Case Number 45

  • Asaf Goldschmidt
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 54)


This is one of the cases that mentions the non-medical curers who treated patients in villages though history. Here Xu mentions two types: diviners who used the Book of Changes and spirit mediums. These groups of healers took different approaches to disorders. The diviners based their therapy on divining the cause and outcome of the disorder. The second group was local popular priests. Wu was a derogatory term that literati applied to them and others whom they did not bother to distinguish from them. In the lower Yangzi region, wu were usually spirit mediums who cured while in trance. Their therapy also used methods borrowed from Daoists, Buddhists, and physicians. Xu also mentions that ‘someone else’ applied a sweating treatment, which – since there was no doctor in the village – means that someone applied mainstream medical therapy. That, of course, complicates the health care picture even more.


Other Sources:

  1. Chen, Zilin 陈泽霖. 1982. “Shezhen shi gaishu” 舌诊史概述 [Overview of the History of Tongue Diagnosis]. Zhonghua yishi zazhi 12.1: 1–4.Google Scholar
  2. Hinrichs, T.J. 2003. “The Medical Transforming of Governance and Southern Customs in Song dynasty China (960–1279 C.E.).” Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 2003.Google Scholar
  3. Holroyde-Downing, Nancy. 2005. “Mysteries of the Tongue.” Asian Medicine, Tradition and Modernity, 1(2): 432–461.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2017. “Tongues on Fire: On the Origins and Transmission of a System of Tongue Diagnosis.” Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, University College London.Google Scholar
  5. Meng, Xianyou and Huang Shuiqing. 2016. “Zhongyi shezhen yuanliu tanxi” 中医舌诊源流探析 [Origin and Development of Tongue Diagnosis of TCM]. Liaoning zhongyi zazhi 43.5: 946–948.Google Scholar
  6. Scheid, Volker, Dan Bensky, Andrew Ellis, and Randall Barolet. 2009. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies. Seattle: Eastland Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2015. Health Care in Eleventh-Century China. New York: Springer Media.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Strickmann, Michel, edited by Bernard Faure. 2002. Chinese Magical Medicine. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Zhang, Lan 张岚. 2006. “Zhongyi shezhen de lishi wenhua tanyaun” 中医舌诊的历史文化探源 [Probe into the Cultural Rootstock of Inspection of Tongue of Traditional Chinese Medicine]. Ph.D. dissertation, Heilongjiang Zhongyiyao daxue, Department of History of Chinese Medicine.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asaf Goldschmidt
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of East Asian StudiesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Visiting ProfessorRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations