The next culture bound syndrome comes from China. Qigong deviation syndrome is classified as a culturally-bound mental health condition in the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders, and it was listed in the DSM-IV also.
Qigong deviation syndrome can occur if one practices martial arts or qigong improperly. A western clinician would probably interpret the disorder as a brief psychotic episode. Symptoms include “perception of uncontrolled movement of qi in the body, sensory problems such as visual or auditory hallucination, and belief that the practitioner is controlled by qi or other entities such as spirits or negative energies.”
In Chinese the disorder is called zou huo ru mo ( 走火入魔 ) which means “catching fire entering demon.” When reading some discussions on blogs and forums, those within the Qigong community attribute the disorder to an incorrect practice caused by practicing too much or without a competent teacher.
Interestingly, the practice of qigong was banned by the Chinese government between 1966—1978. Alleyne suggests that there are political motives within China to overemphasize the danger of this disorder as a way to dissuade people from practicing qigong.
Culture-Bound Psychiatric Disorders Associated with Qigong Practice in China by Dr HH Shan, MD, Director, Department of Social and Cross Culture Psychiatry, Shanghai XuHui Mental Health Center, Shanghai, China.