Needling the spirit: An investigation of the perceptions and uses of the term qi by acupuncturists in Quebec

Submitted by James Miller on Mon, 08/16/2010 - 10:31
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TitleNeedling the spirit: An investigation of the perceptions and uses of the term qi by acupuncturists in Quebec
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsReid, E. M.
Date Published2008
ISBN Number0494513993, 9780494513996
KeywordsAlternative Medicine, Religion
Abstract

The intent of this thesis is to explore the various ways in which acupuncturists trained in Québec interpret and use the term qi in their practice as healers. It argues that these choices are influenced by the implicit connection between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and New Age spirituality. As Asian medical systems such as Chinese medicine carve out a niche within the dominant biomedical health-care system, there is a simultaneous desire to present its medical system as scientifically coherent within the biomedical context and a desire to cater to the New Age orientalist fascination with "traditional" Asian medicine and what is perceived as its inherent spiritual qualities. This study concludes that although Québecois acupuncturists are well-versed in the historical interpretations of the term qi , as well as its medical applications, there is nevertheless a tendency for these practitioners to understand qi as a part of the framework of their own personal spirituality and the relation of that spirituality to their work as healers. Moreover, it is shown that this tendency is strongly informed by the interface of New Age notions concerning healing and the CAM movement. By situating the study within the cultural milieu of Québec, the specific religio-historical background of this locale and its effects on these practitioners is also taken into consideration.

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