedicine in India, Tibet, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and Japan, is the subject of individual chapters.
The principal themes and subjects of traditional Asian medical systems are copiously illustrated with field photographs taken by Mark De Fraeye over a number of years, and which are balanced with the traditions' fascinating body charts, herbals, aides memoire, as well as intruments, amulets and other medical paraphernalia.
The book concludes with essays on the three main healing deities of Asia; Dhanvantari, Shennong and the Medicine Buddha.
This publication will be of multi-disciplinary interest and use to historians and social scientists, as well as to physicians and the general public interested in a vast heritage of complementary and alternative therapies.