Announcements // April 6 – 12

A few due date reminders for this week: 

Choice Projects

Your choice project is due by this evening, Sunday, April 5th

Make sure you’ve reviewed the assignment descriptions, including the directions for submission. Some assignments simply require text and images, while others you must embed your outside media directly into your dedicated EduBlog page.


Group Discussions

Group Discussion #5 is due Sunday, April 12th and will cover the topics of Mindfulness Meditation and Ayurveda. 


Transplant Ayurveda in the United States

This week’s first reading explores Transplant Ayurveda. In contrast to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Buddhist folk healing, and other Asian ethnomedicine modalities we’ve discussed, Ayurveda’s spread in the United States is related to its specific marketing to and consumption by white Americans, rather than originating in cultural enclaves of Asian-American immigrants and then permeating out (Reddy, 99).* 

*It’s always tricky when running a syllabus for the first time, to notice the gaps and mistakes in reading assignments. I meant to include a reading that focuses on the use of Ayurveda and religious healing within South Asian Indian-American communities, but I included the wrong details and didn’t catch the mistake until it was too late to correct. If you’re interested, you can find the reading posted in iCollege: “Health, Faith Traditions, and South Asian Indians in North America”, Prakash N. Desai, Religion and Healing in America

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

At the center of this reading is the Ayurveda practitioner-providers: should they present themselves as medical practitioners compatible with the biomedical system (and thus pursue licensure), or lean into the metaphysical healing qualities that attract New Age sensibilities (and now the broader public) including a resistance to the medical mainstream, a preoccupation with things deemed “natural”, and a desire for “holistic” approach. 


“Asian Medicine in America: The Ayurvedic Case”. Reddy, S (pg 97-120) – iCollege

  • How does Ayurveda’s development differ from other Asian healing transplants in America? 
  • What are the main influencers on the development of transplant Ayurveda in the US? 
  • What is the main professional dilemma facing Ayurveda practitioners? Describe this dynamic. 
  • What has the West typically focused on in their interest in Asian medicine? What are the critiques of these approaches? 
  • How does classic Ayurveda different from transnational Ayurveda? 
  • Where is transnational Ayurveda usually accessed (located)? Why? 
  • What elements of the holistic health movement influence the development of transplant Ayurveda? What connections do you see to our past readings? 
  • How do legal issues related to the “unlawful practice of medicine” effect how transplant Ayurveda is practiced? How it presents itself?
  • How have different Ayurveda practitioners circumvented medical licensing issues? 
  • Describe the four subtraditions, which aspect of Ayurveda they focus on (meditation, massage, religious healing, etc), and its effect on how they approach licensure. 
  • How does the theme of resistance emerge in the practice and representation of transplant Ayurveda?



  • Transplant / Transnational Ayurveda
  • Classic Ayurveda
  • Materia medica
  • Humoral diagnostics
  • Tripartite system

Week 9 : Traditional Chinese Medicine in America: Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture

In this week’s readings, we’re finally starting to get into the some of the more interesting topics of modern CAM, specifically those healing modalities that originate in the East. In all of these readings, I want you to keep an eye to a few different dynamics:

  • What is involved in the practice? What happens in the healing session? Who is the healer, and who is healed? What are the religious background and philosophical understandings that inform the healing modality?
  • How does the originating community understand, view, and practice the healing modality (ex: Chinese-American practicing TCM)?
  • How do outside communities relate to the healing (white New Agers, etc) 
  • How has biomedicine reacted to the healing system (Ignored? Supported? Appropriated?)
  • What power structures are at play in the consumption of the CAM modality, especially in relation to race, ethnicity, and other forms of minority identity? 

In terms of this week’s readings, Multicultural Approaches to Health and Wellness in America gives good background of what is involved in TCM and how it historically developed in the US. 

