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Nature Cures : The History of Alternative Medicine in America - James C. Whorton

Nature Cures

The History of Alternative Medicine in America

Paperback

Published: 1st July 2004
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From reflexology and rolfing to shiatsu and dream work, we are confronted today by a welter of alternative medical therapies. But as James Whorton shows in Nature Cures, the recent explosion in alternative medicine actually reflects two centuries of competition and conflict between mainstream medicine and numerous unorthodox systems.
This is the first comprehensive history of alternative medicine in America, examining the major systems that have emerged from 1800 to the present. Writing with wit and with fairness to all sides, Whorton offers a fascinating look at alternative health systems such as homeopathy, water cures, Mesmerism, Christian Science, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, and acupuncture. He highlights the birth and growth of each system (including European roots where appropriate) and vividly describes both the theories and the therapies developed within each system, including such dubious practices as hour-long walks barefoot in snow or Samuel Thompson's "puking and steaming" regimen. In particular, Whorton illuminates the philosophy of "natural healing" that has been espoused by alternative practitioners throughout history and the distinctive interpretations of "nature cure" developed by the different systems. Though he doesn't hesitate to point out the failings of these systems, he also shows that some "cult medicines" have eventually won recognition from practitioners of mainstream medicine.
Throughout, Whorton writes with a light touch and quotes from contemporary humorists such as Mark Twain. His book is an engaging and authoritative history that highlights the course of alternative medicine in the U.S., providing valuable background to the wide range of therapies available today.

"A significant contribution, Nature Cures provides a valuable perspective on the unconventional therapies that for many decades have, to the dismay of organized medicine, attracted large numbers of Americans engaged in the pursuit of health."--Science "An authority on the history of medicine and health...his engaging, authoritative, and interesting book provides a valuable background to the wide range of therapies available today."--NAPRA Review "A lively tale filled with fads and quackery, much of which was sanctioned by the medical establishment of its day, while efficacious regimes that are still practiced today were denounced. In so doing, he remains remarkably evenhanded and touches on the lives and reputations of such notables as Mary Baker Eddy, Catherine Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe) and Daniel Webster."--New York Daily News "A distinguished and respected writer about health and medicinal studies, Whorton gives us a thorough, deeply researched and objective history of alternative medicine. Presented in a relaxed and reliable style, this book is highly readable and surprisingly entertaining."--Statesman Journal "Thorough, enjoyable, and rigorous, this study documents the major 'unconventional' healing movements of 19th- and 20th-century America. This book fills a large gap.... Highly recommended."--Library Journal "The book will appeal to all thoughtful readers, whether or not they are history buffs."--The New England Journal of Medicine "A significant contribution, Nature Cures provides a valuable perspective on the unconventional therapies that for many decades have, to the dismay of organized medicine, attracted large numbers of Americans engaged in the pursuit of health."--Science "An authority on the history of medicine and health...his engaging, authoritative, and interesting book provides a valuable background to the wide range of therapies available today."--NAPRA Review "A lively tale filled with fads and quackery, much of which was sanctioned by the medical establishment of its day, while efficacious regimes that are still practiced today were denounced. In so doing, he remains remarkably evenhanded and touches on the lives and reputations of such notables as Mary Baker Eddy, Catherine Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe) and Daniel Webster."--New York Daily News "A distinguished and respected writer about health and medicinal studies, Whorton gives us a thorough, deeply researched and objective history of alternative medicine. Presented in a relaxed and reliable style, this book is highly readable and surprisingly entertaining."--Statesman Journal "Thorough, enjoyable, and rigorous, this study documents the major 'unconventional' healing movements of 19th- and 20th-century America. This book fills a large gap.... Highly recommended."--Library Journal "A lively, entertaining, and well-documented introduction to the history of unconventional medicine in the U.S. over the past two centuries.... There's much here to interest and perhaps amaze anyone who has ever been a patient."--Kirkus Reviews

Prefacep. ix
The Nineteenth Century: Natural Healingp. 1
The Hippocratic Heresy: Alternative Medicine's Worldviewp. 3
Every Man His Own Physician: Thomsonianismp. 25
Dilutions of Grandeur: Homeopathyp. 49
Physical Puritanism: Hygeiotherapyp. 77
Magnetism and Mind: From Mesmerism to Christian Sciencep. 103
The Early Twentieth Century: Drugless Healingp. 131
The Licensing Question: The Campaign for Medical Freedomp. 133
The Rule of the Artery: Osteopathyp. 141
Innate Intelligence: Chiropracticp. 165
Therapeutic Universalism: Naturopathyp. 191
The Late Twentieth Century: Holistic Healingp. 219
From Medical Cultism to Alternative Medicinep. 221
The Holistic Health Explosion: Acupuncturep. 245
From Alternative Medicine to Complementary Medicinep. 271
Conclusion: The Twenty-first Century: The Age of Curapathy?p. 297
Abbreviationsp. 308
Notesp. 311
Indexp. 360
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195171624
ISBN-10: 0195171624
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st July 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 15.29  x 2.59
Weight (kg): 0.53