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A ‘Miracle Bed’ and a ‘Second Heart’: Technology and Users of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Context of Medical Diversity in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

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Abstract

In this chapter, I examine the changing role and place of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, in the context of medical diversity which is particularly prevalent in the capital, Bishkek. The focus is on technological inventions from South Korea, popular among users of CAM therapies in Bishkek, specifically the Nuga Best (NB) bed-massager and other devices offered by the Nuga Medical Company. In the analysis, I apply Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (ANT), understood as a method for tracing processes of networking, stabilising and destabilising networks, in this case the NB network in Bishkek. In accordance with this method, I follow the network’s actors and demonstrate the role of the ‘miracle bed’ as a powerful non-human actor that has a special appeal to the people, significantly influencing their attitudes and strongly contributing to the network’s durability.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Pseudonyms are used throughout the chapter to preserve the anonymity of the interlocutors.

  2. 2.

    An exhaustive discussion on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been provided by Brosnan, Vuolanto and Danell (in Chapter 1). The authors point out the controversy over terminology and the inevitable relationship of CAM to biomedicine . In this chapter, I do not discuss these issues and use the term CAM for convenience.

  3. 3.

    National Centre of Science (Narodowe Centrum Nauki), grant number N N109 186440.

  4. 4.

    I differentiate between ‘bureaucratic’ (or ‘rational’) and ‘traditional’ legitimacy referring to Max Weber’s classical typology of political legitimacy adapted to the medical field (Lindquist 2001, 2006). However, they are rather mixed modes of legitimisation that are characteristic of not only CAM practitioners who are biomedical doctors but also of healers whose methods, although based on tradition, are usually hybridised.

  5. 5.

    http://www.nugamedical.com/new_eng/introduce/vision.php, http://www.nugamedical.com/new_eng/introduce/ceo.php (accessed 25.04.2017).

  6. 6.

    http://www.nugabest.tv/global/bbs/board.php?bo_table=001&wr_id=1 (accessed 23.04.2017).

  7. 7.

    http://www.nugamedical.com/new_eng/ (accessed 02.05.2017).

  8. 8.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO4zJgTsKe0&t=29s (accessed 6.05.2017).

  9. 9.

    https://ok.ru/nugabest9l, http://nuga-best.uz/5-2/ (accessed 5.05.2017).

  10. 10.

    http://www.nuga-best.co.uk/ (accessed 6.05.2017).

  11. 11.

    https://ok.ru/nugabest9l (accessed 6.05.2017).

  12. 12.

    http://nugamedical.com/new_eng/news/news_view.php?no=1881, https://ok.ru/nugabest9l (accessed 6.05.2017).

  13. 13.

    https://ok.ru/nugabest9l (accessed 02.05.2017).

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Penkala-Gawęcka, D. (2018). A ‘Miracle Bed’ and a ‘Second Heart’: Technology and Users of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Context of Medical Diversity in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. In: Brosnan, C., Vuolanto, P., Danell, JA. (eds) Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Health, Technology and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73939-7_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73939-7_6

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