(I’m removing the other reading Nature Cures: The Holistic Health Explosion: Acupuncture (only 257-270) chapter from this week’s assigned reading because  Multicultural Approaches does a much more thorough job) 

That being said, I really want you to focus on the argument Barnes makes in the chapter “Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States”. It will likely make some people uncomfortable and force you to think about the power dynamics of cultural appropriation when it comes to the consumption of CAM in the American spiritual marketplace. There are a lot of reading prompt questions, and it’s important that your group really dive into the argument (and reflect this) in your Discussion Notes #4.

It’s also important that I highlight the definition of cultural appropriation (rather than cultural exchange) that we use in this course.

Maisha Z. Johnson, in her article for “What’s Wrong With Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal It’s Harm” describes cultural appropriation as

“a particular power dynamic in which members of the dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group

That’s why cultural appropriation is not the same as cultural exchange, when people share mutually with each other – because cultural exchange lacks that systemic power dynamic.

It’s also not the same as assimilation, when marginalized people adopt elements of the dominant culture in order to survive conditions that make life more of a struggle if they don’t.” 



Group Discussion #4 is due on Sunday, March 15th and should covered readings from Week 8 and 9. 



There has been a bit of confusion about the due date for the Choice Project assignment. Because I was late in getting details to you, I moved the first due date to Sunday, March 22nd. I apparently didn’t update all of the documents to reflect the change; my apologies for this confusion. 

If you have already submitted your assignment, I will work on commenting on your work and note any gaps I see. You are welcome to adjust your assignment based on the feedback to ensure a higher grade. 

If you are still in progress on your progress, I will be working on giving you feedback (via comments on your EduBlog project pages). You should be working on a draft of your assignment and keeping this work up to date in your project page.

The next steps will be finalizing your text and transferring / integrating your information to a platform of choice (assuming that you continue to work on your project over spring break). 



Over break I plan on catching up on grades. Keep an eye on your iCollege mailbox for an email that includes feedback on your Group Discussion participation and EduBlog reflection journal.



Nature Cures: The Holistic Health Explosion: Acupuncture (only 257-270)

Multicultural Approaches to Health and Wellness in America, Chun Nok Lam and Soh-Leong Lim, “Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Healing Approach from the Past to the Future” – iCollege

    • Describe the philosophical principles that are the foundation of TCM. 
    • How does TCM understand health and wellness? What causes illness? 
    • Describe the TCM diagnostic process. 
    • What modalities are included in the TCM healing system? 
    • What about these approaches to healing mirror the values of CAM healing in the 19th century and 1970’s?
    • What are some of the factors that lead to Chinese-Americans to under utilize healthcare in the US? 
    • What are some of the problems with the biomedical standard of the double-blind clinical trial when it comes to analyzing the effectiveness of acupuncture and herbal medicine? 
    • What is the current relationship between TCM and the biomedical establishment? 


“Multiple Meanings of Chinese Healing in the United States”, Linda L. Barnes, (pg 307-331) – iCollege

    • What does Barnes mean by a “racialized framework”? What does she mean by the “Eurocentric polarities of race”? 
    • What qualifies as “religion” in the West? Describe the concept of “a philosophy / way of life, not a religion”. How has this effected the West’s interaction and understanding of  Eastern and Chinese religious systems? 
    • In most cultures (outside of Protestant Chrisitianity in the West), religion, culture and healing are inseparable. How do you see this reflected in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
    • If you plan on visiting an acupuncturists for your “attend a healing” project, do you notice any of the iconography and material culture described on page 213-313? 
    • What parallels do you see between the white American consumers of TCM and our previous readings on the Holistic Health Movement and New Age religious movements? 
    • Draw out (visually represent) the continuum of conversion and appropriation described by Barnes.
    • What is the connection between “vitalism” in American CAM, New Age “universalism” and American understandings of Eastern philosophical terms such as prana, qi, etc? How does this relate to appropriation of CAM healing? 
    • What are the parallels between New Age appropriation and colonial exploitation? 
    • What was the role of the Chinese government in transforming TCM and merging it with the biomedical model? 
    • What is the dynamic between appropriation and power structures when it comes to TCM? Why is it that it is considered cultural exchange when minority cultures borrow and infuse different healing systems, but cultural appropriation when white (dominate) communities act similarly? Hint: imbalance of power (see page 327 and linked article defining cultural appropriation) 

Week 6: New Age (Religious) Movements + Holistic Health

We began this semester exploring the social and historical contexts surrounding American relationships with healing and medicine, specifically around the themes of a value of things deemed “natural” and distrust of the medical establishment. 

