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The Ladder of the Soul in Chinese Medicine

Sunday, 10/28 at 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

This workshop will describe the nature of the "soul" (ling-hun) in Chinese medicine. Far from being marginal, it is central to the Nei Jing and many other early Chinese medical texts. The talk will review the five components of the soul—hun, po, yi, zhi and shen—on existential, moral, and spiritual levels, and their intrinsic relationship to the physical body. After describing these five components, Dr. Kaptchuk will examine the unifying foundational Chinese medicine concept of "the ladder of the soul” and its relevance to herbal and acupuncture practice.

Ted Kaptchuk

Ted’s multidisciplinary career began with his training as an acupuncturist and herbalist in Macao, China. He then went on to write a classic textbook on Chinese medicine called The Web That Has No Weaver and wrote a BBC documentary series on global healing traditions. Ted was recruited to investigate Asian medicine at Harvard and subsequently trained in rigorous scientific methodology. He has gone on to lead groundbreaking studies across a variety of disciplines—including clinical science, neurobiology, psychology, anthropology, history, bioethics, and philosophy—all focused on placebo effects and the healing encounter. He is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he directs the Program in Placebo Studies and Therapeutic Encounter, hosted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


View the 2018 conference schedule at a glance. The full 2018 program brochure is coming soon.