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Special feature: Chinese Medicine: The Global Influence of an Evolving Heritage

The Transmission and Practice of Chinese Medicine

An Overview and Outlook
Éric Marié
Translated by Will Thornely
p. 5-13


Chinese medicine is a medical system that was developed in China over a long period of time and has subsequently spread over the rest of the world, especially over recent decades. This study aims first to identify this medicine and to examine the changes that accompanied its institutionalisation in the People’s Republic of China starting in the 1950's, then to set out the continuities and breaking points that have characterised the ways in which it is transmitted, from traditional apprenticeship training to the development of national university syllabuses. It then looks into the way in which Chinese medicine has faced up to biomedicine and sets out a comparative analysis of the paradigms of these two systems, before describing the way in which this exotic medicine has been received and adapted in the West. This makes it possible to grasp the difficulties and issues involved in its globalisation and the increasingly pressing need, from the perspective of university teaching and research, for a more complete, objective and pragmatic approach to studying it.

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Bibliographical reference

Éric Marié, « The Transmission and Practice of Chinese Medicine », China Perspectives, 2011/3 | 2011, 5-13.

Electronic reference

Éric Marié, « The Transmission and Practice of Chinese Medicine », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/3 | 2011, Online since 30 September 2011, connection on 17 January 2018. URL :

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About the author

Éric Marié

He has dedicated himself to the study of Chinese medicine for more than 30 years. He has received both traditional apprenticeship training with a master and a university education in the discipline, mainly at the Faculty of Chinese Medicine in Jiangxi, where he was appointed professor (1992), before being made director of a research unit (1998). Since completing his studies in Paris with a PhD from EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in 2003, he has taught various aspects of Chinese medicine in the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, and Louvain-la-Neuve. He is currently course director for the new university qualifications in Chinese medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Montpellier.

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