The Dao of Healing: Christian Perspectives on Chinese Medicine
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The last 50 years have seen the popularity of Chinese medicine grow exponentially. In China, Korea, Japan and Singapore, Chinese medicine has been incorporated into their healthcare systems to varying degrees. In the West, it is no longer uncommon for patients to consult Chinese medicine doctors, many of whom are non-Chinese. However, among Christians in many parts of the developed world, Chinese medicine is still viewed with suspicion and negativity. Are these fears justified? How can we better understand the roots and practices of Chinese medicine?

The Dao of Healing takes us on an in-depth exploration of the histories and philosophies that have shaped both Western biomedicine and Chinese medicine in order that we might make informed judgements about them. If our call is to “love our neighbours”, we need to be able to dialogue with them on the basis of mutual respect and understanding. Let this book be the catalyst for meaningful and productive conversations across the divide.


Foreword by Prof. James M. Houston, Founding Principal & Emeritus Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Engaging Chinese Medicine: Methods and Approaches

Chapter 3: Western Medical Traditions I: Origins, Developments and Christian Reception
Chapter 4: Western Medical Traditions II: The Scientific Revolution and the Rise of Biomedicine
Chapter 5: Seeing Medicine from a Greek Perspective

Chapter 6: The Historical Development of Chinese Medicine I: From Pre-Han to Tang Eras
Chapter 7: The Historical Development of Chinese Medicine II: From the Song Medical Renaissance to the Modern Period
Chapter 8: Metaphors and the Conception of Health and Illness in Western and Chinese Medicine
Chapter 9: Chinese Medical Theories, Diagnoses and Therapies

Chapter 10: Biomedicine and Chinese Medicine in Dialogue: Context, Issues and the Ways Forward
Chapter 11: Christian Perspectives on Chinese Medicine


Author: Dr Pak-Wah Lai is Vice-Principal and Lecturer in Church History & Historical Theology at the Biblical Graduate School of Theology. A graduate from NTU (B.Bus Honors), BGST (Grad Dip CS) and Regent College (MCS, ThM), Pak-Wah completed his PhD at Durham University where he studied the use of rhetoric in John Chrysostom’s theology and ethics. He has published several journal articles and book chapters on Chrysostom’s use of exemplar figures, ascetic ideals and Trinitarian theology. More recently, he has compared the medical anthropologies of the church fathers and the Chinese. Prior to theological studies, Pak-Wah taught Supply Chain Management at the Singapore Polytechnic, and was engaged in Investment Promotion in the Singapore Economic Development Board.


"This is a pioneer work, yet it is also exhaustive and comprehensive. If 'truth is history', then this is 'truthful' indeed!... Richly historic, this work is somewhat prophetic for the future of medicine, an unusual medical textbook indeed! As a historian of ideas, I know of no book like this, to read, reflect, and inwardly digest!"
-- From the Foreword by Prof. James M. Houston, Founding Principal & Emeritus Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

"History, the philosophy of healing, assumptions and myths in socalled 'Western' medicine$all these issues and more have been rolled into a scholarly but very readable book. Among the scholarly essays, there are accounts and vignettes of therapy and practice that are shared by Dr Diarra Boubacar. Knowing that Dr Diarra is an outstanding TCM physician whose heart is for the patient and community makes me applaud the publication of this book all the more."
-- Dr Tan Lai Yong, Director for Outreach & Community Engagement & Senior Lecturer at the College of Alice & Peter Tan, NUS

"There is often this conflict between the practice and philosophies of TCM and Judeo-Christian worldviews. In Asia, these conflicts are often more acute because Western medicine predominates as the main healthcare provider. This is an especial problem for Asian Christians who often reject TCM as 'unbiblical'. Dr Pak-Wah Lai has written an excellent book in which he uses a scholarly approach to examine this complex issue and presents to the readers his wellreasoned conclusions."
-- Dr Alex Tang, MD, PhD, FRCPE, Consultant Paediatrician, Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Monash University Malaysia, and Practical Theologian, Kairos Spiritual Formation Ministries

"In The Dao of Healing, Pak-Wah Lai introduces us in a wonderfully lucid and respectful way to why it is okay for Christians to use Chinese medicine. In the process, he walks us along the paths taken over the millennia by both Western and Chinese medicine, then dips more deeply into the influence on those paths of the metaphors that shaped them. His is a deceptively simple account that speaks directly and persuasively to the concerns of lay Christians."
-- Professor Wendy Mayer, Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity, Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities

"This book is certainly one of a kind. Skilfully integrating interdisciplinary approaches such as medical historiography (of the West and China), philosophy, theology and cognitive linguistics, Lai provides the readers with an informative, thoughtful, trustworthy and accessible introduction for understanding and appreciating Chinese medicine from a Christian perspective. It not only informs but also guides the readers to fairly and critically engage both Western biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in their respective historical and cultural contexts with a robust constructive theology. Regardless of the reader's religious orientation, however, one will come away with an enlightened perspective on understanding and evaluating TCM."
-- Prof. Helen Rhee, Professor of Church History, Westmont College
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