Roberta Bivins's Alternative Medicine?: A History PDF

By Roberta Bivins

ISBN-10: 0199218870

ISBN-13: 9780199218875

Stroll into your neighborhood overall healthiness nutrients store or choose up the neighborhood paper, and youll see advertisements for meditation, acupuncture, natural vitamins, Tai Chi periods, homeopaths, religion healers, and chinese language herbalists. yet what precisely is replacement medication? Is the miraculous approval for substitute and multicultural medication relatively one of these contemporary improvement?
evaluating the clinical platforms of China, India, and the west (both mainstream and alternative), this quantity levels throughout 4 centuries and plenty of continents, mapping the transmission of scientific services from one tradition to a different and laying naked the roots of brand new differences among replacement, complementary, and orthodox medication. Historian Roberta Bivens makes use of a wealth of illuminating and enjoyable old examples--from horse-racing English earls to determined missionaries in 17th-century Indonesia, and from hypnotism within the British Raj to homeopathy within the American Wild West--to underscore the very important element that the cross-cultural transmission of clinical wisdom and services, even substitute clinical wisdom and services, isn't a uniquely modern phenomenon, yet has an extended and engaging pedigree. via comparisons of other clinical strategies and importations throughout assorted cultures, the e-book illuminates the dual methods of clinical and old swap as noticeable throughout the eyes of the doctors and shoppers of the day. It lines for instance the responses in nineteenth-century India to 2 western replacement drugs (homeopathy and mesmerism) and one staple of mainstream western medication (germ theory).
Given the good fortune of recent biomedical technology, why are replacement and standard remedies now so stylish? This interesting quantity sheds mild in this development because it bargains a sweeping comparative account of other medication over 400 years.

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Extra resources for Alternative Medicine?: A History

Sample text

Orthodoxy in medicine—as in all Welds of endeavour—must be built and continually rebuilt in response to changes in environment, knowledge, social mores, and cultural assumptions. The process of creating such a consensus is complicated for medicine by a series of paradoxes. Medical knowledge addresses natural, physical phenomena—‘the real world’. And today, laypersons and professionals alike commonly regard medical knowledge as ‘objective’—dispassionate, unbiased, and free of unacknowledged assumptions.

In this climate, while local medical knowledge remained an important resource in practice, medicine as a representative aspect of culture (with technology and science) became, in Adas’s memorable phrase, ‘the measure of men’. Europeans suVered no doubts as to which ‘men’—which civilization—came out at the top of the measuring scale: European models of natural knowledge and medicine were the standard by which all cultures would be measured. Under this new rubric, Europeans continued to observe nonwestern medical systems closely.

And it is in relation to precisely these conditions that alternative medicine has returned to the forefront of medical culture. Ironically, biomedicine’s initial victory over infectious disease cast into sharp relief its inability to cure the chronically ill and ageing. At the same time, the rigours of biomedicine from the patients’ perspective—the degree to which it was impersonal, driven by and constructed around the needs of the laboratory and technology (not to mention the interests of what some commentators have called the medical-industrial complex), and disease- rather than patient-focused—provoked many to accuse both the medical system and its practitioners of arrogance, insensitivity, and greed.

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Alternative Medicine?: A History by Roberta Bivins


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