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Alternative Medicine?: A History by Roberta…

Alternative Medicine?: A History

by Roberta Bivins

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An interesting look at some parallel medical modes looking at how traditional medicine was adopted with the dismissal of other modes of thinking about healing. Some may not have been good or working models but the very facts of their dismissal isn't always helpful to people's health. We still have a distance to find out how medicine works and how the human body reacts to certain drugs or practices and this illustrates how by throwing out the bathwater we may have thrown out some useful information.

Interesting but it didn't really flow for me, there seemed to be a lot of things that were understood but unsaid. Left me with even more questions than answers which I suppose is part of the reason for this book. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Dec 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199218870, Hardcover)

Walk into your local health food shop or pick up the local paper, and youll see ads for meditation, acupuncture, herbal supplements, Tai Chi classes, homeopaths, faith healers, and Chinese herbalists. But what exactly is alternative medicine? Is the astonishing popularity of alternative and multicultural medicine really such a recent development?
Comparing the medical systems of China, India, and the west (both mainstream and alternative), this volume ranges across four centuries and many continents, mapping the transmission of medical expertise from one culture to another and laying bare the roots of today's distinctions between alternative, complementary, and orthodox medicine. Historian Roberta Bivens uses a wealth of illuminating and entertaining historical examples--from horse-racing English earls to desperate missionaries in 17th-century Indonesia, and from hypnotism in the British Raj to homeopathy in the American Wild West--to underscore the vital point that the cross-cultural transmission of medical knowledge and expertise, even alternative medical knowledge and expertise, is not a uniquely contemporary phenomenon, but has a long and fascinating pedigree. Through comparisons of different medical innovations and importations across different cultures, the book illuminates the twin processes of medical and historical change as seen through the eyes of the medical professionals and consumers of the day. It traces for example the responses in nineteenth-century India to two western alternative medicines (homeopathy and mesmerism) and one staple of mainstream western medicine (germ theory).
Given the success of modern biomedical science, why are alternative and traditional treatments now so fashionable? This fascinating volume sheds light on this trend as it offers a sweeping comparative account of alternative medicine over four hundred years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:52 -0400)

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"Comparing the medical systems of China, India, and the west - both mainstream and alternative - Roberta Bivins shows how medical expertise has migrated from one culture to another. From acupuncture in Regency England to homeopathy in the 'Wild West', Bivins unearths the roots of today's distinctions between alternative, complementary, and orthodox medicine, and shows how popular interest in medical alternatives - often of exotic origin - is a phenomenon with a long and fascinating pedigree."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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