Last week, we started to delve into the Holistic Health Movement of the 1970’s as an extension of American preoccupation with alternative healing. As you learned in those readings, the Holistic Health Movement and New Age religious values are so entangled as to be inseparable. 

This week, we’ll be exploring more about what informs New Age and American Metaphysical understandings of the world, common orientations despite the vast number of practices that fit under the umbrella of New Age practices, and some common criticisms aimed at the movement. 

A few themes that begin in these readings and continue throughout the semester include: questions of re-interpretation and continuity, issues of appropriation and syncretism, and the evolution of the New Age and Holistic Health movements in relation to the spiritual and medical marketplace.



Last week, part of your assignment was to:

If you haven’t already, do that IMMEDIATELY. 

Next, create a page on your EduBlogs and title it the name of the first project you are going to tackle. 

In this page, I want you to give me as many detail as you can about what project you’ve chosen – what’s the project, what’s the topic or healer or modality you’ll cover, etc. If you’re attending a healing session or interviewing someone, post that information here and wait for approval from me before you reach out to the healer. I’ll communicate with you via comments, so make sure to respond promptly to my comments

This is also a space where you’ll post drafts of the materials, so I can keep track of your progress. Again, it’s important that you promptly respond to any comments or advice I post in the comments. I’ll also ask you to make adjustments or turn something in; these individual due dates are always on Sunday evenings, unless otherwise negotiated with me. 



“The New Age Movement and Western Esotericism”, Wouter J. Hanegraaff (pg 25-50) – iCollege

  • Describe each of the different stages of development in the New Age movement
  • According to the author, how has the New Age movement transitioned? Do they interpret this as a sign of success or failure? 
  • According to the author, what religious trends are sometimes mistakenly categorized as New Age? 
  • How do the course theme of resistance and accommodation relate to the development of New Age movements? 
  • Describe the relationship of mind, body and spirit in the New Age movements.
  • According to this tradition, what is the relationship of healing to spiritual and physical wellbeing? 
  • What is the relationship between science and the New Age movements? 
  • Despite the variety of practices and beliefs that fall under the umbrella term “New Age”, what are some of the common themes and beliefs? 
  • How does the author articulate the difference between “re-interpretation” and “continuity” in these movements? 
  • What is the role of individualism in New Age values? 
  • Describe the impact of the capitalism market economy on the New Age movement (and religious traditions in general). 

“Metaphysical Healing and Health in the United States”, Brett Hendrickson (pg 347-355) – iCollege

  • How does Mind Cure and New Thought view health, illness and healing? How does this manifest in the Metaphysical / New Age traditions? 
  • How do New Age traditions understand wellness? 
  • Describe the continuum of New Age healing approach the author notes on page 350. How does this relate to earlier readings of taxonomy of healing traditions and our course theme of the process of legitimation that CAM modalities undergo? 
  • What is “universalization”, ahistoricity, and decontextual in the New Age context? Why is it understood to be problematic?
  • What is the relationship of Euro-American Metaphysicals to their own history? 
  • Define the terms appropriation, syncretism and borrowing. How are they different? What is the role of power (cultural, systematic, etc), and when is it “okay”? 
  • What is the relationship between CAM modalities (especially those with New Age and religious undertones), and the overwhelming Christian context in the US? How have different academics and social commentators approaches this syncretic adoption? 

