How to make "acubabies"
in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
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Acupuncture is currently among the most popular complementary therapies used by IVF patients in North America and the United Kingdom, offered predominantly in private clinics and occasionally through national health services. There is currently no consensus on the efficacy and mechanism of acupuncture treatment on IVF; hypotheses offered included the facilitation of the flow of qi in the pelvic cavity, the improvement of uterine-lining thickness, better response to medications such as hormone injections, or the optimisation of general health. This chapter investigates the promotion and dissemination of acupuncture treatments for IVF patients, in particular through an expanding market of self-help books published in the United States, which discuss how to make babies with the help of Chinese medical treatments. Close readings of these texts reveal their mobilisation of: patient testimonials; a particular history of Chinese medicine that invokes a continuous tradition and timeless wisdom; and a narrative of individualism, customisation of therapies to suit patients’ need, and attainment of a general sense of well-being. These popular manuals reveal how practitioners of Chinese medicine in North America fashion themselves, and how they respond to patient demands and changes in the medical marketplace.

Editor: Howard Chiang


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