2007 Annual Meeting


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Roundtable: Figuring Out and Reconfiguring Traditional and Modern Uses of Asian Medicine 

Roundtable Presenters: Ted Kaptschuk, Harvard Medical School; Eric Jacobson, Harvard Medical School; Alejandro Chaoul, M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute, Houston; Juhn Ahn, University of Toronto; Ivette Vargas,Austin College

Asian medicine has caught the attention of the media and public worldwide representing a strong wave within Western tradition of healthcare outside the castles of “mainstream” medicine.  In Asia itself, encounters with modernity and Western medicine have altered how Asians themselves think about their environment, their health, and their religious traditions.  Religious ideas like spirit possession or environmental hindrances are reconfigured or left aside to accommodate modern cultural or scientific ideas. Often there is a discrepancy between traditional ways of diagnosing and healing and their modern
counterparts. The presenters from across disciplines address the traditional and modern uses of Asian medicine (Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Tibetan) and what is meant by “Asian Medicine”.  Linda Barnes examines the presence of Chinese medicine and healing in the U.S.;  Alejandro Chaoul addresses research on Tibetan yoga and Hatha yoga studies applied to women with breast cancer, as part of the M.D. Anderson program on integrative medicine; Ivette Vargas explores the role of klu nad and gdon nad (hindering obstacles or demon diseases) in the Asian medical and environmental landscape in Tibetan communities; Juhn Ahn examines Japanese medicine and the interpretation of illness and healing in the practice of silent illumination zen and the letters Embossed Teakettle (Oradegama); Eric Jacobson addresses the complexities behind FDA approval for clinical trials of Tibetan medicine; and Ted Kaptchuk addresses the shifting contemporary western medical landscape that has incorporated Asian medicine as part of the market economy and the responses of the scientific and the scholarly community to this shift.