Well + Good, “Spiritual Activist Rachel Ricketts Challenges White Women to Rethink Wellness”

  • How does Ricketts define wellness, in both the individual and communal sense? 
  • How does her activism relate to wellness? How does she define “spiritual activism”?
  • What criticisms of “wellness culture” does Ricketts highlight? 
  • What does Ricketts mean by the statement “wellness is political”? 
  • What does she mean by the phrase “violent experiences” in wellness spaces? 
  • What ideals is Ricketts’ hoping wellness spaces move towards? 
  • How does Rachel Ricketts’ article relate to our readings up until now? What connections do you see? 

View this post on Instagram

This powerful message from @iyaamiaje sums up the work I do day in and day out.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ White Supremacy. Is. Trauma. For both the oppressed and oppressor in varying ways. It causes mental, physical, emotional and spiritual harm. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It is a sickness. A dis-ease that results in people of color, especially Black and Indigenous womxn, enduring violence – physical or otherwise – day in and day out. It disconnects while people from their heart space + robs them of inner peace.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As Toni Morrison said “if I take your race away, and there you are, all strung out. And all you got is your little self, and what is that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Are you still smart? Do you still like yourself? I mean, these are the questions. Part of it is, ‘yes, the victim. How terrible it’s been for Black people.’ I’m not a victim. I refuse to be one… if you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is that white people have a very, very serious problem…"⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is a POTENT time my bbs. We are ALL being called upon to step the fuck up and wake ourselves from slumber. We are undergoing an intense re-activation. Are you ready? Are you working with the energy, or straining against it?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Are you committed to healing the trauma that is white supremacy and creating an entirely new reality? I sure as hell am. Join me. xo R

A post shared by Rachel Ricketts (she/her) (@iamrachelricketts) on


  • Western Esotericism
  • Theosophical Society
  • Age of Aquarius
  • New Religious Movements
  • Spiritual Marketplace
  • Chakras
  • Subtle Energies
  • Humanistic Psychology
  • Transpersonal Psychology
  • Neo-pagan
  • Neo-shaman
  • Dualism
  • Reductionism
  • Occultism
  • Self-Religion / (higher) Self
  • Metaphysical Religion
  • Synchronicity
  • “Spiritual but not Religious” / SBNR
  • Mind Cure
  • New Thought
  • Universalization
  • Ahistoricity / Decontextualization 
  • Racist Heteropatriarchy
  • Internalized oppression
  • Spiritual Bypassing
  • Gaslighting
  • Hierarchy of Healing

Week 5: The Holistic Health Movement

This week we’re jumping ahead another seventy years to the 1970’s and the emergence of the Holistic Health Movement, when alternative health (in a much more recognizable form) starts to explode as a cultural phenomenon. 

Take note that, during this intervening time (especially 1900-1950), a number of huge medical developments happen: the emergence of “scientific medicine” at the turn of the century, the wonder drugs of the 30’s, and the development of antibiotics in the 40’s. The CAM healing modalities we’ll be discussing moving forward are positioning themselves in relation to / against this form of medicine and will referred to as “biomedicine” moving forward. 

Sevananda Co-op AtlantaOur readings this week focus on the Holistic Health Movement (and the deeply interwoven “spiritual” values of the New Age Movement, which we’ll tackle more next week). As you read, I’d like you to start making connections to the “new” natural healing modalities and the themes that emerged in the values of Euro-American natural healing modalities (homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic): a strong distrust of regular medicine and a desire for “natural” healing (although “natural” continues to be defined in a variety of ways). 

I’d also like you to keep an eye towards critiques of the Holistic Health Movement. Why does Baer consider it to be engaged in a “limited holism”? What populations is this movement marketing itself toward, and what voices / perspectives are being ignored? 


The last reading, “Alone in a Sea of Rib-Tips’: Alvenia Fulton, Natural Health, and the Politics of Soul Food”, is one of my favorite readings thus far, if not the entire semester. I hope that, as we move forward in the semester, you take note of the communities outside of “White Healthism” that are engaged in creative reimagining and cultural transformation, while simultaneously addressing issues of access, cultural identity and disrupting systems of discriminating to ensure the health and wellness of their communities.


