Realizing Holism in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Consultations through the Voice of TCM (VOTCM): An Interactional Analytical Approach

Chenjie Zhang*, Winnie Chor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, doctor-patient communication in the context of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has attracted increasing attention. Highly influenced by ancient Chinese philosophy, TCM is unique in its exemplification of Chinese wisdom, particularly with respect to how the idea of zhěngtǐguān (整体观) (lit. whole body concept), realized as “the idea of the whole” or simply “holism,” is valued and realized in TCM consultations. Adopting an interactional analytical approach, our study aims to illustrate how TCM doctors and patients co-construct a medical consultation that can exemplify the idea of holism. Based on a spoken corpus of Mandarin Chinese totaling 443 minutes in length, this paper identifies instances of what can be labeled as the voice of TCM (VOTCM) in a typical TCM consultation that reflect the idea of holism and describes and analyzes the communicative routines that are specific to these TCM consultations. It is observed that the steps and strategies involved in the consultation not only illustrate the collaborative co-construction of holism but also point to the holistic aspect of TCM philosophy, particularly topics related to the different body parts and the lifeworld. The diagnostic explanations provided by doctors and the co-topical talks between doctors and patients at various stages of the consultation also play an important role in the co-construction and realization of holism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2021

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