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Prescribing ‘Guiding and Pulling’: The institutionalisation of therapeutic exercise in Sui China (581 – 618 CE)

Yang, Dolly; (2018) Prescribing ‘Guiding and Pulling’: The institutionalisation of therapeutic exercise in Sui China (581 – 618 CE). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation investigates the development of therapeutic exercise known as daoyin 導引 (guiding and pulling) during the Sui dynasty (581–618 CE). The main research questions are 1) how and why did daoyin become an important component of state medicine during the Sui period, 2) why was it included systematically in Zhubing yuanhou lun 諸病源候論 (Treatise on the Origins and Symptoms of Medical Disorders), the earliest known nosological text compiled under the decree of the second Sui emperor Yangdi 隋煬帝and 3) in the context of the process of unification during the Sui, what is the larger significance of these initiatives for our understanding of the unique continuities in the history of imperial China? Central to this research is an investigation into the contemporary political, cultural and religious circumstances that influenced the decisions by the two Sui emperors to adopt therapeutic exercise, which was already widely popular among circles of literate elites and religious sects, into an official medical system. The vision of the second Sui emperor to promote therapeutic exercise as the main component of state medicine, in preference to all other medical treatments, led directly to the transformation of the state medical service with the employment of a disproportionally large number of daoyin specialists to the Sui court. This research argues that the inclusion of daoyin, together with advice on health regimes, under the newly-devised classification of disease in Zhubing yuanhou lun, is one of the most important medical innovations of the Sui. As a vignette that illustrates how the role of the state can extend its reach into social and community practice, this study also has wider implications for how, in contrast to the fragmentation of Europe after the fall of Rome, we understand the continuity of empire in China.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Prescribing ‘Guiding and Pulling’: The institutionalisation of therapeutic exercise in Sui China (581 – 618 CE)
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061324
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