Choice Projects: 

Your main assignment for this week is to:

  1. review the overall Choice Project details
  2. explore the assignment details for each of the projects, and 
  3. report in the Project Progress googlesheet what you’d like to tackle first

Moving forward, update your line of the Project Progress every Sunday, including this Sunday, February 16th.


Reflection Journal: 

This is a friendly reminder that you are to post to your journals at least once every week, and respond via comments to two other peer posts per week. Every. Week. 

I’ve gotten behind on checking in on your progress because my attention has been focused on the Choice Project, but moving forward I’ll be reviewing and commenting every week. If I comment on your posts, make sure you either respond in the comments or follow up in a longer reflection post. 


Reading Prompts:

Nature Cures: “The Holistic Health Explosion: Acupuncture” (only 245-257)

  • What seems familiar about the holistic health movement (in relation to our previous readings?) What is new about the approach? 
  • Briefly describe the trends of the medical development between the turn of the 20th century and the 1950’s.
  • What themes of dissatisfaction with the biomedical establishment mirrorw those of the early 19th century? 
  • What are the main critiques of biomedicine according to the 1970’s holistic health approach? How do these mirror or differ from complaints of the 19th century? 
  • What are the values of the secular humanist counterculture movement? How did these values influence the holistic health movement’s resistance to the biomedical establishment? 
  • What are the guiding principles of the holistic medical approach?
  • Describe the relationship between the rise of holistic approaches and the revitalization of general practitioners and family medicine? 

Toward an Integrative Medicine: Chapter 1: “The Popularization of Holistic Health and New Age Movements”, (pg 1-24)

  • How does Baer describe the relationship between the Holistic Health Movement and the New Age Movement? 
  • What historical events (in American immigration law) led to a more open dialogue and access to Eastern philosophies? 
  • What is the role of healing in the Holistic Health and New Age Movements?
  • What role do food co-ops, health food stores, bookstores and holistic health centers play in the spread of the Holistic Health and New Age Movements? 
  • Who does the Holistic Health Movement typically market itself to? Why? How does this vary depending on the form of the content being consumed? 
  • Describe the contradictory tendencies of resistance and professionalization described by Baer in the Holistic Health movement. 
  • What is the relationship between capitalism, the spiritual (and medical) marketplace and the New Age Movement? 
  • What does Baer mean by his critique that the Holistic Health Movement “engages with a limited holism”? 

“‘Alone in a Sea of Rib-Tips’: Alvenia Fulton, Natural Health, and the Politics of Soul Food” – iCollege


  • Describe Fulton’scommunity-oriented work and how it informed her approach to health, nutrition and wellness in the Black community. 
  • Describe the relationship between Fulton’s restorative health program and the Black Freedom Struggle. 
  • Why is health and wellness within the Black community considered an intersectional issue between race, medicine, and political activism? What are some of the conditions that led to Civil Rights activists to focus on disparities in healthcare? 
  • What was the cultural role of Soul Food in the Civil Rights Movement? 
  • Why was it so difficult for nutritionists to convince Black folks to reduce their consumption of Soul Food?
  • What were some of the cultural narratives around Soul Food during the 1960’s? 
  • What role did Soul Food restaurants play in activist communities during this period?
  • Describe the cultural narrative that Fulton reframed in reimagining the historical roots of Soul Food.
  • Describe some of the other “Food Rebel” communities that are emphasizing alternative, plant-based diets for Black Americans.How was Fulton’s approach fundamentally different?
  • What is Fulton’s relationship with “White Healthism”?
  • What are some of the connections between white health programs and eugenics? Note how this is briefly mentioned in this chapter and, has to this point, been entirely absent from the other chapter’s discussions of the Holistic Health Movement…
  • List and describe some (of the many) things Fulton is “resisting” throughout this chapter.



