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Acupuncture as Revolution - Suffering Liberation and Love - cover

Acupuncture as Revolution - Suffering Liberation and Love

Rachel Pagones

Publisher: Brevis Press

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Summary

In November 1970, an amalgam of radical activists took over a section of the notorious Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx of New York. From that action an innovative drug detoxification program evolved. Public health historians have documented the role played by the Young Lords and Black Panthers in direct-action healthcare reform, while in acupuncture circles Dr. Michael Smith is famed for developing a technique for drug detox. Hidden behind these better-known narratives is the history of a movement, led by African American and Latinx activists, that sought to employ acupuncture to transform the heroin addiction ravaging their communities and the capitalism, colonialism, and “chemical warfare” it saw as causative factors. 

Acupuncture as Revolution traces the history of revolutionary acupuncture in the United States, from its origins in the radicalism of the 1960s to its modern manifestation in the community acupuncture movement. The book compels the reader to look beyond popular conceptions of Western acupuncture while connecting the history of traditional Chinese medicine to a lineage of racial and health justice.

Reviews
In America, prior to the 1970s, East Asian medicine and acupuncture were essentially unknown outside of Asian communities. The history and acceptance of this remarkable ancient medicine into mainstream USA is certainly worthy of scholarly research. With her thoughtful, well-researched and beautifully written book, Rachel Pagones has provided a compelling history of the role acupuncture played in the long and continuing struggle for health and racial justice in America.
-Richard Gold, co-founder of Pacific College of Health and Science

Acupuncture as Revolution is a timely publication. After the murder of George Floyd, the profession of licensed acupuncturists and the broader integrative health movement are engaging efforts to heal entrenched diversity and equity challenges… Pagones guides readers into a time and story 50 years ago that adds to the scholarly literature correcting the dominant white rendition of the missions of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. She shows how, to serve the health of communities broken by racism and intentional neglect, these organizations and their allies in the South Bronx reached outside of accepted practices to fold acupuncture into a remarkable model of community engagement. Acupuncture as Revolution provides both acupuncturists and the integrative health movement an origin story that is a remarkable counter to the white privilege with which each is often associated. 
-John Weeks, author of the Integrator Blog and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

A captivating study of how radical activists, armed with an antidote to heroine withdrawal, battled with elite policymakers over inequities in health and medicine... provides insight into the history of the current American opioid epidemic and how acupuncture disrupted the plan. It’s a fascinating read for acupuncturists, activists, and readers who enjoy learning about events that impact national public health. 
– Jennifer A. M. Stone, senior editor, Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture as Revolution offers a trenchant social history of acupuncture, traditional Chinese Medicine, and their intersections with racial inequality, health disparities, and medical justice in the United States. 
– James Doucet-Battle, author of Sweetness in the Blood: Race, Risk, and Type 2 Diabetes

An engaging and timely contribution that sheds new light on acupuncture's radical lineage and its contemporary descendants. In this eye-opening and highly readable history, Pagones restores to their proper place key actors and and traditions, from China's barefoot doctors to the Bronx's Young Lords. This book should be read by everyone who cares about acupuncture and alternative movements to promote health.
- Andrew Zitcer, author of Practicing Cooperation: Mutual Aid beyond Capitalism

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