Chinese Medicine Series: "Chinese Medicine for Global Ills? The History of *yu* and its Significance in the Treatment of Depression"
The World Health Organization has declared depression to be a pandemic that will be a major cause of morbidity in the 21st century. Although depression was virtually un-diagnosed (and therefore unknown) in China before the 1990s, physicians of Chinese medicine now claim that they can use centuries-old traditions to successfully treat it. They base their claims on a presumed equivalence between the Chinese medical concept of yu (?,“constraint”) and the biomedical concept of depression. This talk examines the historical processes that allowed doctors to equate yu and depression, and it examines what this convergence reveals about Chinese medicine, psychiatry, and constructions of gender.
Volker Scheid is Professor of East Asian Medicines at the School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster and Director of its EASTmedicine Research Centre. A practitioner of Chinese medicine with over 25 years of clinical experience, Dr. Scheid also holds a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of Cambridge. His numerous publications include two acclaimed studies of the history and anthropology of Chinese medicine: Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis (Duke University Press, 2002) and Currents of Tradition in Chinese Medicine: 1626-2006 (Eastland Press, 2007). Dr. Scheid currently serves as president of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine (IASTAM), a forum that seeks to foster collaborations between practitioners and scholars of Asian medicines.