  • Biological reductionism 
  • Biomedicine
  • Original (biological) definition of holisim
  • 1970’s definition of holism
  • Secular humanism
  • Biopsychosocial approach
  • Human Potential Movement
  • Religious Universalism
  • Self Actualization
  • Aquarian Age
  • Audience Cult
  • Limited Holism 
  • Vernacular Healer
  • Materia Medica
  • American Healthism / White Healthism
  • Food Rebels
  • Natural Health Food movement

Week 4: Osteopathy and Chiropractic

This week’s readings focus on two manual CAM healing systems that became (and continue to be) popular in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While our readings focus on their early histories, rather than their later influence and development, these chapters continue to highlight the social and medical environments in which CAM emerged: a distrust for regular medicine and pharmacological drugs, and well as a desire to utilize pragmatic and “natural” healing methods. 


As we’ll see in later chapters, Baer describes the process by which CAM healing systems resist biomedical systems, but eventually come to adjust their practice to accommodate medical licensing standards. As you read, think about how this trend is evident in the early development of Osteopathy and Chiropractic.


Discussion Groups

Group Discussion Notes #2 is due on Sunday, February 9th (via iCollege)

While I noted it on some of the first submissions, the Group Discussion Notes are supposed to reflect the conversation you’ve had as a group. They may not hit on every question I pose in the readings (although they should touch on each chapter assigned), but they should reflect the breadth and depth of your conversation. 

They should NOT be an amalgamation of different group members submitting individual notes. This type of submission will not be accepted moving forward. 

If you have any questions about what is expected in this assignment, or would like to see another student group example, please email me directly. 


Reflection Journals

Adjustments* due on Sunday, February 9th

    • Customize your EduBlog theme and appearance
    • Clear out the “noise” 
    • Add a picture or avatar
    • Adjust your comments setting (most already done) 
    • Adjust your timestamp to Eastern Standard Time (EST)

*For details, see Thursday’s post 


Choice Projects

Assignment details are still in progress and will be posted later this week. 

Reading Prompts: 

Nature Cures: The Rule of Artery: Osteopathy (pg 141-163)

    • What do you know about the role of Revival “Camp Meetings” in early American Christianity? What are the parallels you see between Still’s style as an itinerate healer? 
    • What theory of health and disease informed early Osteopathy? 
    • What is the relationship between Osteopathy and Natural Theology? 
    • What does Still mean by the phase, “An Osteopath is only a human engineer”? 
    • Who did the healing system appeal to? Why?
    • What  is involved in the practice of Osteopathy? (What does it look like? What happens to the patient?)
    • What was early Osteopathy’s relationship to drugs? To surgery? How did this change over the course of the system’s development? 
    • How does the course theme of “resistance and accommodation” appear in the history of Osteopathy? 

Nature Cures: Innate Intelligence: Chiropractic (pg 165-190)

    • Describe D.D. Palmer’s theory of health and disease related to the phrase, “Founded in tone”
    •  What is unique about Palmer’s understanding of nerve impingement? 
    • What is involved in the Chiropractic technique? 
    • How do Chiropractic and Osteopathy differentiate themselves from one another? 



  • Bonesetting
  • Circuit rider
  • Camp Meeting (Revival)
  • Natural Theology
  • Lesion
  • Subluxation
  • Innate Intelligence

Trigger Warning in Week 3 Reading

I meant to include this in the Reading Prompts, but somehow missed it while reviewing my notes. 

While it’s late in the week, I assume that most of you don’t get to your readings until the weekend. If not, I apologize for the delay.

That being said, within “Chapter 3: Homeopathy”, on page 74, the author includes a dated quote that is meant to highlight the conflict between homeopathy and regular medicine. This quote contains a racial slur against Black folks.

I find it really inappropriate that the author / historian decided to use the quote directly, and wish I had caught it sooner. Again, I’m sorry that I didn’t and for my delay in alerting you to the issue. I will do my best to do better next time.

