Health and Asia

Healing traditions have developed in all parts of the world. Prevention and treatment have been an integral part of dealing with human conditions, and biomedicine is only one of these traditions. In the Health and Asia Research theme we focus on the history, transmission and exchange of healing traditions across Asia, from China and India to West Asia, including their religious worldviews. We aim to explore the interactions between different cultural understandings of health in Asia and the West and the transformation of Asian healing traditions in modern times. The effects of development, modernization and globalization on health and health care in Asia are also of critical concern.

Health and Asia will explore the following areas:

  • Self-cultivation practices (Yangsheng in China and Southeast Asia)

  • Healthcare in the PRC and Hong Kong

  • Healing traditions in Tibet, Nepal, India and Southeast Asia

  • Practitioners and institutions

  • Religious and cultural understandings of illness and healing practices

  • Public health and cultural/religious initiatives

  • Asian healing practices in Europe, North America and Latin America

This research theme seeks to provide an interdisciplinary platform for historians, linguists, anthropologists, sociologists, scholars of religious studies, health practitioners, doctors, policymakers, artists and students to engage in discussions and exchange ideas. Outcome will include publications, exhibitions, short documentaries, workshops and symposiums.

Related Initiatives:
- Hong Kong Forum for the History of Medicine in East Asia
- Transnational Asian Cities


New Book Out: Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia: Collaborations and Collisions

Workshop Poster

Past Activities:
International Workshop on Infectious Routes: Epidemics and Migration in Asia

- "Stand Up Straight": Posture and the Meanings Attributed to the Upright Body, jointly organized with the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, was held on 14 January 2011.

- The first workshop on Convergence and Collisions: Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia was held on 25 and 26 March 2010 and an edited volume Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia: Collaborations and Collisions was published by Routledge in 2014.