Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
In this Phase, I will begin to figure out the what parts my topic, which can be found here in Phase 0, I really want to explore. This will be accomplished by coming up with questions that I will want to focus on before and when I go to Xizhou.
Within rural areas, many of the herbalism practices originated from trail and error. When the beliefs were spread from one family to another, these beliefs would often take root within the society and would be known for it's healing powers. One of the most recent examples was when I visited one of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, the mountain villages believed in drinking a special kind of tea to keep themselves healthy because apparently one of their citizens had loved the tea and throughout his life, he had never gotten sick once since he drank it on a daily basis. Eventually, other families had adopted this practice of drinking the tea and it became heavily encouraged to continue this practice. The citizens were so enthusiastic about this form of treatment that many citizens were often selling it to tourists. I know TCM is not as widely used compared to Western medicine, it has slowly become disputed because Western medicine is more factual. From my trips to the rural parts of China, the citizens still very firmly believe in TCM for perhaps smaller medical conditions while the hospitals will recommend Western medicine.
Most of the information I have gained was through observations I have made mainly through my family and a bit through other villages in rural parts of China. The behaviors and discussions of my family informed me about their views on TCM. My parents often explain to me how the TCM works and why it works, often times they would also claim it is a much better way than Western medicine as it actually "heals" you because it is all natural and plant based. My parents claimed Western medicine was only an effective temporary solution because it depended on concoctions of chemicals and was not natural so the effect of the healing would not last as long.
My overall goal is to come up with a conclusion about the origin of TCM, how effective the villagers think TCM is, and how much of a impact TCM still has left. I would mainly focus on the beliefs the villagers have about TCM compared to Western medicine and what caused them to adopt these beliefs and what other factors are still influencing them today. I would also want to know about how they believe these TCM practices were formed are accurate and helpful compared to Western medicine. Therefore, I could compare the opinions of a doctor compared to an average citizens and find out how different the beliefs are and why the differences are there. There is a possibility finding doctors will be challenging, therefore in that case, pharmacy owners would also be a strong alternative since those owners are often more seen in a daily basis of a villager. Finally, I would be interested in how Western medicine, if it is at all, is being incorporated into the medicine found in Xizhou.
To help me come up with my big questions, I have done some background research on my topic which can be found in Phase 3.