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December 14, 1984

Traditional Chinese Concepts of Mental Health

Author Affiliations

From the Chinese Medical Association, Beijing, China.

JAMA. 1984;252(22):3169. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220075037

AS A valuable contribution to the world's common treasure of healing art, traditional Chinese medicine has gained international recognition. But up to the present, not so much is known of traditional Chinese concepts, theories, and instructions on mental health. Is this possibly because of a relative meagerness of the latter in Chinese civilization compared with the former? On the contrary, a brief review of traditional Chinese culture would convince us of the amazing richness of precepts in Chinese classics on mental health.

In the ancient book The Great Learning, it was stated that the human mind is unable to maintain its normality under distractions by fear, anger, worry, or fixed desires. And the normality of the mind was ever believed to be prerequisite to one's personal, familial, and social wellbeing. This basic principle gave rise to a great variety of relevant philosophical thoughts in the following generations and, like a