If you prefer not to read that section (Allopathic Ridicule of Homeopathy, pages 70-74), you are welcome to. Or you could simply read the beginning of the chapter (49 – 70) and move on. 

For my Black and Indigenous students, please let me know if you have any concerns about this issue, or suggestions on how to handle similar situations moving forward. I welcome and value your input. 

Week 3: Alternative Medicine in the 19th Cent. US

This week, we’re covering some of the alternative medicine practices that emerged in the 19th century (and will eventually decline, evolve and reemerge as contemporary CAM methods). 

While you’re reading, I want you to reflect on the alternative healing systems as a whole — how do they each define health and healing? How do they understand the cause of illness and disease? What does healing involve? How do they define “natural” and “drugs”?

I also want you to keep in mind the methods and values that define the alternative healing systems of the 1800’s and how they translate within the context of the Holistic Health Movement described in Baer’s Introduction chapter (Week 1). 

What trends and approaches covered in these chapters do you still see within the “wellness marketplace” and current pop-culture? (ex: focus on “natural”, patient focused, health responsibility on the individual, focus on prevention rather than curing, etc)

And finally, while we’ll explore this concept later in the Integrative Medicine text, alternative medicine systems that emerged during this time started to shift the responsibility of health and healing from the doctor to the individual patient. What, can you imagine, are some of the unintended consequences of shifting the responsibility of health and the blame of illness to the individual patient? 


Reading Guide

Nature Cures: Every Man His Own Physician: Thomsonianism (pg 25-48)

    • Whorton mentions the influence of Romantic philosophers in the early nineteeth century. What are these values and how are they reflected in the emergence of botanical medicine? 
    • What was the social context in which Thomsonian medicine arose? As a practice, who did it appeal to, and what was it resisting? 
    • How was Thomsonian medicine understand health, healing, and disease? How did regular medicine / allopathic doctors respond? 
    • What were the values of the Jacksonian-Era and how did Thomsonian medicine adapt / respond to these values? 

Nature Cures: Dilutions of Grandeur: Homeopathy (pg 49-75)

    • Describe Hahnemann’s process of “provings” and regular medicine’s reaction to it. 
    • Describe the homeopathic principle of “like cures likes” and its relation to healing.
    • Describe the homeopathic principle of “infinitesimals” and its relation to healing.
    • Why might homeopathy be considered “spiritual”? 
    • What does it mean when Hahnemann is described as a “vitalist”? What is the relationship between homeopathy and the concept of “vital force”?
    • How did Hahnemann speculate that his healing system “worked”?
    • Why was homeopathy so popular among its patients?  
    • How were the patients of homeopathy different (in population, demographics, etc), than Thomsonian patients? Why?

Nature Cures: Therapeutic Universalism: Naturopathy (pg 191-217)

Note: I had you skip over “Chapter 4, Physical Puritanism: Hygeiotherapy”, which lays out a lot of the foundations of Naturopathy — it’s a fascinating read, but this chapter covers vaccinations and vivisection, both of which are vital to understanding contemporary questions of alternative medicine and naturopathy. Just remember we’re missing a chapter and take a sixty-year leap in terms of socio-historical context. 

    • How does Naturopathy understand illness and disease?
    • What is the role of the individual in regards to personal health and illness? What, can you imagine, are some of the unintended consequences of shifting responsibility of health and the blame of illness to the individual patient? 
    • What is the naturopathic approach to “drugs”? 
    • What does “Ideal Living” include, from the naturopathic perspective? What is its relationship to Protestant, Christian ideals?  
    • What is the role of the healer / doctor in the naturopathic approach? 
    • What is involved / included in the naturopathic healing regimen? 
    • Describe the relationship between naturopathy and the anti-vaccination movement? And the anti-vivisection / animal experimentation movement? 



  • Romanticism
  • Jacksonian-Era
  • Domestic medicine
  • Folk medicine
  • Vitalism
  • Vital Force
  • Dynamis
  • Hydropathy
  • Hygeiotherapy
  • Grahamism
  • Vivisection