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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 56-59

Modernization of medical traditions: Indian and Chinese approaches to health and well-being

University of Strathclyde, UK and Shanghai University, China

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ved Baruah
David F Musto Centre for Drug Policy Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University, Shanghai - 200444
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_19_18

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The provisioning of health and well-being for every human being on the planet calls for a rethink of conventional medical practices. In both the developed as well as developing world contexts, there is a growing need to rejuvenate alternative medical systems, but they have to be modernized to have cross-cultural appeal and acceptance. This paper explores the clash between Western medicine and Indian traditional medicine in 19th century colonial India which offers a historical precedent that could hold key lessons to the spread of traditional medicine across the world. The paper argues that the British government used biomedicine as a political tool to dominate Indians and resistance from Indian practitioners of traditional systems of medicines (TSMs) was systematically put down through policy measures. However, it was the clash between the medical modalities that transformed Indian TSMs forever as systems such as Ayurveda (the science of life) and Yoga took on the challenge and modernized and continue to have global appeal. The paper compares Indian and Chinese medical systems and argues that similarities in theory and practice in two different historical contexts, 19th century India and modern-day China, enable us to understand the relevance of modernization practices in our contemporary world.

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